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What: Startup Spotlite has raised  US$10 million from Sequoia Capital China and BlueRun Ventures.
Why it matters: The funding will be used to construct out the product, make key hires and develop its advertising and marketing and promoting efforts, particularly in LatAm and Asian markets.

Startup Spotlite has raised US$10 million from Sequoia Capital China and BlueRun Ventures. The funding will be used to construct out the product, make key hires and develop its advertising and marketing and promoting efforts.

Spotlite is a direct-to-fan music platform for artists who need to make money and have direct entry to their followers, according to TechCrunch. The app combines video, reside streaming, messaging know-how and gifting to set up an enterprise mannequin that permits aspiring artists to make money.

Through Spotlite’s partnerships with publishers like Sony/ATV and Universal Music Group, customers have access to a wide range of songs to carry out covers to. Listeners can then reward digital cash that is redeemable for actual money, to their favorite artists. Spotlite has completely different tiers of revenue-shares with publishers.

According to founder Ke Tang, with Spotlite, the thought is to “create a new gifting model that may fit different countries.”

Spotlite, which launched simply a few months in the past on each iOS and Android, at the moment has 250,000 lively customers. In the following 12 months, the plan is to develop into the Latin American and Asian markets. The app at the moment sits at No. 32 on the Apple App Store’s prime free music apps chart.

“Currently our focus is increasing users and perfecting the product,” Spotlite VP of Marketing and Content Gina Juliano mentioned. “We expect to generate income via different model,s including virtual gifting, memberships and advertising sponsorships, etc.”

 

What: Facebook has unveiled its latest premium video effort called “Watch,”a new platform for shows on Facebook that will be available on mobile, desktop, laptop and in Facebook’s TV apps.
Why it matters: Video consumption is growing at a very high  rate at the expense of traditional broadcast. Amazon, Google (YouTube) are heavily investing in the video (ad) space.  Facebook’s Watch will offer programming and content from more than 30 media partners and also more original programming funded by Facebook that  will revamp its current video tab.

More and more people enjoy Facebook’s video experience, like discovering videos in News Feed. But now, they also yearn a dedicated place they can go to watch videos. For this reason,  the social net launched last year the Video tab in the U.S., which offered a predictable place to find videos on Facebook. Now the comany wants to make it even easier and has officially introduced “Watch,” its much-anticipated push into TV-like content.The company didn’t specify a date for the launch.

Watch, a new platform for shows on Facebook, will be available on mobile, on desktop and laptop, and in Facebook’s TV apps. Shows are made up of episodes — live or recorded — and follow a theme or storyline. To help users keep up with the shows they follow, Watch has a Watchlist to never miss out on the latest episodes.

Watch is personalized to help users discover new shows, organized around what your friends and communities are watching. For example, it has sections like “Most Talked About,” which highlights shows that spark conversation, “What’s Making People Laugh,” which includes shows where many people have used the “Haha” reaction, and “What Friends Are Watching,” which helps users connect with friends about shows they too are following.

Watch will be home to a wide range of shows, from reality to comedy to live sports and platform for all creators and publishers to find an audience and build a community of passionate fans.The new tab will showcase a slew of shows from the likes of BuzzFeed, Tastemade, Condé Nast Entertainment, and ATTN, according to people familiar with the matter.Facebook is also providing a link for those who want to “register” shows for Watch. Although initially it will be introduced to a “limited group of people” and a “limited group of creators.”

At launch, Facebook aims to have several hundred shows on its platform, including the following slate of shows from major partners: A&E’s “Bae or Bail,” All Def Digital ‘s “Inside the Office,” Brit & Co ‘s “Tiny Houses,” Condé Nast Entertainment’s “Virtually Dating,” David Lopez‘s “My Social Media Life,” Golden State Warriors’ “Championship Rewind,” Hearst ‘s “Daily Refresh,” Univision Deportes ‘ “Liga MX,” McClatchy ‘s ” Titletown TX,” MLB ‘s “MLB Live,” MLS and Univision Deportes‘ “MLS en Univision,” National Geographic ‘s “We’re Wired that Way,” Nas Daily, NBA ‘s “WNBA All-Access,” Tastemade ‘s “Kitchen Little,” Time, Inc. ‘s “Celeb Moms Get Real,” WSL ‘s “WSL Surfing Sundays.”

We hope Watch will be home to a wide range of shows — from reality to comedy to live sports,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post. “Some will be made by professional creators, and others from regular people in our community.”

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What: Waze opened its first office in Latin America a few weeks ago, with a team of eight led by Luis Ita, country manager for Mexico.
Why it matters: Waze will sell advertising space within its app, allowing brands to generate a connection with drivers.

In an effort to expand its presence in Latin America, Waze recently opened its first offices in Mexico. Luis Ita, Waze country manager for Mexico, and his team of eight will be in charge of implementing the company’s strategies in the region.

Through its analysis of collected data, the Waze mobile app offers drivers from different countries alternative routes to reach their destination, with the promise that they will be the least trafficked.

Samuel Keret
Samuel Keret, head of sales, Waze. (Photo: LinkedIn)

Samuel Keret, Waze’s head of sales, said that their traffic platform has worked since its inception to facilitate movement of people in urban areas and help them avoid traffic, from the moment people leave their homes in the morning until their return at night.

According to information on the app, users have 636 minutes of time at their disposal per month, in which the app seeks to facilitate their driving experiences by providing users with relevant and contextual information to help them find a functional service that fits their needs.

One of Waze’s objectives for Latin America is to develop a location marketing application, in order to offer a brand experience that is meaningful to users.

Ben Crowell
Benjamin Crowell, U.S. head of product marketing, Waze (Photo: LinkedIn)

According to Benjamin Crowell, Waze’s head of product marketing for the U.S., this app seeks to develop what he calls “the right experience.” This refers to how the application benefits other user activities outside of the digital world.

In line with its expansion plan, Waze introduced a new feature in its app for the Mexican market that integrates real-time advertising. To prevent possible car accidents when launching an ad, the app measures speed indexes in order to add additional information that can be read by the user when he/she is able to without putting the driver at risk.

Among the new features, the user will now be able to find a parking lot before starting a trip or, when approaching the destination, the app will help you locate the nearest parking spot.

Since the app knows the exact location of the user, Waze can offer its advertisers branding pins. This helps brands to flag their locations within the area where potential consumers are moving.

Globally, 1.3 million people are killed in traffic accidents, and Waze’s goal is to help prevent such incidents, added Keret, who confirmed that the company’s focus will remain in the automotive area for now.

What: English soccer team launched MUTV, an app to let worldwide fans watch live games through streaming.
Why it matters: MUTV is already available in 165 countries for Manchester United’s 659 million followers to live stream their games for a monthly subscription fee, which varies by country.

Limited only to fans outside the U.K., Manchester United launched this week its most recent app, MUTV. Available in Apple Store and Google Play, the app will give the team’s followers access to 24/7 live stream and on demand MUTV content.

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Followers will be able to get live radio coverage for every Manchester United game in the Premier League, FA Cup, EFL Cup and European competitions. Press conferences, interviews and analysis on studio shows will also be available, as well as any live game or repetition, on the field and behind the scenes.

With a lock on U.K. users due to license restrictions with the Premier League, the app’s goal is to keep international fans tuned and close to the team around the clock.

Out in more than 160 countries, prices vary from one location to another raging from $1.99 to $7.99, depending on the content you choose, regular or premium.

Mobile apps are at their peak. As a result, we will be seeing many ad-tech companies developing specific mobile apps and mobile app advertising for each market under one same platform. As a result, mobile app producers will have to increase the benefits and offerings that are provided by existing apps. Here are the top four mobile app predictions for 2017, by Portada’s digital media correspondent Pedro Labarta.

By Pedro Labarta

1. Smart prices will take over.

Apps focused on the sale of products will have to become smart bots. That is because buying  sensitivities vary depending on region/country. Producers of mobile applications will have to use individual user data along with location at the time of sale in order to achieve better profits. For example, people in Mexico may not be willing to pay the same amount for a particular product as do people in Spain. Companies will be able to classify purchases according to the algorithm needed to quickly adapt to each market. As a result, they will also be able to unify inventories and databases.

2. Mobile app advertising

This will be the year in which businesses such as agencies will be able to safely, quickly, and effectively monetize applications and mobile app advertising. For example, a clothing brand will be able to pay for an in-app ad when the user is searching for a specific application. Or pay for an ad even within the app itself. And brands will also be able to do it a crucial moment of the game or video where the advertiser wants its ad to appear. This will help advertising networks improve their performance. It will also boost their revenues once this feature kicks in by mid-2017. It will lead to higher satisfaction rates and more business opportunities for all.

3.”Yes” to TV on smartphones and “No” to TV on smartwatches

descarga-3Apple, Samsung, and Google specialize in mass consumer products. The smartwatch is not a great product because it does not replace the phone. That same can be said of Apple Pay. It has not replaced the credit card. Also, not everyone wears a watch, while most everyone uses a smartphone. This is another problem faced by large companies that have failed to build an adequate ecosystem and a monetization model for smartwatch developers. With development not being financially viable, developers will stop creating for it and instead focus on creating for apps for TV, etc. This will open a new source of revenue for publishers, leading to better content and a better advertising platform that makes it a win-win for everyone.

4. Apps and messaging

Messaging has tapped out, so entering this market is too complicated these days. The focus now should be on developing message extensions, where we can take advantage of the billions of people already connected on them.

We are already seeing specific developments for iMessage from Apple and Facebook Messenger. Instead of opening an application such as Skype separately, users will use a face-to-face extension within the messaging application with which they are already familiar.

This will be the year in which businesses such as agencies will be able to safely, quickly, and effectively monetize applications.

Extensions will not stop there, however. They will be used for everything, including some tools we are already used to seeing in our email. They include calendar invitations, unread text markings, current status, and functions that will be carried out within our specific message groups. Bots and AI were launched in 2016, but they still do not work very well. In 2017, we will see strong breakthroughs in bot intelligence and more implementations in our everyday technology. Many of today’s most promising video messaging and walkie-talkie apps will soon find themselves competing against and potentially missing out on a well-implemented app extension.

However, bot technology will see its strongest boom in late 2017.

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What: We tell you how the grocery delivery startup Cornershop came about, and how it plans to grow its team.
Why It Matters: With less than a year in operations, this startup confirmed that it raised US$ 6.7 million to maintain its accelerated growth in Mexico and Chile.

Chilean Daniel Undurraga moved to San Francisco almost five years ago. He soon realized that daily life in the city had greatly benefited from the wide variety of on-demand services that exist, so that you don’t have to leave home to buy groceries or pick up food from a restaurant. “I started buying services that bring you, for example, a box with food that comes directly from an organic farm every Monday, with fruits and vegetables in season,” says Undurraga.

Little by little, the entrepreneur noticed how his daily behavior had changed, and when he traveled to Latin America, he missed all of the services that he could obtain from home with the click of a mouse. “The epiphany moment came when I realized that Latin Americans would surely enjoy these services, and that on top of that, nobody else was doing it.”

Undurraga and his two partners, Oskar Hjertonsson and Juan Pablo Cuevas, already had experience as entrepreneurs thanks to the site ClanDescuento.com, which they sold to Groupon just six months after launching.  It was the perfect moment to start a new project. With a US$ 2.5 million investment obtained through private capital, in July 2015 they launched Cornershop, an on-demand grocery delivery service in Mexico and Chile.

Through a mobile application that is available on iOS and Android, clients can select products from their supermarkets and nearby stores and even program the delivery times. The objective is for the platform to offer other services such as home repair or delivery of medications from pharmacies (which is already available in Chile).

Screen Shot 2016-04-27 at 2.18.15 PM“Mexico was the most obvious place to start the business, since it is  the largest market in Latin America. It is a country that allows you to scale very easily,” explains Undurraga. What’s more, Undurraga and his partners worked for Groupon Mexico, so they know the market well and have a large network that helped them start the business. “We chose Chile because I’m Chilean, and we have our engineering team based there,” he adds.

Cornershop has established alliances with various supermarkets (like Chedraui) through which the store pays a commission to include its products on the app. This allows them to charge only 69 additional pesos for the home delivery service.

With the stores that have not signed up for the business exchange, Cornershop establishes an increased price for the items, plus an extra charge for the delivery service. “We aspire to charge the same prices as the stores do in all cases, and to partner with all of them,” admits Undurraga.

Plans for Growth

Cornership is currently made up of a few hundred shoppers that operate in four cities: three in Mexico (Mexico City, Guadalajara and Monterrey), and one in Chile (Santiago). The operations team is made of more than 50 people. “While an organization grows, the more complicated it is to operate it,” says Undurraga.

Among its numbers, Cornership highlights that 80% of orders are done on cell phones, and that 70% of users return to the application, acquiring products from more than just one store.

The biggest challenge for Cornershop’s business model, admits Undarraga, is that to duplicate sales, they have to duplicate their human capital. They can only satisfy clients’ needs through more shoppers (people that go to the stores and make the purchases for you).  On April 15, the company announced their fundraising round, through which they raised US$ 6.7 million. The round was led by Jackson Square Ventures and ALLVP, with the participation of Creandum, Accel, Endeavor Catalyst and other investors.

“We are going to use the capital to maintain the leadership position that we currently have in the market. The idea is basically to accelerate growth and improve the quality of what we do,” says Undurraga.

What: Mobile platform Unlockd has partnered exclusively with Boost Mobile, one of Sprint’s prepaid brands, to launch the first of its kind Android app Boost® Dealz that will help customers reduce monthly phone payments in exchange for viewing ads. (Interview with Sprint’s Oscar Meza and TruMC’s Alice Ovadia-Updated).
Why it matters: If succesful, an ad supported mobile phone service could be trendsetting and relevant for advertisers who want to avoid ad-blocking and target Hispanics and Millennials.

imagesMobile platform Unlockd has partnered exclusively with Boost Mobile, one of Sprint‘s prepaid brands, to launch Boost® Dealz – an Android app available for the U.S. market that’s the first of its kind that helps customers reduce monthly phone payments in exchange for viewing exclusive content and offers when unlocking their smartphones.

Once they unlock their phones, customers are shown a full-screen ad which will show up every two or three unlocks. Geo-targeted ads, offers, discounts or content from brands such as Starbucks, Levi’s and Lyft, are shown at various times as consumers unlock their Android smartphones. Users can interact for further information or dismiss ads with a simple click on the X. The app will download on average about 120 MB of data per month, which is the equivalent of streaming music for about three hours.

Boost Dealz is available to Boost’s current and new customers. The app connects users with relevant brands and offers, and users receive a US$5 credit each month. Although the new app plan currently limits the amount of ads that people can see, the carrier could decide to increase or decrease that cap based on customers’ feedback, CNN Money reports.

The Hispanic segment is a big target audience for it. Also, we are looking for a future product release to provide a full product in Spanish for both the app itself (Customer Experience) and the ads.

This is a major breakthrough as the model provides not only benefit back to consumers, but is breaking new ground for global telcos through the creation of new revenue streams from high-profile publishers and advertisers.”

New Revenue Streams

AAEAAQAAAAAAAARSAAAAJDc5OTNjYTY1LTcxY2EtNDQ2My1iYjg2LWRmMjJjOTVmNmMzYwPortada spoke with Oscar Meza, Manager – Hispanic Media and Community Relations at Sprint, about Boost® Dealz:

Portada: Is a substantial target audience for this new offering Hispanic?

O.M: “We have launched this product on Boost Mobile and a  substantial portion of Boost’s base is Hispanic. The Hispanic segment is a big target audience for it. Also, we are looking for a future product release to provide a full product in Spanish for both the app itself (Customer Experience) and the ads. More to come on this. No dates have been determined yet.”

Portada: What unit of Sprint sells advertising into this new service? 

O.M: “Sprint is not selling advertising into this. Our Partner, UnLockd, has partnerships with big ad networks to sell advertising space through this property.”

Portada: What are the expectations regarding this new product in terms of subscriber count? 

O.M: “This is the first time any top tier operator is trying an ad supported business model so we are expecting to learn more about consumer behavior and how much it appeals to them. It could be a smash hit and numbers can go through the roof but we are not yet ready to put a count to it. We will learn and apply those learnings to evolve the product and continue to provide best value to the customers.”

Portada: How is the new offering going to be marketed/What media is going to be bought?

O.M: “There is no media budget dedicated to this initiative for now, however we have a full marketing plan to promote this product.”

Portada: is there a tie in between Boost Deportes en Vivo and this new “ad driven” product?

O.M: “Our existing boost TV Live Sports bolt-on (“Deportes en Vivo” in Spanish) and there is currently no tie between these two products. However we are contemplating promoting boostTV and other products via Boost Dealz either directly ourselves or by engaging our vendors/partners. International Connect for example is another product that is currently targeting our Hispanic segment and that could benefit from promotion via Boost Dealz. More to come on this as well.”

More Options for Consumers

Alice Ovadia, VP Brand Media and Insights at Dallas based TruMC, whose clients include MetroPCs, notes that “giving consumers the option to receive ads on their home screen in exchange for a $5 off discount is a good way to incentivize users to view ads while giving Boost an opportunity to monetize their wireless networks and profit from mobile advertising dollars that are going to other companies such as Facebook, Twitter or publishers direct.  It will be interesting to see how much traction their “Boost Dealz” app has with consumers and brands.”

Carriers need to stay on their toes and continuously find new revenue streams and ways to innovate.

Ovadia adds that an in an ever-competitive environment, wireless carriers need to stay on their toes and continuously find new revenue streams and ways to innovate.  Leveraging their rich customer data base and network seems like a great way to do just that.”

What:  Mobile platform for brands and app developers Taptica has acquired Facebook’s programmatic social marketing tech company AreaOne for US $17 million.
Why it matters: 83% of Facebook users are accessing the social network on a mobile device.

SR6LGQEk_400x400Taptica, mobile user acquisition platform for brands and app developers, has acquired programmatic social marketing tech company AreaOne, formerly known as SocialClicks,for US$17 million. Both companies will remain headquartered in Tel Aviv.

Taptica will leverage the mobile data it collects through its DSP to optimize Facebook buys. The company will add the majority of AreaOne’s 35 employees to its existing 135. In addition to its HQ in Tel Aviv, Taptica has sales outposts in San Francisco, New York and London. According to Tal, Taptica plans to hire aggressively in an effort to bulk up AreaOne’s Beijing office, tripling the current headcount of three within the next six months.

Of the 1.7 billion active mobile social accounts worldwide, 1.4 billion are using Facebook.

Of the 1.7 billion active mobile social accounts worldwide, 1.4 billion are using Facebook, according to We Are Social – and 83% of Facebook users are accessing the social network on a mobile device.

“From our perspective, [social and mobile] are effectively a single and very united channel – and data is the key building block for success around optimization,” said AreaOne CEO Alon Michaeli.

“AreaOne’s status as a Facebook Marketing Partner was a big part of what made it an attractive acquisition target,” said Taptica CEO Hagai Tal.“We want to be connected to the biggest and most important media supplier out there, and that’s Facebook,” Tal said.

AreaOne opened an office in Beijing in July where it services Chinese app publishers like Baidu, Cheetah Mobile, Snail Games, Changyou and poker game developer Boyaa.according to Tal, AreaOne’s established presence in China was a further motivator behind the deal.Specially, as chinese app developers are looking beyond their borders for new users outside of China, mainly in the US and Europe.

“We see the China market as a big blue ocean in terms of competitors,” Tal said. “And we want to have our foot in the door.”

AreaOne’s Beijing team is led by Xiaoyun Wu, who acts as head of sales and operations for APAC. Wu first joined AreaOne about three years ago after moving to Israel to pursue a postdoc in neuroscience and genetics.

AreaOne isn’t the only Facebook Marketing Partner to turn its attention to China. Nanigans, another Facebook Marketing Partner, raised US$24 million in Series B in March. The round was led by Chinese software company Cheetah Mobile, which has since been promoting the Nanigans tech to its in-country clients for overseas campaigns.

Tal, however, doesn’t want the market to look at AreaOne as just another Facebook Marketing Partner with an eye on China.

“We’re tracking 450 million users,” said Tal. “We’re combining Facebook with our mobile data to identify and target users. That’s our added value.”

Taptica was acquired for US$13.6 million in July 2014 by Marimedia, a British digital ad management platform that’s publicly traded on the London Stock Exchange. Marimedia, which bought Taptica to get more into mobile, will soon be changing its name to Taptica and the combined entity will be marketed under the Taptica brand.

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What: Twitter-owned app Periscope has reached 10 Million users who watch 21 million minutes a day.
Why it matters: Livestreaming appears to be growing quickly among consumers and Twitter seems to have a leading edge compared to other providers (e.g. Youtube) in that battle.

pfta069p_400x400Twitter-owned Periscope has revealed that it has reached more than 10 million users  in just four and a half months since the mobile livestreaming app was launched.

In a blog post, the company  noted that approximately 40 years worth of livestreaming footage is being watched every day on Periscope. That equates to 21 million minutes every 24 hours.

Periscope uses “time watched” as its chief metric instead of daily average users or monthly average users.

Periscope’s team spent more than 300 words explaining why it’s using “time watched” as its chief metric instead of daily average users or monthly average users:

“It’s most reflective of the value we’re creating for people and the world. Success for broadcasters means more time watched on their broadcasts. Success for the audience (viewers who are watching and participating in a Periscope) means more high quality broadcasts in their feeds that they want to watch and participate in. Success for broadcasters and their audience means success for Periscope.”

Periscope’s competitors in the  livestreaming app space include Meerkat, Hang w/, Beepcast and Eyetok, among other startups.The app has attracted a vast list of celebrity users like Jimmy Fallon, Tyra Banks and Al Roker.

What: The Wall Street Journal is rolling out “What’s News,”its first mobile-only product , a paid  news app.The projects is aimed to support subscribers migrating to digital platforms.
Why it matters: Digital platforms are becoming popular among publishers who want to reach readers on mobile devices.Just like the WSJ, the New York Times is also turning to digital to counterpart print revenues downward trends. Not only for advertising but also for paid subscriptions. According to a recent WAN-IFRA report circulation revenues (print and digital) topped advertising revenues  for the first time for newspapers worldwide in 2014.

wsj_savedThe Wall Street Journal is rolling out its first mobile-only product, a paid, digest-style news app that consolidates digital and reconfigures its newsroom through staff buyouts.

The app, called “What’s News“, will be produced by a team of journalists and offered as an add-on for subscribers.

The new app is aimed to support its almost 2.2 million subscribers’ loyalty, out of which at least 700,000 are digital-only subscribers,as the Journal marches toward a goal of 3 million paying customers by 2017.The Apphas been described as a scan of the day’s most important news stories broken down for readers on the go. They also said it’s being talked up internally as a key component of the Journal’s digital strategy.

The new app is aimed to support its almost 2.2 million subscribers’ loyalty, out of which at least 700,000 are digital-only subscribers

Digest format

Digital is becoming popular among publishers who want to reach readers on mobile devices, where there’s a race to monetize audiences that access headlines thorugh their smartphones.

Apple has also released a new mobile news app  to give users a mix of stories from different publications. The New York Times already has “NYT Now,”a  news app that it is trying to scale as an advertiser-supported product after the app failed as a paid offering. Yahoo’s News Digest has gained popularity as a twice-daily blast of  stories as a morning and evening newspaper.

News Corp.,WSJ parent company, expects the new digital projects to help diminished print revenues, which have suffered an industry-wide downward trend as readers and advertisers are turning to digital platforms. Journal advertising revenues were down 11 percent in the third quarter of 2015, which included a 9-percent decline in the news and information segment that encompasses the Journal.

WSJ is expected to pump more newsroom resources into mobile initiatives like What’s News in the coming fiscal year, which begins in July.

Timothy Martell, executive director of the Indepenent Association of Publishers’ Employees, a union that represents 477 U.S.-based members of the roughly 1,800-person combined global newsroom of the Journal and Dow Jones’ Newswires, noted that there have lately been several dozen involuntary cuts outside of the newsroom. Layoffs are possible within the newsroom if the buyouts do not achieve management’s desired cost efficiency.

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What:App SnapChat raises US$537.6 million, reaching an estimated US$16 billion valuation which makes the company one of theworld’s most valuable startups.
Why it matters: Snapchat is growing fast internationally, including in parts of Latin America. Snapchat still has to face competence from big players like Whatsapp and Facebook own chatting service , which have led the company to consider a possible IPO in the nearest future in order to get more financing.

BoBocYRY_400x400Photo-messaging app Snapchat has raised around US$537.6 million, after the US$200 million it had already raised in March.These numbers suggest that Snapchat might pull in another US$112.3 million in funding, bringing its total for this year alone to US$850 million.

With this latest funding, the company would be valued at a US$16 billion, making it one of  the world’s most valuable startups, behind Uber and smartphone maker Xiaomi.This valuation would also place Snapchat firmly in the company of a select handful of apps that have ridden virality to stratospheric valuations.

“Snapchat is growing fast internationally in parts of Latin America and in Saudi Arabia. The emerging world, however, has not adopted the service. “It’s not data-light”, you have to afford to pay for the data,” Emily White, COO of Snapchat, recently told  Wired.  However, she offered no update on how many people are using the service overall.

Snapchat is growing fast internationally in parts of Latin America and in Saudi Arabia. The emerging world, however, has not adopted the service.

Snapchat, which was founded in 2011, allows users to take photos and videos that self-destruct after a set time.The app has seen a rapid rise in its popularity, powered especially by a key advertising demographic: teenagers and millennials in the developed world. According to research firm ComScore in March, 71 percent of its US users are 18 to 34 years old.That is why the app is  hard for third-party services to measure because so many of its users are under age 18, an age beneath which many services don’t track. The company has offered no official update since May, when it confirmed that 700 million photos were shared daily, and stories were being viewed 500 million times a day.

Messaging services are becoming some of the most highly valued startups in the industry. Last year, Facebook paid US$19 billion for WhatsApp.

Likely IPO

Evan Spiegel,Snapchat’s 24-year-old CEO,disclosed publicly for the first time that the company has been considering going public. It is clear the app knows hor to raise money but not how to make it.

A report in January concluded that 200 million people actively use Snapchat, up from 100 million users last August. That’s still far less than WhatsApp’s 800 million active users or even the 600 million people who use Facebook’s own chatting service called Messenger.Snapchat has helped the company raise cash from some big names in Silicon Valley. Venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers invested US$20 million within the last year and Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba made a US$200 million investment in the company in March that valued the company at US$15 billion.

The company has generated little revenue, despite various efforts to attract advertisers. In January, it launched Discover, a feature that allows delivering videos created by major companies such as CNN, Yahoo News, National Geographic, the Food Network and ESPN, among others.