Snap, the maker of the disappearing photo app Snapchat, filed publicly for an initial offering, the first U.S. social-media company to do so since Twitter more than three years ago.

The company filed with an initial size of US$3 billion ($4b), a placeholder amount used to calculate fees that may change. Snap plans to raise as much as US$4b ($5.5b) in the IPO, people familiar with the matter have said, for a market value of as much as US$25b ($34.3b).

The company posted a net loss of US$515 million ($706m) in 2016, on revenue of US$404m ($554m), according to the prospectus filed Thursday. That compares with a loss of US$382m ($524m) in 2015, on revenue of US$59m ($80.9m).

Snapchat has more than 158 million daily active users, the prospectus shows. Quarterly average revenue per user on a global basis climbed to US$1.05 in the fourth quarter of 2016, compared with 31 cents in the fourth quarter of 2015.


Last year, Snapchat filed confidentially for an IPO with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, under the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act. The Jobs Act is a venue for companies with revenue of less than US$1b to file privately and work out details with the SEC away from the public eye.

The IPO prospectus is the first opportunity for outsiders to get a closer look into a company that's known for, among other things, its culture of secrecy. The next step will be the roadshow, in which Chief Executive Officer Evan Spiegel and his management team will endeavor to explain the company's strategy and prospects to potential investors.