Since its creation in 2011, Snapchat has quickly become one of the most popular and widely-used social media platforms in the world. But who owns this billion-dollar company?
It may be easy to assume that all social media giants have one CEO, but Snapchat is not a standalone company. Snapchat is owned by a Social Media company called Snap Inc, founded in 2011 by software engineers and entrepreneurs Evan Spiegel, Bobby Murphy, and Reggie Brown. Together they share ownership of the app.
The meteoric rise of Snapchat and the success of its founders is well documented.
Snap Inc was founded in 2011, after co-owners Spiegel, Murphy and Brown all met while studying at Stanford University. They had previously worked together on a start-up intended to help potential students with the university application process.
They soon abandoned the idea in favor of a superior concept, proposed by Reggie Brown, of an app that could send pictures and messages that would disappear after the receiver viewed them. This was where Snapchat would be born.
To workshop their new app fully, the trio formed the company Snapchat Inc, later renamed Snap Inc in 2016.
The Beginnings of Snapchat
Snapchat originally began as an app called Picaboo, in 2011. The three Snap inc. owners wanted to create an app that would allow sent messages to ‘disappear’, which was the primary purpose of the new program.
Picaboo received very little attention on its initial release, but that would soon change. The Snap Inc. founders would focus on a total rehaul of the product’s image, both through branding and technological innovation.
In September of the same year, the app name was changed from Picaboo to the now internationally recognizable Snapchat. Snap Inc. decided to focus its marketing on the technological aspects of the app rather than branding, and this refreshing approach would lead to considerable success.
Within a year of the app’s release, and after launching video capabilities and becoming available to Android users in the Google Play store, Snapchat was now seeing a massive increase in users, with more than 20 million snaps being sent per day.
The Reign of Snapchat
Today, Snapchat is known as one of the most popular social media platforms in the world. It has gained a stunning amount of users considering its relatively young age, with its only competitor being the equally popular Instagram, and it’s feature Instagram Stories.
As of July 2020, there were more than 229 million active daily users of the app worldwide, with a 20.5% increase since the previous year. Over 210 snaps are sent by users in a single day, with total snaps still increasing exponentially.
The app is widely used by younger demographics, with polls indicating that a whopping 69% of 13-17-year-olds signed up to the app, along with 62% of 18-29-year-olds. Studies also show that the average user is accessing the app more than 20 times a day.
The Creators of Snapchat
Snapchat and its mother company, Snap Inc, were founded in 2011 by Stanford University alumni Evan Spiegel, Bobby Murphy, and Reggie Brown. Spiegel and Murphy now have a combined voting power of 95%, with each founder’s share being transferable to the other upon their death or retirement.
Evan Spiegel has the highest celebrity profile of the three Snapchat founders. This is largely due to his rather public relationship with famous supermodel Miranda Kerr.
The couple met at the Museum of Modern Art in 2015, and have been married since May 2017. They have 2 children together, Hart Kerr and Myles Spiegel. Spiegel currently sits at number 161 on the Forbes 400 list of the richest people in America.
You can learn more about Spiegel’s life in the Youtube video below.
Bobby Murphy is a little more lowkey than his current business partner, but currently sits 12 places higher than Spiegel on the Forbes 400 list, at number 148. Murphy currently heads the engineering and research teams at Snap Inc, as the chief technology officer.
Though Snapchat was originally the brainchild of Brown, he would be ousted from the company within a few months of the company’s creation, due to irreconcilable differences with his fellow co-founders. He would later file a lawsuit in 2013 against Spiegel and Brown for being “kicked out” of the company.
Brown would receive a settlement of almost $158 million between 2013 and 2018. Since then he has lived largely away from the limelight compared to his two co-founders.