While Instagram is dealing with its parent company Facebook's ($FB) constant battle with privacy and fake news as Snapchat ($SNAP) scrambles to find (and therefore keeping) independent content creators, an image messaging app from South Korea has emerged as a worthy competitor.

SNOW ($PRIVATE:SNOWME) was once considered a Snapchat clone when it first launched in 2016. But it now has more augmented reality filters, a popular GIF maker similar to Instagram's Boomerang feature, and features stories that last 72-hours (as compared to Snapchat's 24-hour stories).

When SNOW launched, it had 30 million users in Asia. Today, it ranks among the top-100 apps in terms of Monthly Active Users via Facebook logins, putting it above killer apps such as Words With Friends ($ZNGA), Netflix ($NFLX), and Venmo ($PYPL).

Name Monthly Active Users Rank (as of 1/7/19)
Uber 84
Goodreads 86
letgo 88
Bumble 95
OLX: Buy & Sell near you 110
Words With Friends 112
Netflix 117
Groupon 118
Venmo 123
Strava 124
Poshmark 136
Shazam 153
MyFitnessPal 158

On the Apple ($AAPL) App Store, SNOW has had a consistent 4.5 rating since October 27. That's far better than Snapchat's 2.5 rating, although Snapchat does have about a million more ratings than SNOW.

SNOW recently got a $50 million investment from SoftBank and Sequioa China with a promise to further develop its augmented reality and facial recognition software. It also has partnered with mega-popular K-Pop groups BTS and Twice, giving the bands filters on its platform.

Although Snapchat and Facebook are publically traded and have plenty of capital behind it, SNOW is acting as a scrappy, young, and nimble competitor to the old guards of Instagram and Snapchat. And, if it continues strong funding and differentiating itself from the pack by learning from its' competitors missteps, it could be the next big social network of the digital age.

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