Snapchat's plan to IPO is the worst-kept secret in tech, rivaled only by the shared knowledge that Snapchat has no real long-term revenue plan beyond being awesome.
That's a vicious combo. Especially what with private tech valuations taking an absolute trouncing in the court of public opinion, and funding for later equity rounds drying up. Money needs to come in from somewhere, and that has a been a tough nut for Snapchat to crack. Asking people to pay for silly filters to put on their photos was a dead-end, and talking about advertising revenue is infinitely easier than actually making it.
So what's a millennial brozillionaire like Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel gonna do?
What are you hearing Reuters?
Snapchat is understood to be at the front of a queue of tech firms developing Robo-Advisory technology - which uses algorithms to help users develop and implement customized investment strategies for retirement planning.
The technology enables users to click-and-invest directly into financial products via their mobile phone applications.
That's right, the startup designed to help you share disappearing nude selfies want to help you with investing! Throw a dope-ass rainbow filter on your portfolio, because getting rich on on social media just got easy as f#ck!
How easy? (Cover your ears, fund managers)... ETF easy!
"The opportunity to deliver financial services for social media platforms is amazing and potentially disruptive, especially in its ability to engage a Millennial consumer set that's still emerging," said Reginald Browne, head of ETF trading at Cantor Fitzgerald.
Social media platforms have a perceived advantage over financial advisory firms as they already maintain massive user bases. Snapchat boasts 100m daily active users, whereas start-ups like Betterment had to grow users organically.
The first generation of social media robo-advisers would provide access to exchange-traded funds, say sources - since ETFs trade like stocks on exchanges and therefore are more easily accessible than mutual funds.
Remember how there's been a vague threat hanging over the financial sector that Fintech products are going to come along and disrupt the very core of their being?
Well, if you're a client-services employee at a fund right now, imagine a situation in which your current and potential investors are eschewing the opportunity to pay your fees in favor of managing their own money whilst checking in on Snapchat, Instagram or Facebook.
Does that sound absurd and borderline unsafe? Sure!
Is it a very possible thing that could happen in the relatively near future? You betcha!
Social media firms make ETF push [Reuters]