Talking tech since 2003

Snapchat, the hugely popular photo and video-sharing app where images disappear in 10 seconds or less, said that Institutional Venture Partners has led its recent $60 million dollar Series B round of venture funding.  Snapchat is also expanding its reach to users under the age of 13 with the launch of Snapkidz.

Snapchat said that the round was led by IVP with participation from General Catalyst Partners and SV Angel, and continued pro-rata participation from Benchmark Capital and Lightspeed Venture Partners. With the new round, the company has raised around $75 million to date (pretty good for a company that has yet to tell users how it plans to make money.)

Snapchat said in a post on its blog that it plans to use the money to expand its team and pay its server bills.

“In order to continue scaling while developing the Snapchat experience, we needed to build a bigger engineering team and figure out how to pay our server bills,” Snapchat said in a post on its blog.

Snapchat, which boasts more than 200 million snapped pictures and video taken by its users on a daily basis, is planning on increasing that number as it lets users under 13 use a version of the app.  Snapchat announced a new version of its app aimed at kids under 13 called Snapkidz.  The kid-friendly version lets users take snapshots but disables them from sending or receiving them or actually creating a Snapchat account.

The result is a stripped down version of Snapchat that looks more like the camera app within the iPhone than Snapchat.  Users can take a picture and save it locally and then text or email it that way.  The entire point of Snapchat is sending a picture and knowing it will disappear in seconds.

“In the new iOS version, kids under the age of 13 are able to fill out the registration form, however their user information is not sent to us and an account is not created. Instead they are able to use “SnapKidz” a version of Snapchat that includes an interface for taking snaps, captioning, drawing, and saving them locally on the device, but does not support sending or receiving snaps or adding friends. We’re trying it out first on iOS and if all goes well, we hope to include it in an upcoming Android update,” Snapchat said.


As a result, Snapchat updated its Privacy Policy regarding users under the age of 13:

“We do not knowingly collect personal information from users under the age of thirteen. We do, however, allow children under the age of thirteen to use certain areas or features of our Services that do not involve the collection of user information, aside from certain device information that may be collected as necessary to the operation and support of the Services.”

If a kid under 13 wants to use Snapchat, my guess is they are already lying about their age when they register.  Anyone that doesn’t know to do that, probably doesn’t know Snapchat exists in the first place.

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