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Snap will be a serious competitor to Facebook and Google, says investor

  • Advertisers are recognizing Snap as an ad platform of scale alongside Google and Facebook, says Bill Ford, General Atlantic CEO.
  • Snap's ability to monetize is one of the reasons investors are confident in the company, he says.
  • Ford also thinks that despite all the problems Uber has had recently, CEO Travis Kalanick will be fine.
William Ford, chief executive officer of General Atlantic LLC, speaks during the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California, on Monday, May 1, 2017.
Patrick T. Fallon | Bloomberg | Getty Images
William Ford, chief executive officer of General Atlantic LLC, speaks during the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California, on Monday, May 1, 2017.

Snap will join the ranks of Facebook and Google in importance in the eyes of "serious advertisers," Bill Ford, CEO of General Atlantic, told CNBC on Wednesday.

In his first TV interview ever, Ford — whose private equity firm has $19.6 billion under management — told "Squawk Alley" that if Snap continues to grow its user base at its current rate the company will soon be on the same playing field as Google and Facebook. (General Atlantic has ownership stakes in Snap, Uber and Airbnb, among others.)

"What you're starting to see is serious advertisers are recognizing Snap as an ad platform of scale alongside Google and Facebook, and [advertisers] want a third alternative," he said.

Ford said recent investment from advertisers is a sign Snap is on the right track. "One data point last week that I think is worth knowing about is WPP more than doubling their ad commitment to Snap this year, from under $100 million to under $200 million," said Ford.

Snap's ability to monetize is one of the reasons he's confident in the company. "We're big believers in the company, so we'll be in there for a while."

Still, Ford says the company will need to show revenue to maintain investor confidence. "They'll announce earnings next week; we'll see how their first quarter went," said Ford.

Ford also said that despite all the problems Uber has had recently, CEO Travis Kalanick will be fine.

"We've seen it over years and years, and I think Travis has learned some very challenging lessons," Ford said. "But the good news is he is learning. I think he's taken good counsel from his board and some of his investors, and he's got our confidence," Ford said. "I think he'll do great things."