Snapchat founders Bobby Murphy and Evan Spiegel

Since two Stanford undergrads unveiled Snapchat in late 2011, there’s been much hand-wringing about teens using the mobile app – which features self-destructing photographs – to send naughty pictures to one another.

Well, Snapchat appears to have grown up significantly with Monday’s announcement that Institutional Venture Partners has led a Series B investment round in the Venice Beach startup. IVP officials confirm via e-mail that the deal was for $60 million and valued the company at $800 million. And they apparently aren’t concerned that the service has yet to make any money.

Snapchat founders Bobby Murphy and Evan Spiegel

It’s party time for Snapchat’s fresh-faced founders, Bobby Murphy and Evan Spiegel (and the company’s ghostly mascot)

In a blog post, IVP’s Dennis Phelps said the deal – which also included  Benchmark Capital, General Catalyst, Lightspeed Ventures and SV Angel - was “one of the most competitive financings we have been a part of in years.” With 200 million messages sent every day, the investors seem confident  Snapchat will figure out a way to make money. “Think Twitter,  think Instagram, think Pinterest,” Phelps gushed.

Snapchat also announced that Michael Lynton, the head of Sony Entertainment, has joined its board. Clearly, the grownups are interested in what the kids have been cooking up in the basement. Phelps, for his part, predicts that with its deep hooks in the desirable ‘tween demographic, Snapchat could become “the first multi-billion dollar, venture-backed success story in SoCal in over a decade.”

Peter Delevett Peter Delevett (184 Posts)

Peter Delevett covers startups and venture capital for the San Jose Mercury News. He's been a journalist in Silicon Valley since the dot-com daze.