Evan Thomas Spiegel is the CEO and co-founder of social media company Snap Inc. which is an image messaging and multimedia mobile application. It is Spiegel who invented the idea for the famous photo and video sharing app. He also worked hard on developing the app while he was in Stanford University, alongside Bobby Murphy. In March 2017, Spiegel became one of the youngest public company CEOs at the age of 26. His net worth is now $3.1 billion as reported by Forbes.
Evan Spiegel was born on June 4, 1990, in Los Angeles, California. He grew up in the Pacific Palisades. His parents Melissa Ann Thomas and John W. Spiegel are both lawyers. Born into a wealthy family, he had a privileged childhood and as a teenager he received a $250 weekly allowance. He had a reputation of being a nerd in high school as he was interested in technology from a young age. He was educated at Crossroads School for Arts and Sciences and also attended Stanford University.
While being a student of high school, he took design classes at the Otis College of Art and Design. Then he continued his education in design by attending classes at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. He then had an unpaid internship in sales at Red Bull, where he was exposed to various marketing and design projects. He worked as a paid intern for a biomedical company and at Intuit on the TxtWeb project, as a career instructor in Cape Town.
After graduating from high school, he got enrolled at Stanford University to study product design and was accepted into the Kappa Sigma fraternity. There, he met fellow students Bobby Murphy and Reggie Brown. Bobby Murphy hired Spiegel for the job of designing an online social network, ‘futurefreshman.com’, to help users managing college applications, inspired by the Google Circles.
And eventually, this venture was a failure. In 2011, Reggie Brown, remarked how he wished there was a way to send disappearing photos. Spiegel and Reggie Brown recruited the already-graduated Murphy to join the project.
Camping out at Spiegel’s home in Pacific Palisades, they built a business where Spiegel was designated as CEO and designer, Murphy as CTO and developer and Brown as chief marketing officer. In July, 2011, they debuted Picaboo, an early version of Snapchat, headquartered at Spiegel’s dad’s house in the Palisades.
Snapchat eventually shifted to offices on the Venice boardwalk. This app allowed users to send photos that quickly disappeared, revealing and then erasing evidence of illicit activities. Within May 2012, 25 images were being sent per second on Snapchat. By the month of November, the users had shared over one billion photos on the Snapchat iOS app, with 20 million photos being shared per day. Brown left the organization around this time. On the same year, Evan left Stanford to focus on Snapchat shortly before completing his degree.
In 2013, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg offered to buy Snapchat for $3 billion. Its co-founders rejected the offer despite standing to gain some $750 million apiece from the deal. ‘My Story’ feature and the ability to communicate through video chat were added, which made the app popular worldwide. Snapchat hit 10 billion daily video views in 2016 and by April that year, it was the top downloaded app in 28 different countries.
In September, 2016, Spiegel renamed Snapchat to Snap Inc. and called it a camera company. He also unveiled camera-equipped sunglasses called Spectacles. In February, 2017, Spiegel and Murphy pledged to donate upwards of 13,000,000 shares of Class A common stock over the next 15–20 years to arts, education and youth entrepreneurship as a non-profit venture.
On May 27, 2017, Spiegel and Miranda Kerr got married through a secretive private ceremony in Los Angeles. Spiegel started dating supermodel Miranda Kerr during the summer of 2015. Just a month before Spiegel’s engagement to Kerr, the couple purchased a 7,164-square-foot house that had been owned by Harrison Ford, for $12 million. Miranda gave birth to their son Hart Kerr Spiegel on May 7, 2018.
Spiegel completed his degree requirements and graduated from Stanford in 2018. He said that his baby Hart Kerr Spiegel was his motivation to complete his collegiate education. He is also father to Flynn, an eight-year-old kid of his wife’s previous marriage with actor Orlando Bloom.
Spiegel cares about fashion more than most other tech CEOs. He won the Crunchies Best Mobile Application award in 2013. He was honored with the 2015 Eddy Award in recognition of his leading role in the development of the LA County economy, which was presented by the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC).
Spiegel highly values secrecy in his business dealings as well as his personal life and so the Snap employees often don’t know about products the company is working on, until they’re announced publicly. As of 2019, Spiegel is ranked on 1116th position on the Forbes top 400, with $3.3 billion net wealth. At the age of 26, Spiegel has been named the youngest self-made billionaire in the world by Forbes in 2017.