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​Snapchat funding hunt could lead to $19b valuation: Reports

Reports have emerged that Snapchat is seeking a new round of venture capital-backed funding, which could see it valued at $19 billion.

Photo-sharing and messaging app Snapchat is on the hunt for a new round of funding that could see the company's total valuation hit $19 billion, according to reports.

Bloomberg Business said in an article on Wednesday that the company's move to claim another round of funding had been revealed by "a person close to the matter". The company wants to raise as much as $500 million, said the source.

If the potential funding round is completed, it would make Snapchat the third most valuable venture-backed company in the world, the report said, behind only ride-share app developer Uber and Chinese smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi, according to CB Insights data.

The Los Angeles-based messaging app provider was reportedly valued at $10 billion as recently as January this year, after closing a $486 million round of funding, which was quietly disclosed in a regulatory filing on New Year's Eve last year.

In 2013, Snapchat's co-founders Evan Spiegel, who is also CEO, and Bobby Murphy both received $10 million in secondary funding as individual shareholders on top of a $60 million Series B fundraising round.

In December the same year, the company received a $50 million cash injection from a mystery investor in a Series C funding round.

Also in late 2013, the company turned down a $3 billion takeover offer from Facebook, with the social media giant instead snapping up fellow messaging platform WhatsApp in February last year for $19 billion.

Given that Snapchat's potential $19 billion valuation is on par with the amount that Facebook paid for WhatsApp, it seems unlikely that Spiegel and Murphy harbour any regrets about turning down the offer from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.

As of May last year -- almost three years since its 2011 launch -- the platform's users were sending up to 700 million photos and videos per day.

Despite Snapchat's swift growth, however, it hasn't all been smooth sailing for Spiegel and Murphy, with the company coming up against the United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) after it pulled the messaging platform's operator up over the nature of its "disappearing" messages, or "snaps".

The FTC said that Snapchat had "deceived consumers with promises about the disappearing nature of messages sent through the service", and that "Snapchat also deceived consumers over the amount of personal data it collected and the security measures taken to protect that data from misuse and unauthorised disclosure".

In January, the US agency settled its final charges against Snapchat, with the company agreeing to revise its privacy policy and submit to monitoring by an independent privacy service for the next 20 years.