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The future of Snapchat: in-app purchases and advertising loom large following $800m valuation

Photo and video messaging app Snapchat has raised $60 million (£38.9m) in venture capital funding.

Led by International Venture Partners (IVP), General Catalyst Partners, and Benchmark Capital, the funding round valued Snapchat at a whopping $800 million (£518.3m), despite the Californian startup having no revenue stream as yet.

However, according to IVP general partner Dennis Phelps, Snapchat is one of the most promising consumer-facing apps out there.

"It's no secret that Snapchat has yet to turn on its monetization engine. Despite this fact, the financing was intensely competitive – one of the most competitive financings we have been a part of in years," Phelps wrote on the IVP blog.

He continued: "The growth and engagement metrics are off the charts. Seldom have we seen a consumer application with this type of user momentum and excitement. Think Twitter...Think Instagram...Think Pinterest...and Snapchat is just getting started."

Speaking to TechCrunch, Snapchat co-founder and CEO Evan Spiegel confirmed that the company will be implementing a monetisation strategy, adding that in-app purchasing and native advertising were two areas of particular interest.

"In-app transactions will come first. We think we can build really cool stuff people want to pay for. The app is now a part of everyone's day-to-day lives. That means that they will — I at least would — pay for a more unique experience," Spiegel said.

In addition, Snapchat has rolled out a new feature for its iOS app, dubbed SnapKidz, which will allow under-13s to take photos and shoot videos through the app, but not send or receive content.

Prior to the SnapKidz sandbox, under-13s were officially barred from Snapchat, though in practice it's thought that many simply signed up using a false age.

Snapchat was founded in 2011. In February 2013, it received $13.5 million (£8.7m) in Series A funding and was valued at between $60 million and $70 million (£39m and £45.5m).

In April, it was reported that Snapchat was besting Instagram with 150 million images shared every day.