Featured Profiles

The Anecdote Of A Self Made Billionaire

Evan Thomas Spiegel is an American Businessman and the Co-Founder & CEO of the American social media company Snap Inc., which he created with Bobby Murphy and Reggie Brown. Spiegel was named the Youngest Billionaire in the World in 2015. He is viewed by many as a dedicated product visionary and tech genius who knows exactly what young people want.


Who is Evan Spiegel?

Born in 1990 in Los Angeles, California, Evan Spiegel led a luxurious life with his parents working as well-to-do lawyers. He is the Co-Founder and CEO of Snap Inc., the Parent Company of Snapchat.


He got into Stanford to study Product Design. He soon met Murphy, a junior studying Math and Computational Science while Spiegel was a freshman. They began experimenting trying to create apps. Their first side project was a site that aimed to improve and make the process of applying to college effortless for high school students, but it failed to get traction. However, some good did come out of it as they realized that they made a good team.


The original idea for Snapchat was by Reggie Brown, Spiegel’s fraternity mate. Since most of the photo apps were advertising ways to make photos prettier or more stylized, they realized the need to do something different. “We wanted a place to share awkward selfies and funny photos with our friends.” Spiegel wrote, in his first blog post about how Snapchat was founded.


That summer, the three locked themselves at Spiegel’s home in Pacific Palisades. They focused on building a business through designated roles: Spiegel as CEO and Designer, Murphy as CTO and Developer and Brown as Chief Marketing Officer. In July 2011, they debuted an early version of Snapchat, then called Picaboo, an app that allowed users to send photos that quickly disappeared.


The project’s initial promise gave way to fights amongst them; Spiegel and Murphy finally decided to let Brown go. They then went ahead with the newly renamed Snapchat. Sales were decent that fall, but by winter, the app recorded 20,000 users in January 2012, before ramping up to 100,000 in April. The surge in demand brought a considerable increase in server bills, but a $485,000 investment bailed out the founders from Lightspeed Venture Partners in May. Spiegel subsequently dropped out of Stanford, a few weeks shy of graduation.


They rebranded as Snap Inc. in September 2016. The company then unveiled its new camera-equipped Spectacles two months later and earned more than $400 million for the year.


However, the company soon found itself in a tight spot as it failed to meet its expectations for quarterly earnings after going public in March 2017. Their stock price dropped below $12 per share by August. The drop off was partly due to cut-throat competition from rivals like Facebook, that had mimicked their story feature amongst others.


Spiegel then found a way to make the company bounce back and announced that Snap would meet the challenges by introducing new algorithmic filtering for content and developing innovative products such as its recently unveiled augmented reality lenses.


The app soon became popular the following winter, eventually making its Co-Founders Billionaires when Snap went public in early 2017. Its ever-increasing popularity made it possible for them to have almost 150 million snaps per day. They didn’t stop growing, nor did they stop innovating. The next big thing to come was the ‘stories’. The disappearing stories lasted for 24 hours and were a hit.


Snapchat’s massive fame and recognition can be seen by the fact that just two years after its launch, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg tried to acquire it for $3 billion, but Spiegel refused. By 2015, Snapchat witnessed the most significant growth among social media and messaging apps.


Personal Life

Spiegel began dating supermodel Miranda Kerr during summer, 2015. They were first introduced at a 2014 dinner for Louis Vuitton. In May 2016, the couple purchased a 7,164-square-foot house owned by Harrison Ford for $12 million. A short while later, the power couple announced that they were engaged in July 2016.


The 29-year old, Evan Spiegel was named the youngest billionaire in the World in 2015. According to Forbes, he has an estimated net worth of around $2.1 billion as of March 2020. He is ranked number 225 in the Forbes 400 list. In 2017, he was named the highest-paid CEO after getting $504 million in total. In 2017, Evan and Bobby vowed to donate up to 13,000,000 shares of Class A common stock to art, education, and non-profit youth foundations over the next 15–20 years.


Spiegel has always been private, sources say, and the combination of leaks and exposures have only reinforced his reservations. “It’s not fair that the people who try to build us up and break us down get a glimpse of who we really are,” he wrote in a memo he shared to Twitter following the Sony hack. “It’s not fair that people steal our secrets and make public that which we desire to remain private.” That tweet, and all of Spiegel’s tweets, have since been deleted.


Snap employees often don’t know about products the company is working on until they’re announced publicly. Spiegel moves across the company’s network of Venice Beach outposts in a black car flanked by his security detail. His security costed $890,399 in 2016.


“I’m not a great manager; I try to be a great leader. And for me, that’s been going through a process of not how to be a great CEO but how to be a great Evan, and that’s really been the challenge.” – Evan Spiegel