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Snapchat Raises $13.5M Series A Led By Benchmark, Now Sees 60M Snaps Sent Per Day

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Snapchat, the impermanent messaging app that won “Fastest Rising Startup” at the 2012 Crunchies, has finalized a $13.5 million Series A round led by Benchmark’s Mitch Lasky.

According to The New York Times, Snapchat is now valued between $60 and $70 million. In December, GigaOm’s Om Malik reported that Snapchat was raising an $8 million round from Benchmark at roughly a $50 million valuation; and our own Eric Eldon wrote that Snapchat was raising a Series A “north of $10 million” at a rough $70 million valuation, led by Lasky.

Snapchat co-founder Evan Spiegel confirmed the funding to me, and noted that the company now sees 60 million snaps sent per day, and users have sent over 5 billion snaps in total. The company has hired five new employees, bringing the total staff to 10, and has moved to a new office in Venice Beach, CA.

Spiegel tells me the company will use the funding for “hiring and servers, definitely. But most importantly, it allows us to remain independent and continue to grow the Snapchat community.”

The Times also reported that Mark Zuckerberg met with the Snapchat team in December, shortly before Facebook launched carbon copy competitor Poke.

Snapchat previously raised $485,000 from Lightspeed Venture Partners.

“I started hearing Snapchat in the same context as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook,” Lasky said to The Times, echoing Barry Eggers’ sentiments when he was involved in Lightspeed’s investment. “That got me curious.”

Update: Lasky has posted about Snapchat on his personal blog, explaining that he will be joining the company’s board of directors along with Spiegel and co-founder Bobby Murphy.

“At Benchmark we search for entrepreneurs who want to change the world, and Evan and Bobby certainly have that ambition. We believe that Snapchat can become one of the most important mobile companies in the world, and Snapchat’s initial momentum — 60 million shared “snaps” per day, over 5 billion sent through the service to date — supports that belief. Snapchat’s ramp reminded us of another mobile app Benchmark had the good fortune to back at an early stage: Instagram.”

Lasky also noted that he spent most of his career in LA, where Snapchat’s offices are.

Correction: A previous version of this story stated that Barry Eggers led Lightspeed’s investment; in fact, Jeremy Liew led the investment.