The Inside Story of Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel

The Origin of Snapchat

A multi-billion dollar company may seem like the last thing that would be conceived at a Frat party, but for Snapchat CEO, Evan Spiegel this is exactly what happened. As proof that ingenious ideas can pop up anywhere, CEO and co-founder Spiegel initially imagined his app after drinking six beers.



Spiegel and his fellow co-founders Robert Murphy and Reggie Brown, met when they were all studying at Stanford University. The trio bonded over beers and a shared love of design, technology and mathematics. They went on to develop an app – Picaboo - that allowed users to send a photo to a recipient that would delete itself after just 10 seconds (a concept most of the world is now very familiar with).

Initially a flop, they rebranded the app as Snapchat in 2011 and it immediately took off.

From school project to global success in just 4 years, Snapchat has acquired an impressive net worth and currently ranks in the top 10 most popularly used apps in the world. As of March 2017, Snapchat has a valuation of $24 billion and has floated on the US stock market.

Snapchat plays an integral role in millions of users’ lives and it appears as though it will do so for many years to come.

Background and Industry Experience

With a strong background in Product Design - thanks to his studies at Stanford University - as well as summer classes at the Art Center College of Design; good fortune was written in the stars for Spiegel.

His internships at Red Bull and biomedical company Abraxis BioScience in Cape Town have helped to shape him into the Internet entrepreneur you see today.

Evan decided to leave Stanford in 2012 to focus on what was originally a school project named Picaboo, this move was an incredibly risky one, especially as Evan was only just a few credits short of graduating.

Despite being derived from the exact same idea as Snapchat – where you can send photo and video messages that are deleted shortly after arrival – this initial app failed to entice and gain traction.

But this did not deter Evan.

In fact, he and his co-founders were so certain of the capabilities of their app, that they took Picaboo, rebranded it and launched it only a year later - under the new name Snapchat – and it is now considered the go-to medium of a generation.

As of March 2017, the app is used by some of the biggest names on the planet, and with the help of a Kardashian/Jenner or two the number of people using the app has reached over 200 million.

The Value of Snapchat and Spiegel

Used in branding, advertisements, and by millions of young people across the globe to communicate; Snapchat is undoubtedly a financial success, especially following Facebook’s $3 billion bid in 2013 to buy them out.

Despite the temptations of this offer, Evan stuck to his guns and said no to selling his creation. And who can blame him?

As you read, more than 200 million people are using this free app EVERY SINGLE DAY and the number is still growing.

Snapchat is now valued at a staggering $24 billion. In May 2015 alone, it raised $538 million in new funding and it is believed to have shared more than 15 billion images during the last 3 years.

Bearing all this in mind, it is clear why Evan is considered the 10th Richest Entrepreneur under 40 in America, is ranked 327 in Forbes 400 (2015) and holds the title of being the 99th richest person in Tech.

Spiegel as a Leader and Entrepreneur

Evan is currently sitting pretty on a very respectable 80% approval rating on Glassdoor.

At just 26 years old, he is proof that with a little bit of determination and passion, you can successfully take an idea from conception and transform it into a profitable start-up - no matter your age or background.

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