A snappy history of Snapchat

By Richard Rippon, Copywriter
08/03/2017

Snap Inc. shares debuted on the New York Stock Exchange last week, with the business valued at $24bn. The ‘disappearing photo’ platform has come a long way in a relatively short space of time, so we thought we’d honour it with a suitably snappy breakdown of its brief history.

2011
Evan Spiegel, Bobby Murphy and Reggie Brown begin working on a messaging app they call ‘Picaboo’. They issue a press release in July: “Picaboo lets you and your girlfriends send photos for peeks and not keeps!”

The name Picaboo is already in use, so they switch to ‘Snapchat’, but retain the yellow and black colouring and ‘Ghostface Chillah’ logo.

By the end of 2011, they have 1,000 daily active users.

2012
By early 2012, Snapchat hits 100,000 daily active users. It expands from Apple’s iOS to Android and finishes the year with a million daily active users.

The New York Times takes notice, but raises concerns about how trustworthy the promise to delete message data is.

Nevertheless, Snapchat continues to grow and adds video support, allowing users to exchange video messages as well as still photos.

2013
Investment pours in for the company and they close a $13.5 million funding round early in the year.

The ‘Stories’ feature is launched, allowing users to broadcast a collection of photos or videos taken within a 24-hour period. It also adds filters, a layer of images that can be overlaid on a user’s photo.

Later in the year, the Wall Street Journal reports that Spiegel and Murphy rejected a $3 billion offer from Facebook to buy their company.

2014
Finally, a feature called ‘Chat’ is added, allowing users to share threaded conversations.

Later in the year, Snapchat celebrates 50 million daily active users.

Location-specific Geofilters are added as well as its first paid advertisement – a brand story for the film Ouija.

A further funding round brings in $486 million and the company is valued at $10 billion.

2015
A new area for Stories called ‘Discover’ is added, containing content from select publishers such as People, Cosmopolitan and the Wall Street Journal.

Lenses arrives, a feature that uses image recognition to give users augmented reality features. The world goes crazy for selfie videos of themselves with dog ears or vomiting rainbows.

Snapchat hits 100 million daily active users.

2016
More new features drop, including stickers, voice and video calling. Geofilters can be designed or bought. ‘Bitmoji’, a cartoon avatar service is integrated. Memories is introduced – the ability to save Snaps and Stories.

Soon Snapchat hits 150 million daily active users and the company is valued at $20 billion.

The company renames itself Snap Inc. and introduces Spectacles – sunglasses that allow the wearer to create Memories wherever they are.

Snap Inc. files for IPO, to allow shares to be bought on the New York Stock Exchange.

2017
Snap Inc. shares are floated on 2nd March 2017.

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