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Snap explains to investors why it's a camera company, not an app

A monitor illustrates how a customer will look wearing Snapchat Spectacles by Snap Inc. while making a purchase at the company's pop-up store in New York, U.S., on Monday, Dec. 5, 2016.
Saul Martinez | Bloomberg | Getty Images
A monitor illustrates how a customer will look wearing Snapchat Spectacles by Snap Inc. while making a purchase at the company's pop-up store in New York, U.S., on Monday, Dec. 5, 2016.

Snap wants investors not to think of it as a popular app, but a company using the camera to change the way people talk to each other.

"We believe that reinventing the camera represents our greatest opportunity to improve the way that people live and communicate," the company said in its prospectus. "Our products empower people to express themselves, live in the moment, learn about the world, and have fun together."

Snap unveiled its roadshow materials on Friday, ahead of its planned IPO in March. The company expects shares to sell for $14 to $16 each, valuing it between $19.5 billion to $22.2 billion.

In the video, Snap co-founder and CEO Evan Spiegel explained that initially many users didn't understand the appeal of an app where all the photos would disappear. People eventually realized that disappearing images allowed people to be freer to express themselves in the moment, he said.

"Rather than carry around all this baggage of everything you've done, you can be a new person, you can change," Snap co-founder and CEO Evan Spiegel said in company's roadshow video.

Without naming competitors, Spiegel said Snapchat's content isn't about presenting a curated life but a more immediate way to talk to others.

"Self-expression isn't a contest," Spiegel said. "It's not about how well you can express yourself. It's about being able to communicate how you feel and doing that in the moment."