- Snap Inc., parent company of the app Snapchat, released a video as part of its pre-IPO investor roadshow. In the video, CEO Evan Spiegel emphasized Snap’s dedication to becoming a camera-first company and pointed to how photos have been a focus for Snapchat from day one.
- "Snapchat really tapped into that human desire to communicate in a way that feels like its face-to-face even if you’re far way,” Spiegel said in the video. He compared Snap’s video experience to Alexander Graham Bell’s invention of the telephone.
- Snap recently announced it would begin selling its Spectacles hardware online, as reported by CNBC. The tech previously had a limited release via vending machine bots. In less positive news, Adweek reports that Snap is also losing one of its big advertising executives, Sriram Krishnan, who cited personal reasons for leaving the company. Snap's IPO is expected for next month, making the timing of his departure a point of interest.
Snap’s roadshow video is interesting in that it knocks Facebook at several points, taking shots at the competitor platform's reverse chronological order in news feed as well as its unwieldy size.
Snap likely feels the need to go on a stronger defensive against Facebook in the weeks leading up to its IPO amid reports that Facebook properties like Instagram Stories — a Snapchat clone down to the name — might've played a part in slowing Snap's user growth in recent fiscal quarters.
Facebook, on the whole, has been actively copying elements of Snapchat across its properties. Given Facebook's immense size and built-in audience, some have questioned what distinct values Snapchat can offer. Per the roadshow video, specificity and video specialization, in particular, appear to be key.
The description of Snap as a camera company isn’t new, however. Last September, when announcing the formation of Snap Inc., Spiegel not only called Snap a camera company but also referred to Spectacles as a “toy.”
A broader online rollout for Spectacles suggests the device might actually be part of a larger hardware strategy. Few players in the social space are currently putting much effort behind hardware R&D, and it might be an area Snap starts eyeing if Spectacles sell well and achieve something more than a novelty appeal.
As Snap hits the home stretch before its expected IPO next month, it has been inking a striking number of deals for original premium video content as well, which could provide new, significant sources of revenue. Krishnan's departure, however, may be troubling for some, coming at a decidedly make-or-break time for the startup, which clearly wants to be the next Facebook but may end up playing a role more akin to Twitter.