Snap Inc. has confidentially filed for an IPO


That was fast.

Snap Inc., the company previously known as Snapchat, has privately filed documents with the Securities and Exchange Commission for an IPO, according to sources with knowledge of the company’s plans.

This isn’t a surprise. The paperwork has been in the works for months, and these sources say Snap could go public as early as March 2017. The company is targeting a valuation range somewhere between $20 billion and $25 billion, though the official target will be set closer to the IPO date. Reuters was the first to report on Snap’s S-1 filing.

But while it isn’t a surprise the company filed, the whole process was still quick. Very quick, in fact, even if Snapchat doesn’t ultimately go public in spring of 2017. What’s significant here is that the company filed for IPO before its automated ad product has had time to make a significant addition to its business. The API launched just last month. That’s important to note because right now almost all of its revenue comes from hand-cut deals.

That’s been a successful way to do business thus far. Snapchat was targeting $300 million to $350 million in ad revenue this year, and sources say the company will beat that goal easily.

But automating ad sales should significantly boost Snapchat’s bottom line, which is likely why investors are expecting as much as $1 billion in revenue from the company next year. It’s interesting that Snap pulled the trigger on its IPO before giving its API a chance to gain some momentum. If Snapchat wants to provide a serious alternative to Facebook and Google for mobile advertisers, that API, and automating those ad sales, will be key to the equation.

A Snap spokesperson declined to comment.

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