It’s been six years since Reggie Brown, then a junior at Stanford University, hatched the idea that would become the popular vanishing photo app Snapchat.
But while his former friends and Stanford classmates Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy are preparing a Wall Street debut for the company now known as Snap Inc. — potentially Los Angeles’ biggest-ever initial public stock offering — little is known about Brown’s whereabouts.
Brown was ousted from the company months after its founding in 2011. Two years later, he filed a lawsuit against his former business partners, Spiegel and Murphy, alleging breach of contract.
Evan Spiegel, the face of Snap Inc., is a jet-setting, supermodel-dating, trend-making, once-in-a-generation technology chief executive.
Snapchat co-founder Bobby Murphy is an unknown entity publicly. He’s rarely seen or heard from outside the research and development teams he leads as chief technology officer. The few people willing to discuss him describe him as quiet, unpretentiousand stoic.
Chuck Eesley, who taught Murphy at Stanford’s engineering school in 2010, said the unique thing about the role of the understated technical leader is that technologists who successfully partner with a business or design leader are a rare breed.
Snapchat boasts 158 million daily active users. More than half of them are under the age of 25.
These young users are valuable to Snap because they’re valuable to advertisers. They also interact with the app the most: Users 24 and younger visit it more than 20 times a day and spend at least 30 minutes there, while those 25 and older log 12 visits lasting a total of 20 minutes, according to Snap.
If you’re not in this demographic and don’t understand how Snapchat works, don’t worry. We’ve got you covered. We talked to high school and college students involved in The Times’ High School Insider program to find out what gets them to open the app and what turns them off.
A group of about 60 Venice residents and business owners gathered outside Snap Inc. headquarters Tuesday afternoon to show their disdain for the company's large footprint in the neighborhood.
They said they hoped to draw attention to the Snapchat maker's takeover of Venice landmarks, including bars and buildings, to make way for its corporate offices.
Barbara Lonsdale, who has lived in Venice for 30 years and helped organize the protest, said she was particularly annoyed by the ubiquity of the company's shuttles, which ferry employees between offices.
Snapchat maker Snap Inc. has generated enough interest from potential purchasers of its stock to initially price shares at about $18, according to Business Insider and CNBC.
Earlier this month, Snap said it expected to offer as many as 230 million shares to institutional investors for $14 to $16, valuing the Los Angeles company at potentially $22.5 billion. But that initial public offering pricing didn't represent a notable premium on how much investors paid for Snap shares in a private financing last year. That led to speculation that Snap would later raise prices.
At $18 a share, Snap would notch a valuation of $25.2 billion and raise about $4 billion — what people close to the company described as a target last fall.
When the company behind messaging app Snapchat holds its much-anticipated initial public stock offering in a few days, it will offer new shareholders exclusively nonvoting shares, something no company has tried before in a public debut.
That means those shareholders won't have a say on executive pay, who's on the company's board or whether to accept a potential acquisition.
“It's all about control,” said Kai Liekefett, a partner at law firm Vinson & Elkins who works with companies that are under pressure from investors. “There's no other reason. There’s no tax reason, no business reason.”
Initial public stock offerings of hot tech companies have minted millionaires, with stories of even janitors who worked at Google striking it rich after the company went public in 2004. As Snap Inc. hurtles towards its own IPO, many await a life-changing payday.
Of Snap’s 2,000 employees, hundreds could become on-paper millionaires if the company goes public at its ambitious $22.2-billion valuation. But many others stand to come away with a much smaller windfall, or none at all.
And for many workers, being at a company as it goes public can be an emotional roller coaster — one that is rarely acknowledged because of the taboo of discussing personal wealth.
Snapchat has broken the mold of Silicon Valley in many ways. Now, with parent company Snap Inc.'s initial public stock offering imminent, it is poised to do so again.
Snap will begin trading on public markets without a designated headquarters, an anomaly in the tech world. None of Snap’s peers — the 10 California-based technology companies with the biggest IPOs of the last 15 years — lacked a corporate headquarters when it went public.
Snap knows its strategy is unusual: The company listed its lack of a headquarters and spread-out West L.A. offices on its financial filings as a risk that could potentially harm its business and future revenue prospects.
The maker of Snapchat is putting about a fifth of the company up for public sale to investors over the next couple of weeks.
Some of the shares in Snap Inc. are coming from the company itself. And at a proposed price of $16 each, selling all of them would bring the company nearly $2.5 billion, including an extra allotment set aside for after the initial rush.
But up to $1.1 billion in additional shares are being sold by either company officials or investors who were able to get an early stake in Snap through private deals in the last five years.