Snapchat, Snap

As it gears up for an initial public offering in the US, Snap Inc has decided to make the UK its official home away from home and declared it in pride of place as its international headquarters. In an email to TechCrunch, a spokeswoman confirmed,

I am happy to confirm that the UK is the Snap Inc. Family’s hub outside of the U.S.

News of the move was first covered by the Financial Times. Brexit fears disappear as quickly as Snapchat selfies themselves, with the company continuing an aggressive push to hit up to $1 billion in sales for 2017. The UK was picked to bat for the international base team mainly because that’s where its advertising clients and roughly 10 million of its international content creators are snapping, according to a company spokeswoman. The news follows from a steady increase in UK staff over the past two years, with

The news follows from a steady increase in UK staff over the past two years, with Snap increasing its headcount from a skeleton crew of 6 to a staff of 75 as of January 2017.

However, as the EU and the US both look to come down hard on resourceful tax dodgers, Snap may not be so much of a model for modern corporate munificence as much as the vibe of a late entrant careening through the pitfalls on a path laid out by other earlier trailblazers into the UK and Europe.

In the UK, Snap group Ltd. (the company’s operating entity) will book revenue from sales made to UK customers. And in countries where there’s no local entity or salesforce, customers will be served by the UK staff and Snap also will book those international sales through its UK entity, with prominent examples being the Snapchat teams in France, Australia, Canada and Saudi Arabia.

The company’s headquarters are slated to be in London’s entertainment and advertising hub in Soho, with the team there being led by general manager Claire Valoti — a former Mindshare and Facebook exec.

Europe makes up approximately one-third of the over 150 million daily active users on Snapchat, with Snap’s move to Europe speaking powerfully of the growing maturity of the social media company even as it prepares for an initial public offering that could value the company at as much as $25 billion.

Whatever the move signifies, it is certainly an unusual one among top US tech companies. Apple, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter, Uber, and others have chosen the UK’s neighbors, such as Ireland, the Netherlands or Luxembourg as their European base to capitalize on their lower-tax regimes. Valoti, who will be leading the team in the UK, said,

We believe in the UK creative industries. The UK is where our advertising clients are, where more than 10m daily Snapchatters are, and where we’ve already begun to hire talent.

Snap is putting its affairs in order ahead of plans to go public as early as March. Cashing in the anticipated valuation of $25 bn will make it the first of a new generation of so-called deca-unicorns — private technology startups with valuations over $10bn — to test the public markets.

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