Snapchat valued at $10bn by Californian investment firm

Evan Spiegel sits under the Snapchat logo Evan Spiegel co-founded Snapchat in 2011 while a student at Stanford University in the US

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The popular messaging app Snapchat has reportedly been valued at $10bn (£6bn) by one of Silicon Valley's most established investment firms.

The evaluation, detailed by the Wall Street Journal, puts the start-up in the same bracket as young tech titans Dropbox and AirBnB.

The newspaper also reported that Snapchat now has more than 100 million monthly users, approximately half of its rival Instagram.

Snapchat was founded in 2011.

The mobile app, which is the brainchild of two US university students, lets users communicate by sending each other photos that automatically delete after a few seconds.

In just a few years, it has grown to compete with messaging and photo apps such as WhatsApp and Instagram - both now owned by Facebook - as well as Chinese companies such as Line and WeChat.

'Facebook territory'

Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, a renowned technology investment firm in California that was an early backer of Google and Amazon, has agreed to invest $20m in Snapchat, the Wall Street Journal reported, valuing the company at $10bn.

The valuation puts Snapchat "instantly in Facebook and Twitter territory", says Ian Maude, of research firm Enders Analysis.

However, he added, those firms "already have substantial revenues", while Snapchat does not.

"The bet investors are making is that it is going to be worth the amount of Facebook and Twitter one day.

"If you have got an audience, you can develop a substantial multibillion-dollar business."

Snapchat's latest round of funding comes after it reportedly rejected a $3bn takeover offer from Facebook.

In February, Facebook paid $19bn (£11.5bn) for WhatsApp.

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