Snapchat has made its money-making intentions clear with the hire of a major investment banker from Credit Suisse.
Evan Spiegel, the 24-year-old founder of the hugely popular messaging app, has brought in heavy hitter Imran Khan, formerly the head of investment at Credit Suisse who led the bank’s work on the Alibaba IPO earlier this year.
Khan will be Snapchat’s first chief strategy officer as the three-year-old startup builds an executive team after receiving investment that values the tech firm at up to $12bn, the Wall Street Journal reports.
The huge valuation, which would place it behind only Uber and Airbnb in the billion-dollar startup club, belies Snapchat’s current scant sources of revenue.
Its first foray into money-making has been advertising, partnering with the likes of Universal Pictures and other brands keen to reach the app’s 100 million active users, most of whom are in the much sought after teen and young adult demographic.
A surprise move that could signal Snapchat’s direction considering the hire of Khan is Snapcash, a recently launched mobile banking service letting users transfer money between friends through the app.
Khan’s previous experience also aligns nicely with Snapchat, having advised on the IPOs of Weibo, Jumei and Alibaba and specialising in Chinese internet firms while an analyst at JP Morgan.
Chinese internet giant Tencent is a Snapchat investor, along with Yahoo, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and others.
In a bid to form an experienced executive team, Spiegel has already hired former Facebook execs Emily White, as chief operating officer, and Mike Randall, as vice president of business and marketing partnerships, as well as Google's former head of communications Jill Hazelbaker.