Careers at Snapchat
Snapchat develops, maintains and operates a free-to-use photo-sharing and messaging mobile app for iOS and Android.
Snapchat was founded in 2011 by Stanford University students Evan Spiegel (“Spiegel”) and Bobby Murphy (“Murphy”), with the help of fellow student Reggie Brown (“Brown”). The idea for the app reportedly arose from a comment made by Brown who wished that photos he was sending would disappear. Spiegel, Brown and Murphy began working on an app – originally named Picaboo – that would automatically delete photos after they had been viewed. The app, however, failed to gain significant traction.
In 2011, following a disagreement over equity splits and patent applications, Brown was shut out from the Company by Spiegel and Murphy. Spiegel and Murphy went on to change the app’s name to Snapchat and continued with its development, and by 2012 the app had 100,000 users. Brown has since claimed to have been a co-founder of the Company; this however has been disputed by Spiegel and Murphy who characterised Brown’s involvement in the Company as that of an intern. A legal dispute in relation to the matter has been settled, with Snapchat crediting Brown with the conceptual idea behind Snapchat.
In 2012 Snapchat received $485,000 in seed capital from Lightspeed Venture Partners, which helped the Company cover growing server costs. Snapchat’s Series A round of funding was completed a year later, raising a further $12.5 million. To date the Company has completed 8 rounds of funding, raising more than $1.3 billion from investors including General Catalyst Partners, Fidelity Investments, Yahoo, and Glade Brook Capital Partners. The Company is valued at around $16 billion, with that figure expected to rise to as much $20 billion following an upcoming round of funding.
Benefits at Snapchat
Business model of Snapchat
The Snapchat app is aimed at the general smart phone user base. It has more than 100 million daily active users. The app’s automatic delete feature makes it popular among users that value privacy or wish to save memory. The platform is particularly popular among millennials.
According to Snapchat’s own statistics, users over the age of 34 account for only 14% of the apps monthly users, with 18 to 24 year olds representing the largest segment, accounting for 37% of the app’s monthly users. The US is Snapchat’s largest market, where more than 60% of smart phone users aged 13 to 34 use the Snapchat app.
Snapchat also serves a number of advertisers and brand marketers, to which it provides a range of advertising solutions.
Snapchat’s initial value was based on its privacy capabilities, with the app gaining popularity because of its self-delete feature, which ensured that pictures were only accessible for a user-defined timeframe. Users also find value in the app as it is free to use and provides a broad range of personalisation and editing options, such as its collection of overlays and filters.
For advertisers, the apps’ greatest is its user base – 100 million daily active users reportedly accounting for 10 billion daily views – through which brands are able to extend their reach among their target markets.
The Snapchat platform is available as a mobile app for iOS and Android market. The Company also operates a website, accessible through mobile and desktop browsers, at www.snapchat.com which hosts further information regarding the platform and the Company.
The Snapchat app is free to download from the Apple App Store and the Google Play marketplace. Once downloaded, users are able to register for an account directly via the app, following which they are given access to Snapchat’s full functionality. The process requires no interaction with Snapchat representatives.
Snapchat is primarily community-driven, with users creating and sharing ‘stories’ and ‘snaps’. The Snapchat website also hosts a community section where users are provided with guidelines, safety tips and technical support guides. The Company keeps its customers updated with news and events via snaps sent directly to user inboxes, as well as through its blog and Twitter account.
Snapchat develops, operates and maintains a mobile application for messaging and photo-sharing. The app allows users to create and share multimedia messages, known as ‘snaps’. These can be photos or short videos, and can be edited to include filters and effects, text captions, and drawings. Snaps can be published as ‘stories’, a feed of chained content automatically shared with the user's contact list of family and friends, or can be sent as private messages.
‘Snaps’ can be viewed for a user-specified length of time from one to ten seconds before they are permanently deleted. Snapchat also manages a number of partnerships with media houses and broadcast networks, which share content and user-created coverage of events.
Snapchat partners with a range of companies, primarily comprising media houses, broadcast networks and tech companies. As part of the application’s Discover feature, Snapchat has partnered with a number of news outlets and publishing houses to provide users with daily news updates. These partners include Daily Mail, Vice, CNN, ESPN, Cosmopolitan and Yahoo News.
The Company also collaborates with broadcast networks and events. It has a content production partnership with World Wrestling Entertainment, recently agreed a partnership with NBC and BuzzFeed to bring coverage of the upcoming 2016 Olympic Games to Snapchat, and works with Live Nation to bring coverage of live music events to Snapchat users. Snapchat has also partnered with the Tribeca Film Festival in the form of the Tribeca Snapchat Shorts program, which invites users to submit 200-second long Snapchat stories for a chance to win prizes.
Additionally, in 2014 the Company launched a partnership with payment solutions company Square to enable users to make payments via the Snapchat app.
Snapchat’s key resources are its software and technology, its IT infrastructure, its personnel and its user base. The Company has 17 patent applications filed with the US Patent and Trademark Office, including patents titled ‘Storage and processing of ephemeral messages’, ‘Message queues for rapid re-hosting of client devices’, ‘Device and method for photo and video capture’ and ‘Geo-location based event gallery’. Snapchat’s user base and production partners are also key as they are responsible for generating the platform’s content.
Snapchat incurs costs in relation to the research and development of its app, its maintenance of IT infrastructure, and the retention of its personnel. The Company employs more than 330 workers who all represent costs in the form of salaries and benefits, and operates an office in Venice, California and an engineering centre in Seattle, which accrue fixed costs relating to rental fees and utilities.
In 2015 Snapchat recorded an annual revenue of $50 million. The Company is reportedly projecting a revenue of between $300 million and $350 million for 2016. Its principal revenue stream is advertising, in the form of native advertising solutions and media branded posts. Snapchat’s Discover media hub allows media publishers – including National Geographic, Comedy Central and CNN – to have daily content featured on the app. These customers are reportedly charged on a cost per thousand views (CPM) basis estimated at $100 CPM. If the publisher decides to use its space to publish its own advertisements, the publisher splits its profits with Snapchat.
Companies can also pay to have their brand featured in Snapchat’s Stories feed where public snaps from friends and international events are typically found. According to some reports, these branded posts can cost as much as $750,000 per day. Additionally, brands can sponsor their own location-specific geofilters and animated overlays. Snapchat’s digital advertising revenue is expected to grow following the release of the Company’s advertising API that is set to be released in the near future.
info: Evan has been Snapchat’s Chief Executive Officer since 2011. He left Stanford University in 2012 shortly before he graduated in Product Design. During his time as a student, in addition to building the Snapchat app, he worked as a paid intern for two months at biotechnology company Abraxis BioScience. He went on to serve as a software developer at software company Intuit for seven months in 2010, working specifically on a project relating to SMS technology.
info: Bobby has been with Snapchat since its establishment, and has served as the Company’s Chief Technology Officer since 2011. Murphy graduated from Stanford University in 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and Computational Science.
info: Imran was appointed Chief Strategy Officer at Snapchat in 2015. Prior to joining the Company Khan held senior management positions at high-profile financial institutions. From 2004 to 2011 he was Managing Director and Head of Global Internet and US Entertainment Equity Research at JP Morgan Securities. Khan joined Credit Suisse in 2011 and served as its Managing Director and Head of Global Internet Investment Banking until he moved to Snapchat in 2015.
info: Drew has served as Snapchat’s Vice President of Finance and Acting Chief Financial Officer since 2015. He began his career in 1988 as a business analyst at ZS Associates. His next role began in 1994 when he joined Taco Bell. He was promoted to the position of Vice President of Marketing at the company in 1998, a position he held for just a year before joining Yum Brands as Vice President Controller. Prior to joining Snapchat, Vollero worked for 15 years at Mattel, first as its Division CFO and Senior Vice President of Finance and Strategy and later as its Senior Vice President of Corporate Strategy, Development and Investor Relations.
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