According to sources close to the situation, Snapchat could announce its latest massive funding later this week.
Sources said the round being raised – up to $200 million – will come in part from China’s Internet giant Tencent and value the self-destructing mobile messaging startup from $3.6 billion to $4 billion. But, said sources, there are likely to be other new investors in the round.
AllThingsD broke the news of the possible funding last week.
The new funding comes only a few months after closing a Series B round of $60 million that valued Snapchat at $800 million.
While such a deal could still be delayed or even fall apart, sources said it was on track to be announced as early as this Thursday.
A spokeswoman for Snapchat did not as yet return an email and text requesting comment.
The move by the Los Angeles-based Snapchat is the second giant funding of late of a small Internet startup with little to no revenue.
Social scrapbooking company Pinterest announced earlier this week that it just raised $225 million at a $3.8 billion valuation.
But investors are piling on, hoping to grab an early hold on the next Twitter or Facebook.
Launched in 2011, Snapchat has grown wildly popular in a relatively short span of time, effectively creating an entirely new genre of messaging category with its “ephemeral” pictures and videos that last for only a matter of seconds.
Snapchat’s last round was led by Institutional Venture Partners, with participation from General Catalyst Partners and SV Angel. Previous investors Benchmark Capital and Lightspeed Venture Partners also participated. With that round, the company had raised around $75 million in total.
At the time of the June funding, in an interview with AllThingsD, Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel noted: “We’re excited about in-app transactions because of what we’ve seen in the Asian markets.”
He has called out Tencent specifically in a series of interviews as being an innovative player there.
The interest in investing is because the mobile Snapchat app has proved so popular and has become global. It has also become potentially worrisome to established social players – so much so that sources said when Spiegel continually rebuffed Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s acquisition offers, Zuckerberg cloned the app outright with a service called Poke. Zuckerberg’s offering famously flopped, while Snapchat continues to grow.
Most recently, Snapchat has begun to experiment with features outside of its core ephemeral messaging service. The company launched its Stories product last month, essentially a long-form play on Facebook’s status update in the form of a picture or video. And recently, Spiegel has grown more keen on the idea of monetization, experimenting with bands and listening to music inside the app.