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Fortune. Earlier this month Snapchat raised $175 million in fresh funding from Fidelity Investments and other investors at a $16 billion valuation. The investment was an extension of Snapchat’s Series F financing round, which the company began raising last year. Bitstrips was founded in 2007 to help users build personalized digital comics, giving users “a way to interact online that’s more visual, personal and fun than traditional text and images.” In 2014 the company refocused on customized and shareable cartoon avatars. Users download an app, and then pick from a variety of face shapes, skin colors, and other features that often result in eerily accurate portrayals. These “bitmojis” then can be put into various different poses or with different accessories, and are readily accessible for mobile communications. Bitstrips, co-founded by Jacob Blackstock (CEO), David Kennedy (VP Technology), Shahan Panth (VP Marketing) and Dorian Baldwin (Lead Developer), had previously raised $11 million from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and Horizons Ventures Ltd., controlled by Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing. At $16 billion, Snapchat is the sixth most highly valued venture-backed company in the world, tied with Chinese ride-hailing company Didi Kuaidi. Snapchat was founded in 2011 by Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy, when they were students at Stanford University. It is headquartered at a beachfront property in Venice, Calif. The startup’s investors include Alibaba, Prince Alwaleed’s Kingdom Holding, Yahoo, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Tencent, Benchmark and other premier investors, but it has yet to prove that it can be profitable.]]>