Evan Spiegel could have sold Snapchat to Facebook for $3 billion in 2013. But the company's co-founder chose not to, and now his company is reportedly worth at least four times as much. Snapchat's value has grown because its product has grown.
A Stanford dropout who had studied product design, Mr. Spiegel and co-founders Bobby Murphy and Reggie Brown orginally developed Snapchat as a way for people to send expiring photos and videos. But in the past year, the mobile messaging app has established itself as a new type of media platform.
Companies like CNN and ESPN are using it to publish news tailor-made for mobile audiences of millennials and their younger siblings. Leagues like the NFL and MLB are using it to offer fans a crowdsourced way to watch a game. And Snapchat has persuaded big brands like Procter & Gamble and Coca-Cola to buy ads against the 100 million people who use the app daily. All the while, Mr. Spiegel has trimmed the company's executive ranks in order to take a tighter rein of the company he refused to give up to Facebook.