Who Is Evan Spiegel?
Born in 1990 in Los Angeles, California, Evan Spiegel is the co-founder and CEO of Snap Inc., the parent company of Snapchat. Spiegel developed the idea for the popular photo- and video-sharing app while attending Stanford University, alongside former fraternity brother Bobby Murphy. Initially named Picaboo and released in 2011, the app gained steam the following winter, eventually making its co-founders billionaires when Snap went public in early 2017. Spiegel is also known for his marriage to Australian supermodel Miranda Kerr.
What Is Evan Spiegel's Net Worth?
Entering 2018, Spiegel was estimated to be worth $3.2 billion by Forbes, based on his 18 percent ownership in the company he co-founded.
That marked a significant dropoff from when Snap went public in March 2017. At the time, Snap closed its first day of trading at $24.48 per share, up 44 percent from its IPO price, and Spiegel was subsequently rewarded with 37 million additional shares, pushing his net worth to approximately $5.5 billion.
Marriage to Miranda Kerr
Spiegel's smashing success with Snapchat enabled him to enjoy the trappings of a rock star lifestyle, which included romancing Australian supermodel Miranda Kerr. Engaged in July 2016, they bought a home together in the ritzy L.A. neighborhood of Brentwood later that year, and were married in its backyard in May 2017.
Kerr is an enthusiastic supporter of her husband's company: She used Snapchat-owned Bitmojis to embellish the announcement of their engagement on Instagram, and later slammed Facebook for "steal[ing] all of my partner's ideas." In November 2017, Kerr announced that she and Spiegel were expecting their first child.
Snapchat Founding at Stanford
At Stanford, Evan Spiegel joined the Kappa Sigma fraternity, where he met future Snapchat CTO Bobby Murphy. The two collaborated on other projects, at one point putting together a college admissions website called Future Freshmen, before abandoning the effort.
In the spring of 2011, another Kappa Sigma brother, Reggie Brown, remarked how he wished there was a way to send disappearing photos. Spiegel siezed on the idea, and the two recruited the already-graduated Murphy to join the project.
That summer, the three camped out at Spiegel's home in Pacific Palisades, building a business through designated roles: Spiegel as CEO and designer, Murphy as CTO and developer and Brown as chief marketing officer. In July, they debuted an early version of Snapchat, then called Picaboo, an app that allowed users to send photos that quickly disappeared, revealing and then erasing evidence of illicit activities.
By August, the initial promise of the project had given way to infighting; Spiegel and Murphy ousted Brown, moving forward with the newly renamed Snapchat. Sales were modest that fall, but something clicked into place by winter, with the app recording 20,000 users in January 2012, before ramping up to 100,000 in April. The surge in demand brought a huge increase in server bills, but the founders were bailed out by a $485,000 investment from Lightspeed Venture Partners in May. Spiegel subsequently dropped out of Stanford, a few weeks shy of graduation.
Snapchat Ups and Downs
The sky seemed to be the limit for Snapchat in the months before going public. Rebranded as Snap Inc. in September 2016, the company unveiled its camera-equipped Spectacles two months later, and disclosed a revenue of more than $400 million for the year.
However, the company failed to meet expectations for quarterly earnings after going public in March 2017, dropping its stock price below $12 per share by August. The dropoff was partly due to stiff competition from rivals like Facebook, which had copied Stories and other Snapchat features, and to the inevitable diminished enthusiasm for its once-novel capabilities.
Late in the year, Spiegel announced that Snap would meet the challenges by introducing new algorithmic filtering for content, and by continuing to develop innovative products such as its recently unveiled augmented reality lenses.
'No Thanks' to Zuckerberg
In the fall of 2013, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg reportedly offered to buy Snapchat for $3 billion. Most valuations pegged the company at a significantly lower worth at the time, and despite standing to gain some $750 million apiece from the deal, its co-founders rejected the offer.
"There are very few people in the world who get to build a business like this," Spiegel told Forbes afterward. "I think trading that for some short-term gain isn’t very interesting."
As was the case with Facebook, once Snapchat showed signs of developing into a major tech company, a jilted contributor came back for his share of the pie. In February 2013, Reggie Brown filed a lawsuit on the grounds that he shared rights to the intellectual property being developed by Spiegel and Murphy. Among his claims, Brown said that the company was built on his idea, and that he had contributed its signature ghost logo.
Although a letter from Snapchat lawyers to Brown referred to his legal action as a "transparent attempt to shakedown Mr. Spiegel and Mr. Murphy for a share in a company to which you contributed nothing," the two sides in September 2014 agreed to a settlement of $157.5 million for Brown.
Evan Thomas Spiegel was born on June 4, 1990, in Los Angeles, California. The oldest child of two successful lawyers, he was raised in tony Pacific Palisades, enjoying membership at private clubs and family vacations to Europe, the Bahamas and Maui.
A shy, nerdy kid, Spiegel bonded with faculty types like his sixth-grade computer teacher, who helped him build his own model from scratch. He came out of his shell as he matured into his teen years, becoming a party promoter through an internship with Red Bull. Spiegel also began developing the negotiation skills that would serve him well in the business world: After his parents divorced in 2007, he hounded his father for a new BMW, before going to live with his mother when she agreed to lease the car.
Although he wasn't the best student at the Crossroads School for Arts and Sciences, Spiegel had become adept as a graphic designer, enabling him to follow in his father's footsteps by earning acceptance to Stanford University in 2008.
- Name: Evan Spiegel
- Birth Year: 1990
- Birth date: June 4, 1990
- Birth State: California
- Birth City: Los Angeles
- Gender: Male
- Best Known For: Evan Spiegel is the co-founder and CEO of Snap Inc., named for its flagship product, the photo- and video-sharing app Snapchat.
- Astrological Sign: Gemini
- Standford University
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- Article Title: Evan Spiegel Biography
- Author: Biography.com Editors
- Website Name: The Biography.com website
- Url: https://www.biography.com/business-leaders/evan-spiegel
- Access Date:
- Publisher: A&E; Television Networks
- Last Updated: September 9, 2022
- Original Published Date: January 8, 2018
- I am a young, white, educated male. I got really, really lucky. And life isn't fair.
- I do believe that people understand the difference between imagination, art and information. And I think there’s a lot of work we can do as technologists to make that distinction more clear.
- You can't build a business off sexting.