snapchat-600x348An extraordinarily high assessment of a company that only a few months ago had only four workers, Snapchat, the app that allows you to send instant and “self-destructing” graphic messages, that is, they are erased with the time. One of those success stories of young programmers that is rarely seen outside of Silicon Valley: just a few days ago the guys from Snapchat achieved an investment of 60 million euros, thus achieving a valuation of 860 million dollars for their startup and there are already rumors of a potential future valuation of more than a billion (American).

The arguments for the valuation on this occasion are supported by the extraordinary and solid growth of its user base, having managed to rival Facebook in the number of photos sent daily (more than 500 million per day).

Can history repeat itself with Snapchat? Are we facing a new Twitter, Whatsapp or Facebook? Just in case, Silicon Valley investors are digging into their pockets and investing.

Without having much more data than the extraordinary growth, my reflection points to the inexhaustible need for human communication and how apps are working to satisfy it. Whatsapp, Facebook, Twitter… the reference applications of our mobile are used to communicate. As I recently read on Twitter… now the least thing you do with your phone is call. Snapchat seems to have found a hitherto forgotten product: ephemeral communication. Human beings sometimes like “words to be carried away by the wind”, and Snapchat bets on it in a new way, deleting messages and content after a few seconds (it seems that the deletion is not final but this is another discussion). The growth in the user base validates that this value proposition is successful.

As usual in the American start-up scene the monetization strategy has not yet been revealed and the company has made few moves in this regard. However, with so many millions of users, it is not difficult to think of a strategy based on advertising (before seeing an image, some type of advertisement could be displayed). In my view, advertising schemes in communication apps need to be designed with extreme care so as not to be too intrusive, and Snapchat will need to demonstrate that its app can embed ads without damaging the user experience too much. Snapchat has also reported that they are looking into “in-app purchase” schemes. If all this failed, they could also implement a subscription strategy as Whatsapp is doing.

Brought this case to Spain, the debate will once again be the same as always: could such a successful case ever happen here?