Venice residents call for Snapchat boycott days after IPO wraps up

Venice activists are calling on local residents to pull any support for their controversial, newly publicly-traded neighbor, Snap, Inc.

Backers of the newly formed Alliance for the Preservation of Venice are asking residents to delete the company’s popular messaging app Snapchat and refrain from buying its stock. While its three founders are now billionaires from the IPO, Venice residents are seeing their rents and home prices double and triple, the Alliance says.

Snap owns more than a dozen boardwalk properties, which comprise its global headquarters.

“Seventeen storefront properties have been converted from colorful stores or homes, into cold office property,” one member of the Alliance told the Santa Monica Observer. “No one outside of Snap Inc. even knows what goes on inside them. Security guards now turn shoppers and locals like you and me, away from the entrances.”

Another protestor agreed: “They won’t be transparent with them about what their plans are with all these properties,” he said. “It’s one thing if it’s artists and developers turning properties into lofts. But this is one company single handedly screwing up the community and forcing mom and pops and residents out of their homes and businesses.”

Median home prices in Venice nearly doubled between 2012 and the end of 2016, making the neighborhood the third fastest growing submarket in L.A., according to data from Zillow.

Meanwhile, shares of Snap have fallen about 10 percent from their highest post-IPO levels. Many analysts predict they will drop to even lower levels, MarketWatch reported.

“Snap only made a few people a lot of money,” Ross Gerber, CEO of a Venice-based investment firm, told MarketWatch. “Snap has no path to profitability at all.”

By Cathaleen Chen
March 13, 2017

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