Before, the company was privately held, meaning there was no public market to buy and sell Snap shares.
By at least one measure, Snap had a more expensive IPO than several other big recent tech IPOs, according to Fortune's Lucinda Shen. Analysts had expected a price of $14 to $16 per share.
Facebook's IPO in 2012 at $38 per share valued the company at $104 billion (it's now worth almost $400 billion). It priced 200 million shares at 17, above the high end of its estimated range and the largest US -listed IPO since Facebook came public in 2012 and Alibaba in September 2014.
Co-founders CEO Evan Spiegel and CTO Bobby Murphy rang the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange, where the shares will trade under the ticker symbol SNAP. At that price, it has a market value of about US$20 billion, based on 1.16 billion shares outstanding after the IPO.
In the meantime, Snap's growth as a company had stalled thanks to the rise of Snapchat-like features from competitors Instagram and Whatsapp.
The price is higher than Snap had originally predicted, indicating that the company is seeing great demand for its initial public offering. The firm was the second on Wall Street to initiate on the hot IPO with a sell rating following Pivotal Research Group earlier Thursday. Snap, by the way, lost more than half a billion past year. That hesitancy may be explained by the investors' lack of awareness of the company - 64 percent said they do not have a Snapchat account.
"A pertinent point in the company's S1 filing for the IPO is that it doesn't call itself a messaging service, but a camera company".
Snap argues its value is in the length of time its users spend on the app, as well as the revenue opportunities that will arise through the growing trend of young people using video to interact with each other instead of text.
Snapchat averaged 158 million daily active users for the fourth quarter of 2016, an increase of 48 per cent year over year but up only three per cent sequentially from 153 million in the third quarter.
Evan Rodriguez, a 20-year old student at Abilene Christian University in Texas, used to send snaps of amusing stuff he saw throughout the day, just as his friends did.
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