All Founders Stories

Evan Spiegel

Co-Founder, CEO at Snap Inc.

buildd tags

Started on the side Doesn't code

Quick stats

$6.5B Net wealth 34 Yrs Age 2011 Year of founding


2011-Present CEO & Co-Founder, Snap Inc


Dropped, Stanford University

Personal Information

Partner Miranda Kerr Children 2 Parents Melissa Ann Thomas, John W. Spiegel

College Projects

Evan Spiegel's childhood was luxurious, as both his parents were wealthy lawyers. He eventually got into Stanford to study Product Design, and it was here that Spiegel met his eventual co-founder Bobby Murphy in 2009. At the time, Evan Spiegel was a freshman and Murphy was a junior studying Math and Computational Science. Their first side project was a site that aimed to improve the way high school students applied to college, but it failed to get traction. While working on it, they had come to realise that they made a good team.‍

The Spark

In April 2011, Evan Spiegel and Bob Murphy decided to build an app in the not-yet-lucrative world of mobile photo sharing. The original idea for it, though, was from Reggie Brown, Spiegel's fraternity mate. Since most of the photo apps at the time were advertising ways to make photos prettier or more stylized, they realised the need to do something different. "We wanted a place to share awkward selfies and funny photos with our friends." Spiegel writes, in his first blog post about how Snapchat was founded.

The Build

Spiegel and his small team quickly got the first prototype up and running, and continued to develop it throughout the following summer. In July 2011, they launched the app as Picaboo on the AppStore. It didn't do so well initially, and they found out why: they realised that screenshots could be taken by other users, defeating the app's main purpose. Hence, they built a notification to make users aware if someone took a screenshot of their disappearing photo.‍

Becoming 'cool'

They then rebranded as Snapchat and re-launched in September 2011. To get a better sense of how people were using the app and to make it better, Evan Spiegel reached out to some of their users and found that most of the users were high school students. Hence, Spiegel made Snapchat focus on the app's technological innovations more than branding and marketing to make the experience more organic and 'cool'. In October 2012, Snapchat for Android was launched. Within a year, they had gone viral. By December, Snapchat users were sending 50 million snaps a day.


You'll love these stories too!

Luis von Ahn

Luis von Ahn

Luis von Ahn Started on the side Does code
Narayana Murthy

Narayana Murthy

Narayana Murthy Started on the side Doesn't code

Check out these failed startup stories!



Social Media