Snap's (NYSE: SNAP) first day as a publicly traded stock was a smashing success. After its IPO price was set at $17, the company's shares rose by 44% on the day to close at $24.48 per share.

Snap's stock market debut is the highest-profile, and most expensive, IPO so far this year; it well eclipses the previous No. 1, Invitation Homes, which came to market in January. And with its share pop, Snap has at one stroke reached a value close to that of many famous names on the exchange. Its closing price gives it a market capitalization of over $28 billion, comparable to companies such as Target and CBS.

Snap is the owner of Snapchat, a short video and image messaging service popular with young users. As per the long-standing tradition of tech IPOs, the company has posted explosive revenue growth, but remains deeply in the red on the bottom line. In 2016, the company booked a loss of nearly $515 million on revenue of $404 million; those figures for 2015 were almost $373 million and just under $59 million, respectively.

In its IPO prospectus, the company said that on average, in the final quarter of 2016, its service had 158 million daily average users. Collectively, these people created 2.5 billion "Snaps" on a daily basis. That DAU count was up from 143 million at the end of June.

The company's IPO was a major undertaking. It sold 200 million shares in the issue, which was underwritten by big-time financiers such as Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase unit J.P. Morgan, and Deutsche Bank.

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Eric Volkman has no position in any stocks mentioned.

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