SNAPCHAT INC filed this 10-Q on 08/11/17
SNAP INC - 10-Q - 20170811 - LEGAL_PROCEEDING

Item 1. Le gal Proceedings

We are currently involved in, and may in the future be involved in, legal proceedings, claims, and investigations in the ordinary course of our business, including claims for infringing intellectual property rights related to our products and the content contributed by our users and partners. Although the results of these proceedings, claims, and investigations cannot be predicted with certainty, we do not believe that the final outcome of these matters is reasonably likely to have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, or results of operations. Regardless of final outcomes, however, any such proceedings, claims, and investigations may nonetheless impose a significant burden on management and employees and may come with costly defense costs or unfavorable preliminary and interim rulings.

Item 1A. Risk Factors

You should carefully consider the risks and uncertainties described below, together with all the other information in this Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q, including “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and the consolidated financial statements and the related notes. If any of the following risks actually occurs, our business, reputation, financial condition, results of operations, revenue, and future prospects could be seriously harmed. Unless otherwise indicated, references to our business being seriously harmed in these risk factors will include harm to our business, reputation, financial condition, results of operations, revenue, and future prospects. In that event, the market price of our Class A common stock could decline, and you could lose part or all of your investment.

Risks Related to Our Business and Industry

Our ecosystem of users, advertisers, and partners depends on the engagement of our user base. We anticipate that the growth rate of our user base will decline over time. If we fail to retain current users or add new users, or if our users engage less with Snapchat, our business would be seriously harmed.

We had 173 million and 158 million Daily Active Users on average in the quarters ended June 30, 2017 and December 31, 2016, respectively, and we view Daily Active Users as a critical measure of our user engagement. Adding, maintaining, and engaging Daily Active Users have been and will continue to be necessary. We anticipate that our Daily Active Users growth rate will decline over time if the size of our active user base increases or we achieve higher market penetration rates. If our Daily Active Users growth rate slows, our financial performance will increasingly depend on our ability to elevate user engagement or increase our monetization of users. If current and potential users do not perceive our products to be fun, engaging, and useful, we may not be able to attract new users, retain existing users, or maintain or increase the frequency and duration of their engagement. In addition, because our products typically require high bandwidth data capabilities, the majority of our users live in countries with high-end mobile device penetration and high bandwidth capacity cellular networks with large coverage areas. We therefore do not expect to experience rapid user growth or engagement in countries with low smartphone penetration even if such countries have well-established and high bandwidth capacity cellular networks. We may also not experience rapid user growth or engagement in countries where, even though smartphone penetration is high, due to the lack of sufficient cellular based data networks, consumers rely heavily on Wi-Fi and may not access our products regularly.

Snapchat is free and easy to join, the barrier to entry for new entrants is low, and the switching costs to another platform are also low. Moreover, the majority of our users are 18-34 years old. This demographic may be less brand loyal and more likely to follow trends than other demographics. These factors may lead users to switch to another product, which would negatively affect our user retention, growth, and engagement. Snapchat also may not be able to penetrate other demographics in a meaningful manner. For example, users 25 and older visited Snapchat approximately 12 times and spent approximately 20 minutes on Snapchat every day on average in the quarter ended December 31, 2016, while users younger than 25 visited Snapchat over 20 times and spent over 30 minutes on Snapchat every day on average during the same period. Falling user retention, growth, or engagement could make Snapchat less attractive to advertisers and partners, which may seriously harm our business. In addition, our Daily Active Users may not continue to grow. For example, although Daily Active Users grew by 7% from 143 million Daily Active Users for the quarter ended June 30, 2016 to 153 million Daily Active Users for the quarter ended September 30, 2016, the growth in Daily Active Users was relatively flat in the latter part of the quarter ended September 30, 2016. There are many factors that could negatively affect user retention, growth, and engagement, including if:

 

users increasingly engage with competing products instead of ours;

 

our competitors have and may continue to mimic our products and therefore harm our user engagement and growth;

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we fail to introduce new and exciting products and services or those we introduce are poorly received;

 

our products fail to operate effectively on the iOS and Android mobile operating systems;

 

we are unable to continue to develop products that work with a variety of mobile operating systems, networks, and smartphones;

 

we do not provide a compelling user experience because of the decisions we make regarding the type and frequency of advertisements that we display;

 

we are unable to combat spam or other hostile or inappropriate usage on our products;

 

there are changes in user sentiment about the quality or usefulness of our existing products;

 

there are concerns about the privacy implications, safety, or security of our products;

 

our partners who provide content to Snapchat do not create content that is engaging, useful, or relevant to users;

 

our partners who provide content to Snapchat decide not to renew agreements or devote the resources to create engaging content or do not provide content exclusively to us;

 

there are changes in our products that are mandated by legislation, regulatory authorities, or litigation, including settlements or consent decrees that adversely affect the user experience;

 

technical or other problems frustrate the user experience, particularly if those problems prevent us from delivering our products in a fast and reliable manner;

 

we fail to provide adequate service to users, advertisers, or partners;

 

we, our partners, or other companies in our industry are the subject of adverse media reports or other negative publicity;

 

we do not maintain our brand image or our reputation is damaged; or

 

our current or future products reduce user activity on Snapchat by making it easier for our users to interact directly with partners.

Any decrease to user retention, growth, or engagement could render our products less attractive to users, advertisers, or partners, and would seriously harm our business.

Snapchat depends on effectively operating with mobile operating systems, hardware, networks, regulations, and standards that we do not control. Changes in our products or to those operating systems, hardware, networks, regulations, or standards may seriously harm our user growth, retention, and engagement.

Because Snapchat is used primarily on mobile devices, the application must remain interoperable with popular mobile operating systems, Android and iOS, and related hardware, including but not limited to mobile-device cameras. The owners of such operating systems, Google and Apple, respectively, each provide consumers with products that compete with ours. We have no control over these operating systems or hardware, and any changes to these systems or hardware that degrade our products’ functionality, or give preferential treatment to competitive products, could seriously harm Snapchat usage on mobile devices. Our competitors that control the operating systems and related hardware our application runs on could make interoperability of our products with those mobile operating systems more difficult or display their competitive offerings more prominently than ours. We plan to continue to introduce new products regularly and have experienced that it takes time to optimize such products to function with these operating systems and hardware, impacting the popularity of such products, and we expect this trend to continue.

The majority of our user engagement is on smartphones with iOS operating systems. As a result, although our products work with Android mobile devices, we have prioritized development of our products to operate with iOS operating systems rather than smartphones with Android operating systems. To continue growth in user engagement, we have been prioritizing development of our products to operate on smartphones with Android operating systems. If we are unable to improve operability of our products on smartphones with Android operating systems, and those smartphones become more popular and fewer people use smartphones with iOS operating systems, our business could be seriously harmed.

Moreover, our products require high-bandwidth data capabilities. If the costs of data usage increase or access to cellular networks is limited, our user growth, retention, and engagement may be seriously harmed. Additionally, to deliver high-

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quality video and other content over mobile cellular networks, our products must work well with a range of mob ile technologies, systems, networks, regulations, and standards that we do not control. In particular, any future changes to the iOS or Android operating systems may impact the accessibility, speed, functionality, and other performance aspects of our produ cts, which issues are likely to occur in the future from time to time. In addition, the adoption of any laws or regulations that adversely affect the growth, popularity, or use of the internet, including laws governing internet neutrality, could decrease t he demand for our products and increase our cost of doing business. Current Federal Communications Commission, or FCC, “open internet rules” prohibit mobile providers in the United States from impeding access to most content, or otherwise unfairly discrimi nating against content providers like us. These rules also prohibit mobile providers from entering into arrangements with specific content providers for faster or better access over their data networks. The European Union similarly requires equal access to internet content. Additionally, as part of its Digital Single Market initiative, the European Union may impose network security, disability access, or 911-like obligations on “over-the-top” services such as those provided by us, which could increase our c osts. If the FCC, Congress, the European Union, or the courts modify these open internet rules, mobile providers may be able to limit our users’ ability to access Snapchat or make Snapchat a less attractive alternative to our competitors’ applications. Wer e that to happen, our business would be seriously harmed.

We may not successfully cultivate relationships with key industry participants or develop products that operate effectively with these technologies, systems, networks, regulations, or standards. If it becomes more difficult for our users to access and use Snapchat on their mobile devices, if our users choose not to access or use Snapchat on their mobile devices, or if our users choose to use mobile products that do not offer access to Snapchat, our user growth, retention, and engagement could be seriously harmed.

We rely on Google Cloud for the vast majority of our computing, storage, bandwidth, and other services. Any disruption of or interference with our use of the Google Cloud operation would negatively affect our operations and seriously harm our business.

Google provides a distributed computing infrastructure platform for business operations, or what is commonly referred to as a “cloud” computing service, and we currently run the vast majority of our computing on Google Cloud.

Any transition of the cloud services currently provided by Google Cloud to another cloud provider would be difficult to implement and will cause us to incur significant time and expense. We have committed to spend $2.0 billion with Google Cloud over the next five years and have built our software and computer systems to use computing, storage capabilities, bandwidth, and other services provided by Google, some of which do not have an alternative in the market. Given this, any significant disruption of or interference with our use of Google Cloud would negatively impact our operations and our business would be seriously harmed. If our users or partners are not able to access Snapchat through Google Cloud or encounter difficulties in doing so, we may lose users, partners, or advertising revenue. The level of service provided by Google Cloud may also impact the usage of and our users’, advertisers’, and partners’ satisfaction with Snapchat and could seriously harm our business and reputation. If Google Cloud experiences interruptions in service regularly or for a prolonged basis, or other similar issues, our business would be seriously harmed. Hosting costs will also increase as our user base and user engagement grows and may seriously harm our business if we are unable to grow our revenues faster than the cost of utilizing the services of Google or similar providers.

In addition, Google may take actions beyond our control that could seriously harm our business, including:

 

discontinuing or limiting our access to its Google Cloud platform;

 

increasing pricing terms;

 

terminating or seeking to terminate our contractual relationship altogether;

 

establishing more favorable relationships with one or more of our competitors; or

 

modifying or interpreting its terms of service or other policies in a manner that impacts our ability to run our business and operations.

Google has broad discretion to change and interpret its terms of service and other policies with respect to us, and those actions may be unfavorable to us. Google may also alter how we are able to process data on the Google Cloud platform. If Google makes changes or interpretations that are unfavorable to us, our business would be seriously harmed.

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We generate substantially all of our revenue from advertising. The failure to attract new advertisers, the loss of advertisers, or a reduction in how much they spend could seriously harm our business.

Substantially all of our revenue is generated from third parties advertising on Snapchat, a trend that we expect to continue. For the years ended December 31, 2015 and 2016, advertising revenue accounted for 98% and 96% of total revenue, respectively. Although we have recently tried to establish longer-term advertising commitments with advertisers, most advertisers do not have long-term advertising commitments with us, and our efforts to establish long-term commitments may not succeed.

While no single advertiser or content partner accounts for more than 10% of our revenue, many of our advertisers only recently started working with us and spend a relatively small portion of their overall advertising budget with us. In addition, advertisers may view some of our products as experimental and unproven. Advertisers will not continue to do business with us if we do not deliver advertisements in an effective manner, or if they do not believe that their investment in advertising with us will generate a competitive return relative to other alternatives. Moreover, we rely heavily on our ability to collect and disclose data and metrics to and for our advertisers to attract new advertisers and retain existing advertisers. Any restriction, whether by law, regulation, policy, or other reason, on our ability to collect and disclose data which our advertisers find useful would impede our ability to attract and retain advertisers. Our advertising revenue could be seriously harmed by many other factors, including:

 

a decrease in the number of Daily Active Users on Snapchat;

 

a decrease in the amount of time spent on Snapchat or decreases in usage of our Creative Tools, Chat Service, or Storytelling Platform;

 

our inability to create new products that sustain or increase the value of our advertisements;

 

changes in our user demographics that make us less attractive to advertisers;

 

decreases in usage of our Creative Tools;

 

lack of ad creative availability by our advertising partners;

 

our partners who provide content to us may not renew agreements or devote the resources to create engaging content or do not provide content exclusively to us;

 

changes in our analytics and measurement solutions that demonstrate the value of our advertisements and other commercial content;

 

competitive developments or advertiser perception of the value of our products that change the rates we can charge for advertising or the volume of advertising on Snapchat;

 

product changes or advertising inventory management decisions we may make that change the type, size, or frequency of advertisements displayed on Snapchat or the method used by advertisers to purchase advertisements;

 

adverse legal developments relating to advertising, including changes mandated by legislation, regulation, or litigation;

 

adverse media reports or other negative publicity involving us, our founders, our partners, or other companies in our industry;

 

advertiser perception that content published by us or our partners is objectionable;

 

the degree to which users skip advertisements and therefore diminish the value of those advertisements to advertisers;

 

changes in the way advertising is priced or its effectiveness is measured;

 

our inability to measure the effectiveness of our advertising or target the appropriate audience for advertisements;

 

our inability to collect and disclose data that new and existing advertisers may find useful;

 

difficulty and frustration from advertisers who may need to reformat or change their advertisements to comply with our guidelines; and

 

the macroeconomic climate and the status of the advertising industry in general.

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These and other factors could reduce dema nd for our advertising products, which may lower the prices we receive, or cause advertisers to stop advertising with us altogether. Either of these would seriously harm our business.

Our two co-founders have control over all stockholder decisions because they control a substantial majority of our voting stock.

As a result of the Class C common stock that they hold, Evan Spiegel, our co-founder and Chief Executive Officer, and Robert Murphy, our co-founder and Chief Technology Officer, are able to exercise voting rights with respect to an aggregate of 215,887,848 shares of Class C common stock, which represents approximately 88.5% of the voting power of our outstanding capital stock as of June 30, 2017. In addition, Mr. Spiegel was granted an RSU for 37,447,817 shares of Class C common stock on the closing of our IPO. This RSU award vested immediately on the closing of our IPO and such shares will be delivered to our CEO quarterly over the next three years beginning November 30, 2017, at which point Mr. Spiegel alone may be able to exercise voting control over our outstanding capital stock. The Class A common stock has no voting rights, the Class B common stock is entitled to one vote per share, and the Class C common stock is entitled to 10 votes per share. As a result, Mr. Spiegel and Mr. Murphy, and potentially either one of them alone, have the ability to control the outcome of all matters submitted to our stockholders for approval, including the election, removal, and replacement of directors and any merger, consolidation, or sale of all or substantially all of our assets. If Mr. Spiegel’s or Mr. Murphy’s employment with us is terminated, they will continue to have the ability to exercise the same significant voting power and potentially control the outcome of all matters submitted to our stockholders for approval. Either of our co-founders’ shares of Class C common stock will automatically convert into Class B common stock, on a one-to-one basis, nine months following his death or on the date on which the number of outstanding shares of Class C common stock held by such holder represents less than 30% of the Class C common stock held by such holder on the closing of our IPO, or 32,383,178 shares of Class C common stock. Should either of our co-founders’ Class C common stock be converted to Class B common stock, the remaining co-founder will be able to exercise voting control over our outstanding capital stock.

In addition, in October 2016, we issued a dividend of one share of non-voting Class A common stock to all our equity holders, which will prolong our co-founders’ voting control. As a result of such dividend, our co-founders will be able to liquidate their holdings of non-voting Class A common stock without diminishing their voting control. In the future, our board of directors may, from time to time, decide to issue special or regular stock dividends in the form of Class A common stock, and if we do so, our co-founders’ control could be further prolonged. This concentrated control could delay, defer, or prevent a change of control, merger, consolidation, or sale of all or substantially all of our assets that our other stockholders support. Conversely, this concentrated control could allow our co-founders to consummate such a transaction that our other stockholders do not support. In addition, our co-founders may make long-term strategic investment decisions and take risks that may not be successful and may seriously harm our business.

As our CEO, Mr. Spiegel has control over our day-to-day management and the implementation of major strategic investments of our company, subject to authorization and oversight by our board of directors. As board members and officers, Mr. Spiegel and Mr. Murphy owe a fiduciary duty to our stockholders and must act in good faith in a manner they reasonably believe to be in the best interests of our stockholders. As stockholders, even controlling stockholders, Mr. Spiegel and Mr. Murphy are entitled to vote their shares, and shares over which they have voting control, in their own interests, which may not always be in the interests of our stockholders generally. We have not elected to take advantage of the “controlled company” exemption to the corporate governance rules for NYSE-listed companies. Moreover, Mr. Spiegel and Mr. Murphy have entered into a proxy agreement under which each has granted a voting proxy with respect to all shares of our Class B common stock and Class C common stock that each may beneficially own from time to time or have voting control over. The proxy would become effective on either founder’s death or disability. Mr. Spiegel and Mr. Murphy have each initially designated the other as their respective proxies. Accordingly, on the death or incapacity of either Mr. Spiegel or Mr. Murphy, the other could individually control nearly all of the voting power of our outstanding capital stock.

If we do not develop successful new products or improve existing ones, our business will suffer. We also invest in new lines of business that could fail to attract or retain users or generate revenue.

Our ability to engage, retain, and increase our user base and to increase our revenue will depend heavily on our ability to successfully create new products, both independently and together with third parties. We may introduce significant changes to our existing products or develop and introduce new and unproven products, such as Spectacles or other technologies with which we have little or no prior development or operating experience. If new or enhanced products fail to engage our users, advertisers, or partners, we may fail to attract or retain users or to generate sufficient revenue, operating margin, or other value to justify our investments, any of which may seriously harm our business. For example, in mid-2016, we launched several products and released multiple updates, which resulted in a number of technical issues that diminished the

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performance of our application. We believe these performance issues resulted in a reduction in growth of Daily Active Users in the latter part of th e quarter ended September 30, 2016. We may encounter other issues in the future that could impact our user engagement.

Because our products created new ways of communicating, they have often required users to learn new behaviors to use our products. These new behaviors, such as swiping and tapping in the Snapchat application, are not always intuitive to users. This can create a lag in adoption of new products and new user additions related to new products. To date, this has not hindered our user growth or engagement, but that may be the result of a large portion of our user base being in a younger demographic and more willing to invest the time to learn to use our products most effectively. To the extent that future users, including those in older demographics, are less willing to invest the time to learn to use our products, and if we are unable to make our products easier to learn to use, our user growth or engagement could be affected, and our business could be harmed. We may develop new products that increase user engagement and costs without increasing revenue. For example, we introduced Memories in 2016, our cloud storage service for Snaps, which increases our storage costs.

In addition, we have invested and expect to continue to invest in new lines of business, new products, and other initiatives to generate revenue. The launch of Spectacles in late 2016, which has not generated significant revenue for us, is a good example. There is no guarantee that investing in new lines of business, new products, and other initiatives will succeed. If we do not successfully develop new approaches to monetization, we may not be able to maintain or grow our revenue as anticipated or recover any associated development costs, and our business could be seriously harmed.

Our business is highly competitive. We face significant competition that we anticipate will continue to intensify. If we are not able to maintain or improve our market share, our business could suffer.

We face significant competition in almost every aspect of our business both domestically and internationally. This includes larger, more established companies such as Apple, Facebook (including Instagram and WhatsApp), Google (including YouTube), Twitter, Kakao, LINE, Naver (including Snow), and Tencent, which provide their users with a variety of products, services, content, and online advertising offerings, and smaller companies that offer products and services that may compete with specific Snapchat features. For example, Instagram, a subsidiary of Facebook, introduced a “stories” feature that largely mimics our Stories feature and may be directly competitive. We may also lose users to small companies that offer products and services that compete with specific Snapchat features because of the low cost for our users to switch to a different product or service. Moreover, in emerging international markets, where mobile devices often lack large storage capabilities, we may compete with other applications for the limited space available on a user’s mobile device. We also face competition from traditional and online media businesses for advertising budgets. We compete broadly with the social media offerings of Apple, Facebook, Google, and Twitter, and with other, largely regional, social media platforms that have strong positions in particular countries. As we introduce new products, as our existing products evolve, or as other companies introduce new products and services, we may become subject to additional competition. For example, in late 2016, we launched Spectacles, our first hardware product. While we view Spectacles as an extension of Snapchat, adding hardware products and services to our product portfolio subjects us to additional competition and new competitors.

Many of our current and potential competitors have significantly greater resources and broader global recognition and occupy better competitive positions in certain markets than we do. These factors may allow our competitors to respond to new or emerging technologies and changes in market requirements better than we can. Our competitors may also develop products, features, or services that are similar to ours or that achieve greater market acceptance. These products, features, and services may undertake more far-reaching and successful product development efforts or marketing campaigns, or may adopt more aggressive pricing policies. In addition, advertisers may use information that our users share through Snapchat to develop or work with competitors to develop products or features that compete with us. Certain competitors, including Apple, Facebook, and Google, could use strong or dominant positions in one or more markets to gain competitive advantages against us in areas where we operate, including by:

 

integrating competing social media platforms or features into products they control such as search engines, web browsers, or mobile device operating systems;

 

making acquisitions for similar or complementary products or services; or

 

impeding Snapchat’s accessibility and usability by modifying existing hardware and software on which the Snapchat application operates.

As a result, our competitors may acquire and engage users at the expense of our user growth or engagement, which may seriously harm our business.

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We believe that our ability to compete effectively depends on many factors, many of which are beyond our control, including:

 

the usefulness, novelty, performance, and reliability of our products compared to our competitors;

 

the size and demographics of our Daily Active Users;

 

the timing and market acceptance of our products, including developments and enhancements of our competitors’ products;

 

our ability to monetize our products;

 

the effectiveness of our advertising and sales teams;

 

the effectiveness of our advertising products;

 

our ability to establish and maintain advertisers’ and partners’ interest in using Snapchat;

 

the frequency, relative prominence, and type of advertisements displayed on our application or by our competitors;

 

the effectiveness of our customer service and support efforts;

 

the effectiveness of our marketing activities;

 

changes as a result of legislation, regulatory authorities, or litigation, including settlements and consent decrees, some of which may have a disproportionate effect on us;

 

acquisitions or consolidation within our industry;

 

our ability to attract, retain, and motivate talented employees, particularly engineers and sales personnel;

 

our ability to cost-effectively manage and scale our rapidly growing operations; and

 

our reputation and brand strength relative to our competitors.

If we cannot effectively compete, our user engagement may decrease, which could make us less attractive to users, advertisers, and partners and seriously harm our business.

We have incurred operating losses in the past, expect to incur operating losses in the future, and may never achieve or maintain profitability.

We began commercial operations in 2011 and for all of our history we have experienced net losses and negative cash flows from operations. As of December 31, 2016, we had an accumulated deficit of $1.2 billion and for the year ended December 31, 2016, we experienced a net loss of $514.6 million. As of June 30, 2017, we had an accumulated deficit of $3.9 billion and for the three months ended June 30, 2017, we experienced a net loss of $443.1 million. We expect our operating expenses to increase in the future as we expand our operations. If our revenue does not grow at a greater rate than our expenses, we will not be able to achieve and maintain profitability. We may incur significant losses in the future for many reasons, including without limitation the other risks and uncertainties described in this report. Additionally, we may encounter unforeseen expenses, operating delays, or other unknown factors that may result in losses in future periods. If our expenses exceed our revenue, our business may be seriously harmed and we may never achieve or maintain profitability.

The loss of one or more of our key personnel, or our failure to attract and retain other highly qualified personnel in the future, could seriously harm our business.

We currently depend on the continued services and performance of our key personnel, including Evan Spiegel and Robert Murphy. Although we have entered into employment agreements with Mr. Spiegel and Mr. Murphy, the agreements are at-will, which means that they may resign or could be terminated for any reason at any time. Mr. Spiegel and Mr. Murphy are high profile individuals who have received threats in the past and are likely to continue to receive threats in the future. While Mr. Spiegel, as CEO, has been responsible for our company’s strategic vision and Mr. Murphy, as CTO, developed the Snapchat application’s technical foundation, should either of them stop working for us for any reason, it is unlikely that the other co-founder would be able to fulfill the responsibilities of the departing co-founder. Nor is it likely that we would be able to immediately find a suitable replacement. The loss of key personnel, including members of management and key engineering, product development, marketing, and sales personnel, could disrupt our operations and seriously harm our business.

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As we continue to grow, we cannot guarantee we will continue to attract the personnel we need to maintain our competitive position. In part icular, we intend to hire a significant number of engineering and sales personnel in Venice, California and surrounding areas, and we expect to face significant competition in hiring them and difficulties in attracting qualified personnel to move to the Lo s Angeles area. As we mature, the incentives to attract, retain, and motivate employees provided by our equity awards or by future arrangements, such as through cash bonuses, may not be as effective as in the past. Additionally, we have many current employ ees whose equity ownership in our company gives them a substantial amount of personal wealth. Likewise, we have many current employees with fully vested equity awards who received substantial amounts of our capital stock on or after our IPO. Now that the l ock-up period has expired, attrition may increase. As a result, it may be difficult for us to continue to retain and motivate these employees, and this wealth could affect their decision about whether they continue to work for us. If we do not succeed in a ttracting, hiring, and integrating excellent personnel, or retaining and motivating existing personnel, we may be unable to grow effectively and our business could be seriously harmed.

We have a short operating history and a new business model, which makes it difficult to evaluate our prospects and future financial results and increases the risk that we will not be successful.

We began commercial operations in 2011 and began meaningfully monetizing Snapchat in 2015. We have a short operating history and a new business model, which makes it difficult to effectively assess our future prospects. Accordingly, we believe that investors’ future perceptions and expectations, which can be idiosyncratic and vary widely, and which we do not control, will affect our stock price. Our business model is based on reinventing the camera to improve the way that people live and communicate. You should consider our business and prospects in light of the challenges we face, including the ones discussed in this section.

If our security is compromised or if our platform is subjected to attacks that frustrate or thwart our users’ ability to access our products and services, our users, advertisers, and partners may cut back on or stop using our products and services altogether, which could seriously harm our business.

Our efforts to protect the information that our users have shared with us may be unsuccessful due to the actions of third parties, software bugs or other technical malfunctions, employee error or malfeasance, or other factors. In addition, third parties may attempt to fraudulently induce employees or users to disclose information to gain access to our data or our users’ data. If any of these events occur, our or our users’ information could be accessed or disclosed improperly. We have previously suffered the loss of employee information related to an employee error. Our Privacy Policy governs how we may use and share the information that our users have provided us. Some advertisers and partners may store information that we share with them. If these third parties fail to implement adequate data-security practices or fail to comply with our terms and policies, our users’ data may be improperly accessed or disclosed. And even if these third parties take all these steps, their networks may still suffer a breach, which could compromise our users’ data.

Any incidents where our users’ information is accessed without authorization, or is improperly used, or incidents that violate our Terms of Service or policies, could damage our reputation and our brand and diminish our competitive position. In addition, affected users or government authorities could initiate legal or regulatory action against us over those incidents, which could cause us to incur significant expense and liability or result in orders or consent decrees forcing us to modify our business practices. Maintaining the trust of our users is important to sustain our growth, retention, and user engagement. Concerns over our privacy practices, whether actual or unfounded, could damage our reputation and brand and deter users, advertisers, and partners from using our products and services. Any of these occurrences could seriously harm our business.

We are also subject to many federal, state, and foreign laws and regulations, including those related to privacy, rights of publicity, content, data protection, content regulation, intellectual property, health and safety, competition, protection of minors, consumer protection, employment, and taxation. These laws and regulations are constantly evolving and may be interpreted, applied, created, or amended in a manner that could seriously harm our business.

In addition, in December 2014, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, or the FTC, resolved an investigation into some of our early practices by issuing a final order. That order requires, among other things, that we establish a robust privacy program to govern how we treat user data. During the 20-year term of the order, we must complete bi-annual independent privacy audits. In addition, in June 2014, we entered into a 10-year assurance of discontinuance with the Attorney General of Maryland implementing similar practices, including measures to prevent minors under the age of 13 from creating accounts and providing annual compliance reports. Violating existing or future regulatory orders or consent decrees could subject us to substantial monetary fines and other penalties that could seriously harm our business.

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Our user metrics and other estimates are subject to inherent challenges in mea surement, and real or perceived inaccuracies in those metrics may seriously harm and negatively affect our reputation and our business.

We regularly review metrics, including our Daily Active Users and ARPU metrics, to evaluate growth trends, measure our performance, and make strategic decisions. These metrics are calculated using internal company data and have not been validated by an independent third party. While these numbers are based on what we believe to be reasonable estimates of our user base for the applicable period of measurement, there are inherent challenges in measuring how our products are used across large populations globally. For example, we believe that there are individuals who have multiple Snapchat accounts, even though we forbid that in our Terms of Service and implement measures to detect and suppress that behavior. Our user metrics are also affected by technology on certain mobile devices that automatically runs in the background of our Snapchat application when another phone function is used, and this activity can cause our system to miscount the user metrics associated with such account.

Some of our demographic data may be incomplete or inaccurate. For example, because users self-report their dates of birth, our age-demographic data may differ from our users’ actual ages. And because users who signed up for Snapchat before June 2013 were not asked to supply their date of birth, we exclude those users and estimate their ages based on a sample of the self-reported ages we do have. If our Daily Active Users provide us with incorrect or incomplete information regarding their age or other attributes, then our estimates may prove inaccurate and fail to meet investor expectations.

In the past we have relied on third-party analytics providers to calculate our metrics, but today we rely primarily on our analytics platform that we developed and operate. For example, before June 2015, we used a third party that counted a Daily Active User when the application was opened or a notification was received via the application on any device. We now use an analytics platform that we developed and operate and we count a Daily Active User only when a user opens the application and only once per user per day. We believe this methodology more accurately measures our user engagement. We have multiple pipelines of user data that we use to determine whether a user has opened the application during a particular day, and thus is a Daily Active User. This provides redundancy in the event one pipeline of data were to become unavailable for technical reasons, and also gives us redundant data to help measure how users interact with our application.

Additionally, to align our pre-June 2015 Daily Active Users with this new methodology, we reduced our pre-June 2015 Daily Active Users by 4.8%, the amount by which we estimated the data generated by the third party was overstated. Since this adjustment is an estimate, the actual pre-June 2015 Daily Active Users may be higher or lower than our reported numbers. As a result, our metrics may not be comparable to prior periods.

Errors or inaccuracies in our metrics or data could result in incorrect business decisions and inefficiencies. For instance, if a significant understatement or overstatement of Daily Active Users were to occur, we may expend resources to implement unnecessary business measures or fail to take required actions to attract a sufficient number of users to satisfy our growth strategies. We believe that we do not capture all data regarding our Daily Active Users. This generally occurs because of technical issues, like when our systems do not record data from every user’s Snapchat application. We are continually seeking to address technical issues and improve our accuracy, but given the complexity of the systems involved and the rapidly changing nature of mobile devices and systems, we expect these issues to continue. If advertisers, partners, or investors do not perceive our user, geographic, or other demographic metrics to be accurate representations of our user base, or if we discover material inaccuracies in our user, geographic, or other demographic metrics, our reputation may be seriously harmed. And at the same time, advertisers and partners may be less willing to allocate their budgets or resources to Snapchat, which could seriously harm our business. In addition, we measure our Daily Active Users by calculating the daily average of users across the quarter. This calculation may mask any individual months within the quarter that are significantly higher or lower than the average. For example, although Daily Active Users grew by 7% from 143 million Daily Active Users for the quarter ended June 30, 2016 to 153 million Daily Active Users for the quarter ended September 30, 2016, the growth in Daily Active Users was relatively flat in the latter part of the quarter ended September 30, 2016.

Mobile malware, viruses, hacking and phishing attacks, spamming, and improper or illegal use of Snapchat could seriously harm our business and reputation.

Mobile malware, viruses, hacking, and phishing attacks have become more prevalent in our industry, have occurred on our systems in the past, and may occur on our systems in the future. Because of our prominence, we believe that we are an attractive target for these sorts of attacks. Although it is difficult to determine what, if any, harm may directly result from an interruption or attack, any failure to maintain performance, reliability, security, and availability of our products and technical infrastructure to the satisfaction of our users may seriously harm our reputation and our ability to retain existing users and attract new users.

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In addition, spammers attempt to use our products to send targeted and untargeted spam messages to users, which may embarrass or annoy users and make our products less user friendly. We cannot be certain that the technologies that we have developed to repel spamming attacks will be able to eliminate all spam messages from our products. Our actions to combat spam may also require diversion of signif icant time and focus of our engineering team from improving our products. As a result of spamming activities, our users may use our products less or stop using them altogether, and result in continuing operational cost to us.

Similarly, terror and other criminal groups may use our products to promote their goals and encourage users to engage in terror and other illegal activities. We expect that as more people use our products, these groups will increasingly seek to misuse our products. Although we invest resources to combat these activities, including by suspending or terminating accounts we believe are violating our Terms of Service and Community Guidelines, we expect these groups will continue to seek ways to act inappropriately and illegally on Snapchat. Combating these groups requires our engineering team to divert significant time and focus from improving our products. In addition, we may not be able to control or stop Snapchat from becoming the preferred application of use by these groups, which may become public knowledge and seriously harm our reputation or lead to lawsuits or attention from regulators. If these activities increase on Snapchat, our reputation, user growth and user engagement, and operational cost structure could be seriously harmed.

Because we store, process, and use data, some of which contains personal information, we are subject to complex and evolving federal, state, and foreign laws and regulations regarding privacy, data protection, content, and other matters. Many of these laws and regulations are subject to change and uncertain interpretation, and could result in investigations, claims, changes to our business practices, increased cost of operations, and declines in user growth, retention, or engagement, any of which could seriously harm our business.

We are subject to a variety of laws and regulations in the United States and other countries that involve matters central to our business, including user privacy, rights of publicity, data protection, content, intellectual property, distribution, electronic contracts and other communications, competition, protection of minors, consumer protection, taxation, and online-payment services. These laws can be particularly restrictive in countries outside the United States. Both in the United States and abroad, these laws and regulations constantly evolve and remain subject to significant change. In addition, the application and interpretation of these laws and regulations are often uncertain, particularly in the new and rapidly evolving industry in which we operate. Because we store, process, and use data, some of which contains personal information, we are subject to complex and evolving federal, state, and foreign laws and regulations regarding privacy, data protection, content, and other matters. Many of these laws and regulations are subject to change and uncertain interpretation, and could result in investigations, claims, changes to our business practices, increased cost of operations, and declines in user growth, retention, or engagement, any of which could seriously harm our business.

Several proposals are pending before federal, state, and foreign legislative and regulatory bodies that could significantly affect our business. For example, a revision to the 1995 European Union Data Protection Directive is currently being considered by European legislative bodies that may include more stringent operational requirements for data processors and significant penalties for non-compliance. In addition, the General Data Protection Regulation in the European Union, which will go into effect on May 25, 2018, may require us to change our policies and procedures and, if we are not compliant, may seriously harm our business.

Our financial condition and results of operations will fluctuate from quarter to quarter, which makes them difficult to predict.

Our quarterly results of operations have fluctuated in the past and will fluctuate in the future. Additionally, we have a limited operating history with the current scale of our business, which makes it difficult to forecast our future results. As a result, you should not rely on our past quarterly results of operations as indicators of future performance. You should take into account the risks and uncertainties frequently encountered by companies in rapidly evolving markets. Our financial condition and results of operations in any given quarter can be influenced by numerous factors, many of which we are unable to predict or are outside of our control, including:

 

our ability to maintain and grow our user base and user engagement;

 

the development and introduction of new products or services, such as Spectacles, by us or our competitors;

 

the ability of our data service providers to scale effectively and timely provide the necessary technical infrastructure to offer our service;

 

our ability to attract and retain advertisers in a particular period;

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seasonal fluctuations in spending by our advertisers and product usage by our users, each of which may change as our product offerings evolve or as our business grows ;

 

the number of advertisements shown to users;

 

the pricing of our advertisements and other products;

 

our ability to demonstrate to advertisers the effectiveness of our advertisements;

 

the diversification and growth of revenue sources beyond current advertising;

 

increases in marketing, sales, and other operating expenses that we may incur to grow and expand our operations and to remain competitive;

 

our ability to maintain gross margins and operating margins;

 

system failures or breaches of security or privacy;

 

inaccessibility of Snapchat due to third-party actions;

 

stock-based compensation expense;

 

adverse litigation judgments, settlements, or other litigation-related costs;

 

changes in the legislative or regulatory environment, including with respect to privacy, or enforcement by government regulators, including fines, orders, or consent decrees;

 

fluctuations in currency exchange rates and changes in the proportion of our revenue and expenses denominated in foreign currencies;

 

fluctuations in the market values of our portfolio investments and interest rates;

 

changes in our effective tax rate;

 

announcements by competitors of significant new products or acquisitions;

 

our ability to make accurate accounting estimates and appropriately recognize revenue for our products for which there are no relevant comparable products;

 

changes in accounting standards, policies, guidance, interpretations, or principles; and

 

changes in business or macroeconomic conditions.

If we are unable to successfully grow our user base and further monetize our products, our business will suffer.

We have made, and are continuing to make, investments to enable users and advertisers to create compelling content and deliver advertising to our users. Existing and prospective Snapchat users and advertisers may not be successful in creating content that leads to and maintains user engagement. We are continuously seeking to balance the objectives of our users and advertisers with our desire to provide an optimal user experience. We do not seek to monetize all of our products and we may not be successful in achieving a balance that continues to attract and retain users and advertisers. If we are not successful in our efforts to grow our user base or if we are unable to build and maintain good relations with our advertisers, our user growth and user engagement and our business may be seriously harmed. In addition, we may expend significant resources to launch new products that we are unable to monetize, which may seriously harm our business.

Additionally, we may not succeed in further monetizing Snapchat. We currently monetize Snapchat by displaying in the application advertisements that we sell and advertisements sold by our partners. As a result, our financial performance and ability to grow revenue could be seriously harmed if:

 

we fail to increase or maintain Daily Active Users;

 

we fail to increase or maintain the amount of time spent on Snapchat or usage of our Creative Tools, Chat Service, or Storytelling Platform;

 

partners do not create engaging content for users or renew their agreements with us;

 

advertisers do not continue to introduce engaging advertisements;

 

advertisers reduce their advertising on Snapchat;

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we fail to maintain good relationships with advertisers or attract new advertisers; or

 

the content on Snapchat does not maintain or gain popularity.

We cannot assure you that we will effectively manage our growth.

Our employee headcount and the scope and complexity of our business have increased significantly, with the number of full-time employees increasing from 600 as of December 31, 2015 to 1,859 as of December 31, 2016. We expect headcount growth to continue for the foreseeable future. The growth and expansion of our business and products create significant challenges for our management, including managing multiple relationships with users, advertisers, partners, and other third parties, and constrain operational and financial resources. If our operations or the number of third-party relationships continues to grow, our information-technology systems and our internal controls and procedures may not adequately support our operations. In addition, some members of our management do not have significant experience managing large global business operations, so our management may not be able to manage such growth effectively. To effectively manage our growth, we must continue to improve our operational, financial, and management processes and systems and effectively expand, train, and manage our employee base.

As our organization continues to grow and we are required to implement more complex organizational management structures, we may also find it increasingly difficult to maintain the benefits of our corporate culture, including our ability to quickly develop and launch new and innovative products. This could negatively affect our business performance and seriously harm our business.

Our costs are growing rapidly, which could seriously harm our business or increase our losses.

Providing our products to our users is costly, and we expect our expenses, including those related to people and hosting, to grow in the future. This expense growth will continue as we broaden our user base, as users increase the number of connections and amount of content they consume and share, as we develop and implement new product features that require more computing infrastructure, and as we hire additional employees at a rapid pace to support potential future growth. Historically, our costs have increased each year due to these factors, and we expect to continue to incur increasing costs. Our costs are based on development and release of new products and the addition of users and may not be offset by a corresponding growth of our revenue. We expect to continue to invest in our global infrastructure to provide our products quickly and reliably to all users around the world, including in countries where we do not expect significant short-term monetization, if any. Our expenses may be greater than we anticipate, and our investments to make our business and our technical infrastructure more efficient may not succeed and may outpace monetization efforts. In addition, we expect to increase marketing, sales, and other operating expenses to grow and expand our operations and to remain competitive. Increases in our costs without a corresponding increase in our revenue would increase our losses and could seriously harm our business.

Our business depends on our ability to maintain and scale our technology infrastructure. Any significant disruption to our service could damage our reputation, result in a potential loss of users and decrease in user engagement, and seriously harm our business.

Our reputation and ability to attract, retain, and serve users depends on the reliable performance of Snapchat and our underlying technology infrastructure. Our systems may not be adequately designed with the necessary reliability and redundancy to avoid performance delays or outages that could seriously harm our business. If Snapchat is unavailable when users attempt to access it, or if it does not load as quickly as they expect, users may not return to Snapchat as often in the future, or at all. As our user base and the volume and types of information shared on Snapchat continue to grow, we will need an increasing amount of technology infrastructure, including network capacity and computing power, to continue to satisfy our users’ needs. It is possible that we may fail to effectively scale and grow our technology infrastructure to accommodate these increased demands. In addition, our business is subject to interruptions, delays, and failures resulting from earthquakes, other natural disasters, terrorism, and other catastrophic events.

A substantial portion of our network infrastructure is provided by third parties. Any disruption or failure in the services we receive from these providers could harm our ability to handle existing or increased traffic and could seriously harm our business. Any financial or other difficulties these providers face may seriously harm our business. And because we exercise little control over these providers, we are vulnerable to problems with the services they provide.

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Our business emphasizes rapid innovation and prioritizes long-term user engagement over short-term financial condition or results of operations. That strategy may yield results that sometimes don’t align with the market’s expectations. If that happens, our stock price may be negatively affected.

Our business is growing and becoming more complex, and our success depends on our ability to quickly develop and launch new and innovative products. We believe our culture fosters this goal. Our focus on complexity and quick reactions could result in unintended outcomes or decisions that are poorly received by our users, advertisers, or partners. For example, we made, and expect to continue to make, significant investments to develop and launch Spectacles and we are not yet able to determine whether users will purchase or use Spectacles in the future. Our culture also prioritizes our long-term user engagement over short-term financial condition or results of operations. We frequently make decisions that may reduce our short-term revenue or profitability if we believe that the decisions benefit the aggregate user experience and will thereby improve our financial performance over the long term. For example, we monitor how advertising on Snapchat affects our users’ experiences to ensure we do not deliver too many advertisements to our users, and we may decide to decrease the number of advertisements to ensure our users’ satisfaction in the product. In addition, we improve Snapchat based on feedback provided by our users and partners. These decisions may not produce the long-term benefits that we expect, in which case our user growth and engagement, our relationships with advertisers and partners, and our business could be seriously harmed.

If we are unable to protect our intellectual property, the value of our brand and other intangible assets may be diminished, and our business may be seriously harmed. If we need to license or acquire new intellectual property, we may incur substantial costs.

We aim to protect our confidential proprietary information, in part, by entering into confidentiality agreements and invention assignment agreements with all our employees, consultants, advisors, and any third parties who access or contribute to our proprietary know-how, information, or technology. We also rely on trademark, copyright, patent, trade secret, and domain-name-protection laws to protect our proprietary rights. In the United States and internationally, we have filed various applications to protect aspects of our intellectual property, and we currently hold a number of issued patents in multiple jurisdictions. In the future we may acquire additional patents or patent portfolios, which could require significant cash expenditures. However, third parties may knowingly or unknowingly infringe our proprietary rights, third parties may challenge proprietary rights held by us, and pending and future trademark and patent applications may not be approved. In addition, effective intellectual property protection may not be available in every country in which we operate or intend to operate our business. In any of these cases, we may be required to expend significant time and expense to prevent infringement or to enforce our rights. Although we have taken measures to protect our proprietary rights, there can be no assurance that others will not offer products or concepts that are substantially similar to ours and compete with our business. In addition, we regularly contribute software source code under open-source licenses and have made other technology we developed available under other open licenses, and we include open-source software in our products. From time to time, we may face claims from third parties claiming ownership of, or demanding release of, the open-source software or derivative works that we have developed using such software, which could include our proprietary source code, or otherwise seeking to enforce the terms of the applicable open-source license. These claims could result in litigation and could require us to make our software source code freely available, seek licenses from third parties to continue offering our products for certain uses, or cease offering the products associated with such software unless and until we can re-engineer them to avoid infringement, which may be very costly. For example, in January 2017, Vaporstream, Inc. filed a complaint against us in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. The complaint, which seeks injunctive relief among other remedies, alleges that certain Snapchat features infringe several Vaporstream patents. While we believe their claims are meritless, an unfavorable outcome in this litigation could seriously harm our business. If we are unable to protect our proprietary rights or prevent unauthorized use or appropriation by third parties, the value of our brand and other intangible assets may be diminished, and competitors may be able to more effectively mimic our service and methods of operations. Any of these events could seriously harm our business.

If our users do not continue to contribute content or their contributions are not perceived as valuable to other users, we may experience a decline in user growth, retention, and engagement on Snapchat, which could result in the loss of advertisers and revenue.

Our success depends on our ability to provide Snapchat users with engaging content, which in part depends on the content contributed by our users. If users, including influential users such as world leaders, government officials, celebrities, athletes, journalists, sports teams, media outlets, and brands, do not continue to contribute engaging content to Snapchat, our user growth, retention, and engagement may decline. That, in turn, may impair our ability to maintain good relationships with our advertisers or attract new advertisers, which may seriously harm our business and financial performance.

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Foreign government initiatives to restrict access to Snapchat in their countries could seriously harm our business.

Foreign data protection, privacy, consumer protection, content regulation, and other laws and regulations are often more restrictive than those in the United States. Foreign governments may censor Snapchat in their countries, restrict access to Snapchat from their countries entirely, impose laws on us that require data localization, or impose other restrictions that may affect their citizens’ ability to access Snapchat for an extended period of time or even indefinitely. If foreign governments think we are violating their laws, or for other reasons, they may seek to restrict access to Snapchat, which would give our competitors an opportunity to penetrate geographic markets that we cannot access. As a result, our user growth, retention, and engagement may be seriously harmed, and we may not be able to maintain or grow our revenue as anticipated and our business could be seriously harmed. For example, access to Google, which currently powers our infrastructure, is restricted in China, and we do not know if we will be able to enter the market in a manner acceptable to the Chinese government.

Our users may increasingly engage directly with our partners instead of through Snapchat, which may negatively affect our advertising revenue and seriously harm our business.

We allow partners to display their advertisements on Snapchat. Using our products, some partners not only can interact directly with our users, but can also direct our users to content on the partner’s website directly. When users visit a partner’s website, we do not deliver advertisements to these websites. So, if our partners’ websites draw users away from Snapchat, the sort of user activity that generates advertising opportunities may decline, which could negatively affect our advertising revenue. Although we believe that Snapchat reaps significant long-term benefits from increased user engagement on content on Snapchat provided by our partners, these benefits may not offset the possible loss of advertising revenue, in which case our business could be seriously harmed.

If events occur that damage our reputation and brand, our ability to expand our user base, advertisers, and partners may be impaired, and our business may be seriously harmed.

We have developed a brand that we believe has contributed to our success. We also believe that maintaining and enhancing our brand is critical to expanding our user base, advertisers, and partners. Because many of our users join Snapchat on the invitation or recommendation of a friend or family member, one of our primary focuses is on ensuring that our users continue to view Snapchat and our brand favorably so that these referrals continue. Maintaining and enhancing our brand will depend largely on our ability to continue to provide useful, novel, fun, reliable, trustworthy, and innovative products, which we may not do successfully. We may introduce new products or require our users to agree to new terms of service related to new and existing products that users do not like, which may negatively affect our brand. Additionally, our partners’ actions may affect our brand if users do not appreciate what those partners do on Snapchat. In the past, we have experienced, and we expect that in the future we will continue to experience, media, legislative, and regulatory scrutiny of our decisions regarding user privacy or other issues, which may seriously harm our reputation and brand. We may also fail to adequately support the needs of our users, advertisers, or partners, which could erode confidence in our brand. Maintaining and enhancing our brand may require us to make substantial investments and these investments may not be successful. If we fail to successfully promote and maintain our brand or if we incur excessive expenses in this effort, our business may be seriously harmed.

Unfavorable media coverage could seriously harm our business.

We and our founders receive a high degree of media coverage globally. Unfavorable publicity regarding us, for example, our privacy practices, product changes, product quality, litigation, or regulatory activity, or regarding the actions of our partners or our users, could seriously harm our reputation. Such negative publicity could also adversely affect the size, demographics, engagement, and loyalty of our user base and result in decreased revenue, fewer app installs (or increased app un-installs), or slower user growth rates, any of which could seriously harm our business.

If we are not successful in expanding and operating our business in international markets, we may need to lay off employees in those markets, which may seriously harm our reputation and business.

We have rapidly expanded to new international markets, including areas where we do not yet understand the full scope of commerce and culture. In connection with this rapid international expansion we have also hired new employees in many of these markets. This rapid expansion may:

 

impede our ability to continuously monitor the performance of our international employees;

 

result in hiring of employees who may not yet fully understand our business, products, and culture; and

 

cause us to expand in markets that may lack the culture and infrastructure needed to adopt our products.

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These issues may eventually lead to layoffs of employees in t hese markets and may harm our ability to grow our business in these markets.

We have spent and anticipate spending substantial funds in connection with the tax liabilities on the settlement of RSUs. The manner in which we fund these tax liabilities may have an adverse effect on our financial condition.

Given the large number of RSUs that initially settled in connection with our IPO, we expended approximately $206.6 million in the three months ended March 31, 2017 to satisfy tax withholding and remittance obligations. To settle these RSUs, we net-settled the awards by delivering an aggregate of approximately 14.6 million shares of Class A common stock and Class B common stock to RSU holders and withholding an aggregate of approximately 12.1 million shares of Class A common stock and Class B common stock. In addition, in July 2017, we net-settled RSUs that vested between the IPO and expiration of the lock-up period for our IPO by delivering 5.7 million shares of Class A common stock and 1.8 million shares of Class B common stock to our RSU holders, and expended approximately $105.0 million to satisfy tax withholding and remittance obligations through July 31, 2017, not including tax withholding that was remitted at the IPO, which was $206.6 million. We withheld and remitted income taxes at applicable statutory rates based on the then-current value of the underlying shares.

To fund the withholding and remittance obligations in the future, we may sell equity securities near the applicable settlement dates in an amount that is substantially equivalent to the number of shares of common stock that we withhold in connection with these net settlements, such that the newly issued shares should not be dilutive. However, in the event that we issue equity securities, we cannot assure you that we will be able to successfully match the proceeds to the amount of this tax liability. In addition, any such equity financing could result in a decline in our stock price. If we elect not to fully fund tax withholding and remittance obligations through the issuance of equity or we are unable to complete such an offering due to market conditions or otherwise, we may choose to borrow funds under our Credit Facility, use a substantial portion of our existing cash, or rely on a combination of these alternatives. In the event that we elect to satisfy tax withholding and remittance obligations in whole or in part by drawing on our Credit Facility, our interest expense and principal repayment requirements could increase significantly, which could have an adverse effect on our financial condition or results of operations.

Our products are highly technical and may contain undetected software bugs or hardware errors, which could manifest in ways that could seriously harm our reputation and our business.

Our products are highly technical and complex. Snapchat and Spectacles, or any other products we may introduce in the future, may contain undetected software bugs, hardware errors, and other vulnerabilities. These bugs and errors can manifest in any number of ways in our products, including through diminished performance, security vulnerabilities, malfunctions, or even permanently disabled products. We have a practice of rapidly updating our products and some errors in our products may be discovered only after a product has been shipped and used by users, and may in some cases be detected only under certain circumstances or after extended use. Spectacles, as an eyewear product, is regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, or the FDA, and may malfunction in a way that physically harms a user. We offer a limited one-year warranty in the United States and a limited two-year warranty in Europe, and any such defects discovered in our products after commercial release could result in a loss of sales and users, which could seriously harm our business. Any errors, bugs, or vulnerabilities discovered in our code after release could damage our reputation, drive away users, lower revenue, and expose us to damages claims, any of which could seriously harm our business.

We could also face claims for product liability, tort, or breach of warranty. In addition, our product contracts with users contain provisions relating to warranty disclaimers and liability limitations, which may not be upheld. Defending a lawsuit, regardless of its merit, is costly and may divert management’s attention and seriously harm our reputation and our business. In addition, if our liability insurance coverage proves inadequate or future coverage is unavailable on acceptable terms or at all, our business could be seriously harmed.

As our business expands, we may offer credit to our partners to stay competitive, and as a result we may be exposed to credit risk of some of our partners, which may seriously harm our business.

As our business continues to grow and expand, we may decide to engage in business with some of our partners on an open credit basis. While we may monitor individual partner payment capability when we grant open credit arrangements and maintain allowances we believe are adequate to cover exposure for doubtful accounts, we cannot assure investors these programs will be effective in managing our credit risks in the future, especially as we expand our business internationally and

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engage with partners that we may not be familiar with. If we are unable to adequately control these risks, our business could be seriously harmed.

We may be subject to regulatory investigations and proceedings in the future, which could cause us to incur substantial costs or require us to change our business practices in a way that could seriously harm our business.

It is possible that a regulatory inquiry might force us to change our policies or practices. And were we to violate existing or future regulatory orders or consent decrees, we might incur substantial monetary fines and other penalties that could seriously harm our business. In addition, it is possible that future orders issued by, or enforcement actions initiated by, regulatory authorities could cause us to incur substantial costs or require us to change our business practices in a way that could seriously harm our business.

For example, in December 2014, the FTC resolved an investigation into some of our early practices by issuing a final order. That order requires, among other things, that we establish a robust privacy program to govern how we treat user data. During the 20-year term of the order, we must complete bi-annual independent privacy audits. In addition, in June 2014, we entered into a 10-year assurance of discontinuance with the Attorney General of Maryland implementing similar practices, including measures to prevent minors under the age of 13 from creating accounts and providing annual compliance reports. Violating existing or future regulatory orders or consent decrees could subject us to substantial monetary fines and other penalties that could seriously harm our business. Similarly, we may be subject to additional general inquiries from time to time, which may seriously harm our business.

We are currently, and expect to be in the future, party to patent lawsuits and other intellectual property claims that are expensive and time-consuming. If resolved adversely, lawsuits and claims could seriously harm our business.

Companies in the mobile, camera, communication, media, internet, and other technology-related industries own large numbers of patents, copyrights, trademarks, trade secrets, and other intellectual property rights, and frequently enter into litigation based on allegations of infringement, misappropriation, or other violations of intellectual property or other rights. In addition, various “non-practicing entities” that own patents, copyrights, trademarks, trade secrets, and other intellectual property rights often attempt to aggressively assert their rights to extract value from technology companies. Furthermore, from time to time we may introduce new products or make other business changes, including in areas where we currently do not compete, which could increase our exposure to patent, copyright, trademark, trade secret, and other intellectual property rights claims from competitors and non-practicing entities. From time to time, we receive letters from patent holders alleging that some of our products infringe their patent rights and from trademark holders alleging infringement of their trademark rights. We have been subject to litigation with respect to third-party patents, trademarks, and other intellectual property and we expect to continue to be subject to intellectual property litigation.

We rely on a variety of statutory and common-law frameworks for the content we provide our users, including the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, or DMCA, the Communications Decency Act, or CDA, and the fair-use doctrine. The DMCA limits, but does not necessarily eliminate, our potential liability for caching, hosting, listing, or linking to third-party content that may include materials that infringe copyrights or other rights. The CDA further limits our potential liability for content uploaded onto Snapchat by third parties. And the fair-use doctrine (and related doctrines in other countries) limits our potential liability for featuring third-party intellectual property content produced by Snap Inc. for purposes such as reporting, commentary, and parody. However, each of these statutes and doctrines is subject to uncertain judicial interpretation and regulatory and legislative amendments. Moreover, some of them provide protection only or primarily in the United States. If the rules around these doctrines change, if international jurisdictions refuse to apply similar protections, or if a court were to disagree with our application of those rules to our service, we could incur liability and our business could be seriously harmed.

From time to time, we are involved in class-action lawsuits and other litigation matters that are expensive and time-consuming. If resolved adversely, lawsuits and other litigation matters could seriously harm our business.

We are involved in numerous lawsuits, including putative class-action lawsuits brought by users, many of which claim statutory damages. We anticipate that we will continue to be a target for lawsuits in the future. Because we have millions of users, the plaintiffs in class-action cases filed against us typically claim enormous monetary damages in the aggregate even if the alleged per-user harm is small or non-existent. For example, beginning on May 16, 2017, we, certain of our officers and directors, and the underwriters of our IPO were named as defendants in securities class actions purportedly brought on behalf of purchasers of our Class A common stock. Any litigation to which we are a party may result in an onerous or unfavorable judgment that may not be reversed on appeal, or we may decide to settle lawsuits on similarly unfavorable terms. Any such

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negative outcome could result in payments of substantial monetary damages or fines, or changes to our products or business practices, and accordingly our business could be seriously harmed. Although the results of lawsuits and claims cannot b e predicted with certainty, management does not believe that the final outcome of those matters that we currently face will seriously harm our business. However, defending these claims is costly and can impose a significant burden on management and employe es, and we may receive unfavorable preliminary, interim, or final rulings in the course of litigation, which could seriously harm our business.

We do not have manufacturing capabilities and depend on a single contract manufacturer. If we encounter problems with this contract manufacturer or if the manufacturing process stops or is delayed for any reason, we may not deliver our hardware products, such as Spectacles, to our customers on time, which may seriously harm our business.

We have limited manufacturing experience for our only physical product, Spectacles, and we do not have any internal manufacturing capabilities. Instead, we rely on one contract manufacturer to build Spectacles. Our contract manufacturer is vulnerable to capacity constraints and reduced component availability, and our control over delivery schedules, manufacturing yields, and costs, particularly when components are in short supply, or if we introduce a new product or feature, is limited. In addition, we have limited control over our manufacturer’s quality systems and controls, and therefore must rely on our manufacturer to manufacture our products to our quality and performance standards and specifications. Delays, component shortages, including custom components that are manufactured for us at our direction, and other manufacturing and supply problems could impair the distribution of our products and ultimately our brand. Furthermore, any adverse change in our contract manufacturer’s financial or business condition could disrupt our ability to supply our products to our retailers and distributors. If we are required to change our contract manufacturer or assume internal manufacturing operations, we may lose revenue, incur increased costs, and damage our reputation and brand. Qualifying a new contract manufacturer and commencing production is expensive and time-consuming. In addition, if we experience increased demand for our products, we may need to increase our component purchases, contract-manufacturing capacity and internal test and quality functions. The inability of our contract manufacturers to provide us with adequate supplies of high-quality products could delay our order fulfillment, and may require us to change the design of our products to meet this increased demand. Any redesign would require us to re-qualify our products with any applicable regulatory bodies, which would be costly and time-consuming. This may lead to unsatisfied customers and users and increase costs to us, which could seriously harm our business.

Components used in our products may fail as a result of a manufacturing, design, or other defect over which we have no control, and render our devices inoperable.

We rely on third-party component suppliers to provide some of the functionalities needed to operate and use our products, such as Spectacles. Any errors or defects in that third-party technology could result in errors in our products that could seriously harm our business. If these components have a manufacturing, design, or other defect, they can cause our products to fail and render them permanently inoperable. For example, the typical means by which our Spectacles product connects to mobile devices is by way of a Bluetooth transceiver located in the Spectacles product. If the Bluetooth transceiver in our Spectacles product were to fail, it would not be able to connect to a user’s mobile device and Spectacles would not be able to deliver any content to the mobile device and the Snapchat application. As a result, we would have to replace these products at our sole cost and expense. Should we have a widespread problem of this kind, the reputational damage and the cost of replacing these products could seriously harm our business.

The FDA and other state and foreign regulatory agencies regulate Spectacles. We may develop future products that are regulated as medical devices by the FDA. Government authorities, primarily the FDA and corresponding regulatory agencies, regulate the medical device industry. Unless there is an exemption, we must obtain regulatory approval from the FDA and corresponding agencies before we can market or sell a new regulated product or make a significant modification to an existing product. Obtaining regulatory clearances to market a medical device can be costly and time-consuming, and we may not be able to obtain these clearances or approvals on a timely basis, or at all, for future products. Any delay in, or failure to receive or maintain, clearance or approval for any medical device products under development could prevent us from launching new products. We could seriously harm our business and the ability to sell our products if we experience any product problems requiring FDA reporting, if we fail to comply with applicable FDA and other state or foreign agency regulations, or if we are subject to enforcement actions such as fines, civil penalties, injunctions, product recalls, or failure to obtain FDA or other regulatory clearances or approvals.

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Our offices are dispersed in various cities, and we do not have a designated headquarters offic e, which may negatively affect employee morale and could seriously harm our business.

We have many offices, both domestic and abroad, with our principal offices being located in the Los Angeles area. But we do not have one designated headquarters office; we instead have many office buildings that are dispersed throughout the area. This diffuse structure may prevent us from fostering positive employee morale and encouraging social interaction among our employees and different business units. Moreover, because our office buildings are dispersed throughout the area, we may be unable to adequately oversee employees and business functions. If we cannot compensate for these and other issues caused by this geographically dispersed office structure, we may lose employees, which could seriously harm our business.

We may face lawsuits or incur liability based on information retrieved from or transmitted over the internet and then posted to Snapchat.

We have faced, currently face, and will continue to face claims relating to information that is published or made available on Snapchat. In particular, the nature of our business exposes us to claims related to defamation, intellectual property rights, rights of publicity and privacy, and personal injury torts. For example, we do not monitor or edit the vast majority of content that appears on Snapchat. This risk is enhanced in certain jurisdictions outside the United States where our protection from liability for third-party actions may be unclear and where we may be less protected under local laws than we are in the United States. We could incur significant costs investigating and defending such claims and, if we are found liable, significant damages. If any of these events occur, our business could be seriously harmed.

We plan to continue expanding our operations abroad where we have limited operating experience and may be subject to increased business and economic risks that could seriously harm our business.

We plan to continue expanding our business operations abroad and translating our products into other languages. Snapchat is currently available in more than 20 languages, and we have offices in more than ten countries. We plan to enter new international markets where we have limited or no experience in marketing, selling, and deploying our products. If we fail to deploy or manage our operations in international markets successfully, our business may suffer. In the future, as our international operations increase, or more of our expenses are denominated in currencies other than the U.S. dollar, our operating results may be more greatly affected by fluctuations in the exchange rates of the currencies in which we do business. In addition, we are subject to a variety of risks inherent in doing business internationally, including:

 

political, social, and economic instability;

 

risks related to the legal and regulatory environment in foreign jurisdictions, including with respect to privacy, and unexpected changes in laws, regulatory requirements, and enforcement;

 

potential damage to our brand and reputation due to compliance with local laws, including potential censorship and requirements to provide user information to local authorities;

 

fluctuations in currency exchange rates;

 

higher levels of credit risk and payment fraud;

 

complying with tax requirements of multiple jurisdictions;

 

enhanced difficulties of integrating any foreign acquisitions;

 

complying with a variety of foreign laws, including certain employment laws requiring national collective bargaining agreements that set minimum salaries, benefits, working conditions, and termination requirements;

 

reduced protection for intellectual-property rights in some countries;

 

difficulties in staffing and managing global operations and the increased travel, infrastructure, and compliance costs associated with multiple international locations;

 

regulations that might add difficulties in repatriating cash earned outside the United States and otherwise preventing us from freely moving cash;

 

import and export restrictions and changes in trade regulation;

 

complying with statutory equity requirements;

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complying with the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the U.K. Bribery Act, and similar laws in other jurisdictions; and

 

export controls and economic sanctions administered by the Department of Commerce Bureau of Industry and Security and the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control.

If we are unable to expand internationally and manage the complexity of our global operations successfully, our business could be seriously harmed.

New legislation that would change U.S. or foreign taxation of international business activities or other tax-reform policies could seriously harm our business.

Reforming the taxation of international businesses has been a priority for U.S. politicians, and key members of the legislative and executive branches have proposed a wide variety of potential changes. Certain changes to U.S. tax laws, including limitations on the ability to defer U.S. taxation on earnings outside of the United States until those earnings are repatriated to the United States, could affect the tax treatment of our foreign earnings, as well as cash and cash equivalent balances we maintain outside the United States. Due to the large and expanding scale of our international business activities, any changes in the U.S. or foreign taxation of such activities may increase our worldwide effective tax rate and the amount of taxes we pay and seriously harm our business.

Exposure to United Kingdom political developments, including the outcome of the referendum on membership in the European Union, could be costly and difficult to comply with and could seriously harm our business.

In June 2016, a referendum was passed in the United Kingdom to leave the European Union, commonly referred to as “Brexit.” This decision creates an uncertain political and economic environment in the United Kingdom and other European Union countries, even though the formal process for leaving the European Union may take years to complete. This formal process began in March 2017, when the United Kingdom served notice to the European Council under Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon. We have licensed a portion of our intellectual property to one of our United Kingdom subsidiaries and intend to base a significant portion of our non-U.S. operations in the United Kingdom. The long-term nature of the United Kingdom’s relationship with the European Union is unclear and there is considerable uncertainty when any relationship will be agreed and implemented. The political and economic instability created by Brexit has caused and may continue to cause significant volatility in global financial markets and uncertainty regarding the regulation of data protection in the United Kingdom. Brexit could also have the effect of disrupting the free movement of goods, services, and people between the United Kingdom, the European Union, and elsewhere. The full effect of Brexit is uncertain and depends on any agreements the United Kingdom may make to retain access to European Union markets. Consequently, no assurance can be given about the impact of the outcome and our business, including operational and tax policies, may be seriously harmed or require reassessment if our European operations or presence become a significant part of our business.

We plan to continue to make acquisitions, which could require significant management attention, disrupt our business, dilute our stockholders, and seriously harm our business.

As part of our business strategy, we have made and intend to make acquisitions to add specialized employees and complementary companies, products, and technologies. Our ability to acquire and successfully integrate larger or more complex companies, products, and technologies is unproven .  In the future, we may not be able to find other suitable acquisition candidates, and we may not be able to complete acquisitions on favorable terms, if at all. Our previous and future acquisitions may not achieve our goals, and any future acquisitions we complete could be viewed negatively by users, advertisers, partners, or investors. In addition, if   we fail to successfully close transactions or integrate new teams, or integrate the products and technologies associated with these acquisitions into our company, our business could be seriously harmed. Any integration process may require significant time and resources, and we may not be able to manage the process successfully. We may not successfully evaluate or use the acquired products, technology, and personnel, or accurately forecast the financial impact of an acquisition transaction, including accounting charges. We may also incur unanticipated liabilities that we assume as a result of acquiring companies. We may have to pay cash, incur debt, or issue equity securities to pay for any acquisition, any of which could seriously harm our business. Selling equity to finance any such acquisitions would also dilute our stockholders. Incurring debt would increase our fixed obligations and could also include covenants or other restrictions that would impede our ability to manage our operations.

In addition, on average, it has historically taken us approximately one year after the closing of an acquisition to finalize the purchase price allocation. Therefore, it is possible that our valuation of an acquisition may change and result in

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unanticipated write-offs or charges, impairment of our goodwill, or a material change to the fair value of the assets and liabilities associated with a particular acquisition, any of which could seriously harm our business.

Our acquisition strategy may not succeed if we are unable to remain attractive to target companies or expeditiously close transactions. Issuing shares of Class A common stock to fund an acquisition would cause economic dilution to existing stockholders but not voting dilution. If we develop a reputation for being a difficult acquirer or having an unfavorable work environment, or target companies view our non-voting Class A common stock unfavorably, we may be unable to consummate key acquisition transactions essential to our corporate strategy and our business may be seriously harmed.

If we default on our credit obligations, our operations may be interrupted and our business could be seriously harmed.

We have a Credit Facility that we may draw on to finance our operations, acquisitions, and other corporate purposes, such as funding our tax-withholding and remittance obligations in connection with settling RSUs. If we default on these credit obligations, our lenders may:

 

require repayment of any outstanding amounts drawn on our Credit Facility;

 

terminate our Credit Facility; and

 

require us to pay significant damages.

If any of these events occur, our operations may be interrupted and our ability to fund our operations or obligations, as well as our business, could be seriously harmed. In addition, our Credit Facility contains operating covenants, including customary limitations on the incurrence of certain indebtedness and liens, restrictions on certain intercompany transactions, and limitations on the amount of dividends and stock repurchases. Our ability to comply with these covenants may be affected by events beyond our control, and breaches of these covenants could result in a default under the Credit Facility and any future financial agreements into which we may enter. If not waived, defaults could cause our outstanding indebtedness under our Credit Facility and any future financing agreements that we may enter into to become immediately due and payable. For more information on our Credit Facility, see “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Liquidity and Capital Resources.”

We may have exposure to greater-than-anticipated tax liabilities, which could seriously harm our business.

Our income tax obligations are based on our corporate operating structure and third-party and intercompany arrangements, including the manner in which we develop, value, and use our intellectual property and the valuations of our intercompany transactions. The tax laws applicable to our international business activities, including the laws of the United States and other jurisdictions, are subject to change and uncertain interpretation. The taxing authorities of the jurisdictions in which we operate may challenge our methodologies for valuing developed technology, intercompany arrangements, or transfer pricing, which could increase our worldwide effective tax rate and the amount of taxes we pay and seriously harm our business. Taxing authorities may also determine that the manner in which we operate our business is not consistent with how we report our income, which could increase our effective tax rate and the amount of taxes we pay and seriously harm our business. In addition, our future income taxes could fluctuate because of earnings being lower than anticipated in jurisdictions that have lower statutory tax rates and higher than anticipated in jurisdictions that have higher statutory tax rates, by changes in the valuation of our deferred tax assets and liabilities, or by changes in tax laws, regulations, or accounting principles. We are subject to regular review and audit by U.S. federal and state and foreign tax authorities. Any adverse outcome from a review or audit could seriously harm our business. In addition, determining our worldwide provision for income taxes and other tax liabilities requires significant judgment by management, and there are many transactions where the ultimate tax determination is uncertain. Although we believe that our estimates are reasonable, the ultimate tax outcome may differ from the amounts recorded in our financial statements for such period or periods and may seriously harm our business.

Our ability to use our net operating loss carryforwards and certain other tax attributes may be limited, each of which could seriously harm our business.

As of December 31, 2016, we had U.S. federal net operating loss carryforwards of approximately $73.7 million and state net operating loss carryforwards of approximately $146.3 million. Under Sections 382 and 383 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, or the Code, if a corporation undergoes an “ownership change,” the corporation’s ability to use its pre-change net operating loss carryforwards and other pre-change tax attributes, such as research tax credits, to offset its post-change income and taxes may be limited. In general, an “ownership change” occurs if there is a cumulative change in our

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ownership by “5% shareholders” that exceeds 50 percentage points over a rolling three-year period. Similar rules may apply under state tax laws . In the event that it is determined that we have in the past experienced an ownership change, or if we experience one or more ownership changes as a result of future transactions in our stock, then we may be limited in our ability to use our net operating loss carryforwards and other tax assets to reduce taxes owed on the net taxable income that we earn. Any limitations on the ability to use our net operating loss carryforwards and other tax assets could seriously harm our business.

If our goodwill or intangible assets become impaired, we may be required to record a significant charge to earnings, which could seriously harm our business.

Under U.S. generally accepted accounting principles, or GAAP, we review our intangible assets for impairment when events or changes in circumstances indicate the carrying value may not be recoverable. Goodwill is required to be tested for impairment at least annually. As of June 30, 2017 and December 31, 2016, we had recorded a total of $638.8 million and $395.1 million, respectively, of goodwill and intangible assets, net related to our acquisitions. An adverse change in market conditions, particularly if such change has the effect of changing one of our critical assumptions or estimates, could result in a change to the estimation of fair value that could result in an impairment charge to our goodwill or intangible assets. Any such material charges may seriously harm our business.

We cannot be certain that additional financing will be available on reasonable terms when needed, or at all, which could seriously harm our business.

We have incurred net losses and negative cash flow from operations for all prior periods, and we may not achieve or maintain profitability. As a result, we may need additional financing. Our ability to obtain additional financing, if and when required, will depend on investor demand, our operating performance, the condition of the capital markets, and other factors. To the extent we use available funds or draw on our Credit Facility, we may need to raise additional funds and we cannot assure investors that additional financing will be available to us on favorable terms when required, or at all. If we raise additional funds through the issuance of equity, equity-linked, or debt securities, those securities may have rights, preferences, or privileges senior to the rights of our Class A common stock, and our existing stockholders may experience dilution. In the event that we are unable to obtain additional financing on favorable terms, our interest expense and principal repayment requirements could increase significantly, which could seriously harm our business.

Payment transactions using Snapcash or future products may subject us to additional regulatory requirements and other risks that could be costly and difficult to comply with and could seriously harm our business.

Our users can use Snapchat to send cash to other users using our Snapcash feature. Depending on how our Snapcash product evolves or whether we develop additional commerce products in the future, we may be subject to a variety of laws and regulations in the United States, Europe, and elsewhere, including those governing money transmission, gift cards, and other prepaid access instruments, electronic funds transfers, anti-money laundering, counter-terrorist financing, gambling, banking and lending, and import and export restrictions. Although we currently use the service of a third party to provide the Snapcash feature, these laws may apply to us in some jurisdictions. To increase flexibility in how our use of Snapcash may evolve and to mitigate regulatory uncertainty, we may be required to apply for certain money-transmitter licenses in the United States, which may generally require us to demonstrate compliance with many domestic laws in these areas. Our efforts to comply with these laws and regulations could be costly and divert management’s time and effort and may still not guarantee compliance. If we are found to violate any of these legal or regulatory requirements, we may be subject to monetary fines or other penalties, such as a cease-and-desist order, or we may be required to make product changes, any of which could seriously harm our business. Moreover, the Snapcash product is not enabled on Snapchat by default, and our users must manually enable the feature within the application, which may prevent the Snapcash product from gaining traction with our users or becoming a material part of our business. We have not recognized revenue related to Snapcash to date.

In addition, we may be subject to a variety of additional risks as a result of Snapcash, including:

 

increased costs and diversion of management time and effort and other resources to deal with bad transactions or customer disputes;

 

potential fraudulent or otherwise illegal activity by users or third parties;

 

restrictions on the investment of consumer funds used to make Snapcash transactions; and

 

additional disclosure and reporting requirements.

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If any of these risks occurs, our business may be seriously harmed.

Risks Related to Ownership of Our Class A Common Stock

Holders of Class A common stock have no voting rights. As a result, holders of Class A common stock will not have any ability to influence stockholder decisions.

Class A common stockholders have no voting rights, unless required by Delaware law. As a result, all matters submitted to stockholders will be decided by the vote of holders of Class B common stock and Class C common stock. Mr. Spiegel and Mr. Murphy control approximately 89.0% of our voting power as of June 30, 2017, and potentially either one of them alone have the ability to control the outcome of all matters submitted to our stockholders for approval. In addition, because our Class A common stock carries no voting rights (except as required by Delaware law), the issuance of the Class A common stock in future offerings, in future stock-based acquisition transactions, and to fund employee equity incentive programs, could prolong the duration of Mr. Spiegel’s and Mr. Murphy’s current relative ownership of our voting power and their ability to elect certain directors and to determine the outcome of all matters submitted to a vote of our stockholders. This concentrated control eliminates other stockholders’ ability to influence corporate matters and, as a result, we may take actions that our stockholders do not view as beneficial. As a result, the market price of our Class A common stock could be adversely affected.

We cannot predict the impact our capital structure and the concentrated control by our founders may have on our stock price or our business.

Although other U.S.-based companies have publicly traded classes of non-voting stock, to our knowledge, no other public company has listed only non-voting stock on a U.S. stock exchange. We cannot predict whether this structure, combined with the concentrated control by Mr. Spiegel and Mr. Murphy, will result in a lower trading price or greater fluctuations in the trading price of our Class A common stock, or will result in adverse publicity or other adverse consequences. In addition, some indexes are considering whether to exclude non-voting stock, like our Class A common stock, from their membership. For example, in July 2017, FTSE Russell, a provider of widely followed stock indexes, stated that it plans to require new constituents of its indexes to have at least five percent of their voting rights in the hands of public stockholders. In addition, in July 2017, S&P Dow Jones, another provider of widely followed stock indexes, stated that companies with multiple share classes will not be eligible for certain of their indexes. As a result, our Class A common stock will likely not be eligible for these stock indexes. We cannot assure you that other stock indexes will not take a similar approach to FTSE Russell or S&P Dow Jones in the future. Exclusion from indexes could make our Class A common stock less attractive to investors and, as a result, the market price of our Class A common stock could be adversely affected.

Because our Class A common stock is non-voting, we and our stockholders are exempt from certain provisions of U.S. securities laws. This may limit the information available to holders of our Class A common stock.

Because our Class A common stock is non-voting, significant holders of our common stock are exempt from the obligation to file reports under Sections 13(d), 13(g), and 16 of the Exchange Act. These provisions generally require periodic reporting of beneficial ownership by significant stockholders. Our directors and officers are required to file reports under Section 16 of the Exchange Act. Our significant stockholders, other than directors and officers, are exempt from the “short-swing” profit recovery provisions of Section 16 of the Exchange Act and related rules with respect to their purchases and sales of our securities. As such, stockholders will be unable to bring derivative claims for disgorgement of profits for trades by significant stockholders under Section 16(b) of the Exchange Act unless the significant stockholders are also directors or officers.

Since our Class A common stock is our only class of stock registered under Section 12 of the Exchange Act and that class is non-voting, we are not required to file proxy statements or information statements under Section 14 of the Exchange Act, unless a vote of the Class A common stock is required by applicable law. Accordingly, legal causes of action and remedies under Section 14 of the Exchange Act for inadequate or misleading information in proxy statements may not be available to holders of our Class A common stock. If we do not deliver any proxy statements, information statements, annual reports, and other information and reports to the holders of our Class B common stock and Class C common stock, then we will similarly not provide any of this information to holders of our Class A common stock. Because we are not required to file proxy statements or information statements under Section 14 of the Exchange Act, any proxy statement, information statement, or notice of our annual meeting may not include all information under Section 14 of the Exchange Act that a public company with voting securities registered under Section 12 of the Exchange Act would be required to provide to its stockholders. Most of that information, however, will be reported in other public filings. For example, disclosures required by Part III of Form 10-K as well as disclosures required by the NYSE that are customarily included in a proxy statement will be

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included in our Form 10-K, rather than a proxy statement. But some information require d in a proxy statement or information statement is not required in any other public filing. For example, we will not be required to comply with the proxy access rules under Section 14 of the Exchange Act. If we take any action in an extraordinary meeting o f stockholders where the holders of Class A common stock are not entitled to vote, we will not be required to provide the information required under Section 14 of the Exchange Act. Nor will we be required to file a preliminary proxy statement under Section 14 of the Exchange Act. Since that information is also not required in a Form 10-K, holders of Class A common stock may not receive the information required under Section 14 of the Exchange Act with respect to extraordinary meetings of stockholders. In ad dition, we are not subject to the “say-on-pay” and “say-on-frequency” provisions of the Dodd–Frank Act. As a result, our stockholders do not have an opportunity to provide a non-binding vote on the compensation of our executive officers. Moreover, holders of our Class A common stock will be unable to bring matters before our annual meeting of stockholders or nominate directors at such meeting, nor can they submit stockholder proposals under Rule 14a-8 of the Exchange Act.

The trading price of our Class A common stock has been and will likely continue to be volatile.

The trading price of our Class A common stock has been and is likely to continue to be volatile. Shares of Class A common stock were sold in our IPO in March 2017 at a price of $17.00 per share. Since then, the trading price of our Class A common stock has ranged from $17.00 to $29.44 through June 30, 2017. The market price of our Class A common stock may fluctuate or decline significantly in response to numerous factors, many of which are beyond our control, including:

 

actual or anticipated fluctuations in our user growth, retention, engagement, revenue, or other operating results;

 

variations between our actual operating results and the expectations of securities analysts, investors, and the financial community;

 

our plans to not provide quarterly or annual financial guidance or projections;

 

any forward-looking financial or operating information we may provide to the public or securities analysts, any changes in this information, or our failure to meet expectations based on this information;

 

actions of securities analysts who initiate or maintain coverage of us, changes in financial estimates by any securities analysts who follow our company, or our failure to meet these estimates or the expectations of investors;

 

whether investors or analysts view our stock structure unfavorably, particularly our non-voting Class A common stock and the significant voting control of our co-founders;

 

additional shares of our common stock being sold into the market by us or our existing stockholders, or the anticipation of such sales, including if we issue shares to satisfy RSU-related tax obligations;

 

announcements by us or our competitors of significant products or features, technical innovations, acquisitions, strategic partnerships, joint ventures, or capital commitments;

 

announcements by us or estimates by third parties of actual or anticipated changes in the size of our user base or the level of user engagement;

 

changes in operating performance and stock market valuations of technology companies in our industry, including our partners and competitors;

 

price and volume fluctuations in the overall stock market, including as a result of trends in the economy as a whole;

 

lawsuits threatened or filed against us;

 

developments in new legislation and pending lawsuits or regulatory actions, including interim or final rulings by judicial or regulatory bodies; and

 

other events or factors, including those resulting from war or incidents of terrorism, or responses to these events.

In addition, extreme price and volume fluctuations in the stock markets have affected and continue to affect many technology companies’ stock prices. Often, their stock prices have fluctuated in ways unrelated or disproportionate to the companies’ operating performance. In the past, stockholders have filed securities class-action litigation following periods of market volatility. Beginning on May 16, 2017, we, certain of our officers and directors, and the underwriters for our IPO were named as defendants in securities class actions purportedly brought on behalf of purchasers of our Class A common stock. This litigation could subject us to substantial costs, divert resources and the attention of management from our business, and seriously harm our business.

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Delaware law and provisions in our amended and restated cert ificate of incorporation and amended and restated bylaws could make a merger, tender offer, or proxy contest difficult, thereby depressing the trading price of our Class A common stock.

Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and amended and restated bylaws contain provisions that could depress the trading price of our Class A common stock by acting to discourage, delay, or prevent a change of control of our company or changes in our management that the stockholders of our company may deem advantageous. These provisions include the following:

 

our amended and restated certificate of incorporation provides for a tri-class capital stock structure. As a result of this structure, Mr. Spiegel and Mr. Murphy control all stockholder decisions. As a result of Mr. Spiegel’s RSU award, Mr. Spiegel alone may exercise voting control over our outstanding capital stock. If they vote together, they will have control over all stockholder matters. This includes the election of directors and significant corporate transactions, such as a merger or other sale of our company or our assets. This concentrated control could discourage others from initiating any potential merger, takeover, or other change-of-control transaction that other stockholders may view as beneficial. As noted above, the issuance of the Class A common stock dividend, and any future issuances of Class A common stock dividends, could have the effect of prolonging the influence of Mr. Spiegel and Mr. Murphy on the company;

 

our board of directors has the right to elect directors to fill a vacancy created by the expansion of the board of directors or the resignation, death, or removal of a director, which prevents stockholders from being able to fill vacancies on our board of directors;

 

our amended and restated certificate of incorporation prohibits cumulative voting in the election of directors. This limits the ability of minority stockholders to elect director candidates; and

 

our board of directors may issue, without stockholder approval, shares of undesignated preferred stock. The ability to issue undesignated preferred stock makes it possible for our board of directors to issue preferred stock with voting or other rights or preferences that could impede the success of any attempt to acquire us.

Any provision of our amended and restated certificate of incorporation, amended and restated bylaws, or Delaware law that has the effect of delaying or deterring a change in control could limit the opportunity for our stockholders to receive a premium for their shares of our common stock, and could also affect the price that some investors are willing to pay for our Class A common stock.

An active trading market for our Class A common stock may not be sustained.

Our Class A common stock is listed on the NYSE under the symbol “SNAP.” However, we cannot assure you that an active trading market for our Class A common stock will be sustained or maintained. In addition, we cannot assure you that the liquidity of any trading market will provide stockholders the ability to sell shares of our Class A common stock when or at prices that they desire.

Future sales of shares by existing stockholders could cause our stock price to decline.

If our existing stockholders, including employees and service providers who obtain equity, sell, or indicate an intention to sell, substantial amounts of our Class A common stock in the public market, the trading price of our Class A common stock could decline. As of June 30, 2017, we had outstanding a total of 682.6 million shares of Class A common stock, 281.5 million shares of Class B common stock, and 215.9 million shares of Class C common stock. In addition, as of June 30, 2017, 192.9 million shares of Class A common stock, 36.2 million shares of Class B common stock, and 37.4 million shares of Class C common stock were subject to outstanding stock options and RSUs. In July 2017, we issued 5.7 million shares of Class A common stock and 1.8 million shares of Class B common stock (in each case net of shares withheld for tax purposes) to our RSU holders to settle RSUs. All of our outstanding shares, other than approximately 50 million shares of Class A common stock issued in our IPO which are subject to one-year lock-up agreements with us, and 543.2 million shares (including options exercisable as of July 31, 2017) held by directors, executive officers, and other affiliates that are subject to volume limitations under Rule 144 of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, or the Securities Act, are eligible for sale in the public market. Our employees, other service providers, and directors are subject to our quarterly trading window closures.

The shares subject to outstanding stock options and RSUs will become eligible for sale in the public market to the extent permitted by the provisions of various vesting agreements and subject to Rule 144 limitations applicable to affiliates. We filed a registration statement on Form S-8 under the Securities Act covering all the shares of Class A common stock subject

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to outstanding stock options or otherwise res erved for issuance under our Stock Plans, as well as shares of Class A common stock issuable on conversion of Class B common stock. Shares covered by the Form S-8 registration statement are eligible for sale in the public markets, subject to Rule 144 limit ations applicable to affiliates. If these additional shares are sold, or if it is perceived that they will be sold in the public market, the trading price of our Class A common stock could decline.

If securities or industry analysts either do not publish research about us, or publish inaccurate or unfavorable research about us, our business, or our market, or if they change their recommendations regarding our common stock adversely, the trading price or trading volume of our Class A common stock could decline.

The trading market for our Class A common stock is influenced in part by the research and reports that securities or industry analysts may publish about us, our business, our market, or our competitors. If one or more of the analysts initiate research with an unfavorable rating or downgrade our Class A common stock, provide a more favorable recommendation about our competitors, or publish inaccurate or unfavorable research about our business, our Class A common stock price would likely decline. If any analyst who may cover us were to cease coverage of us or fail to regularly publish reports on us, we could lose visibility in the financial markets, which in turn could cause the trading price or trading volume to decline.

We are an emerging growth company, and any decision on our part to comply only with certain reduced reporting and disclosure requirements applicable to emerging growth companies could make our Class A common stock less attractive to investors.

We are an emerging growth company, and, for as long as we continue to be an emerging growth company, we may choose to take advantage of exemptions from various reporting requirements applicable to other public companies but not to “emerging growth companies,” including:

 

not being required to have our independent registered public accounting firm audit our internal control over financial reporting under Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act;

 

reduced disclosure obligations regarding executive compensation in our periodic reports and annual report on Form 10-K; and

 

exemptions from the requirements of holding nonbinding advisory votes on executive compensation and stockholder approval of any golden parachute payments not previously approved.

We will cease to be an emerging growth company, as defined in the JOBS Act, at the end of this fiscal year. However, so long as our Class A common stock remains both non-voting and our only publicly traded class of stock, we will not be subject to the requirements of holding nonbinding advisory votes on executive compensation and any golden parachute payments because we would not be subject to the provisions of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, or the Dodd-Frank Act, mandating advisory votes.

We cannot predict if investors will find our Class A common stock less attractive if we choose to rely on any of the exemptions afforded emerging growth companies. If some investors find our Class A common stock less attractive because we rely on any of these exemptions, there may be a less active trading market for our Class A common stock and the market price of our Class A common stock may be more volatile.

Under the JOBS Act, emerging growth companies can also delay adopting new or revised accounting standards until such time as those standards apply to private companies. We have irrevocably elected not to avail ourselves of this accommodation allowing for delayed adoption of new or revised accounting standards, and therefore, we will be subject to the same new or revised accounting standards as other public companies that are not emerging growth companies.

We do not intend to pay cash dividends for the foreseeable future.

We have never declared or paid cash dividends on our capital stock. We currently intend to retain any future earnings to finance the operation and expansion of our business, and we do not expect to declare or pay any cash dividends in the foreseeable future. As a result, you may only receive a return on your investment in our Class A common stock if the market price of our Class A common stock increases. In addition, our Credit Facility includes restrictions on our ability to pay cash dividends.

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We have previously identified material weaknesses in our internal control over financial reporting, and if we are unable to implement and maint ain effective internal control over financial reporting in the future, investors may lose confidence in the accuracy and completeness of our financial reports, and the market price of our Class A common stock may be seriously harmed.

We are required to maintain internal control over financial reporting and to report any material weaknesses in those internal controls, subject to any exemptions that we avail ourselves to under the JOBS Act. For example, we are required to perform system and process evaluation and testing of our internal control over financial reporting to allow management to report on the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting, as required by Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. We are in the process of designing, implementing, and testing internal control over financial reporting required to comply with this obligation. That process is time-consuming, costly, and complicated.

We and our prior independent registered public accounting firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, identified material weaknesses in our internal control over financial reporting for the year ended December 31, 2014, related to the lack of sufficient qualified accounting personnel, which led to incorrect application of generally accepted accounting principles, insufficiently designed segregation of duties, and insufficiently designed controls over business processes, including the financial statement close and reporting processes with respect to the development of accounting policies, procedures, and estimates. After these material weaknesses were identified, management implemented a remediation plan that included hiring key accounting personnel, creating a formal month-end close process, and establishing more robust processes supporting internal controls over financial reporting, including accounting policies, procedures, and estimates. As of December 31, 2015, we have implemented controls sufficient to remediate the material weaknesses. Our remediation efforts are complete and we did not incur any material costs.

If we identify future material weaknesses in our internal control over financial reporting, if we are unable to comply with the requirements of Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act in a timely manner or assert that our internal control over financial reporting is effective, or if our independent registered public accounting firm is unable to express an opinion or expresses a qualified or adverse opinion about the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting, investors may lose confidence in the accuracy and completeness of our financial reports and the market price of our Class A common stock could be negatively affected. In addition, we could become subject to investigations by the stock exchange on which our securities are listed, the Securities and Exchange Commission, or the SEC, and other regulatory authorities, which could require additional financial and management resources.

The requirements of being a public company may strain our resources, result in more litigation, and divert management’s attention.

We are subject to the reporting requirements of the Exchange Act, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the Dodd-Frank Act, the listing requirements of the NYSE, and other applicable securities rules and regulations. Complying with these rules and regulations will increase our legal and financial compliance costs, make some activities more difficult, time-consuming or costly, and increase demand on our systems and resources. The Exchange Act requires, among other things, that we file annual, quarterly, and current reports with respect to our business and operating results.

By complying with public disclosure requirements, our business and financial condition are more visible, which we believe may result in threatened or actual litigation, including by competitors and other third parties. For example, beginning on May 16, 2017, we, certain of our officers and directors, and the underwriters of our IPO were named as defendants in securities class actions purportedly brought on behalf of purchasers of our Class A common stock. Shareholder litigation can subject us to substantial costs and divert resources and the attention of management from our business. If those claims are successful, our business could be seriously harmed. Even if the claims do not result in litigation or are resolved in our favor, the time and resources needed to resolve them could divert our management’s resources and seriously harm our business.

Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation provides that the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware and the federal district courts of the United States of America will be the exclusive forums for substantially all disputes between us and our stockholders, which could limit our stockholders’ ability to obtain a favorable judicial forum for disputes with us or our directors, officers, or employees.

Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation provides that the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware is the exclusive forum for:

 

any derivative action or proceeding brought on our behalf;

 

any action asserting a breach of fiduciary duty;

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any action asserting a claim against us arising under the Delaware General Corporation Law, our amended and restated certificate of incorporation, or our amended and restated bylaws ; and

 

any action asserting a claim against us that is governed by the internal-affairs doctrine.

Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation further provides that the federal district courts of the United States of America will be the exclusive forum for resolving any complaint asserting a cause of action arising under the Securities Act.

These exclusive-forum provisions may limit a stockholder’s ability to bring a claim in a judicial forum that it finds favorable for disputes with us or our directors, officers, or other employees, which may discourage lawsuits against us and our directors, officers, and other employees. If a court were to find either exclusive-forum provision in our amended and restated certificate of incorporation to be inapplicable or unenforceable in an action, we may incur additional costs associated with resolving the dispute in other jurisdictions, which could seriously harm our business.