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  • Snapchat co-founder Evan Spiegel is only 29 years old, and one of the youngest billionaires in the United States.
  • Since 2011, Spiegel has served as the CEO of Snap, Snapchat's parent company, and has overseen its public offering, foray into tech hardware, and investment in augmented reality.
  • Here's everything you need to know about Evan Spiegel, who is married to supermodel Miranda Kerr and has fathered two children.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.


Life is good for Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel.

The 29-year-old is one of the youngest billionaires in the world, with an estimated net worth around $4 billion (R58 billion). Snapchat seems to have recouped the losses it suffered in 2017 after the company went public and suffered a number of missteps, including a hated app redesign.

Things seem good at home, too: Spiegel is married to model and entrepreneur Miranda Kerr, and the couple welcomed their second child - another boy, named Myles - just three months ago.

Here's how Evan Spiegel got his start and became one of the youngest billionaires in the world.


Spiegel was born in 1990, and grew up in a $2 million house in the Pacific Palisades, a ritzy Los Angeles enclave just east of Malibu. He is the oldest of three children to two Ivy League-educated lawyers.

Source: LA Weekly


Spiegel spent his early years at an ultra-exclusive school called Crossroads, which costs tens of thousands per academic year. The Santa Monica private school's notable alumni include celebrities like Jonah Hill, Jack Black, and Gwyneth Paltrow.

Google Maps

Source: LA Weekly


Spiegel was reportedly bullied in school from a young age. "I was a pretty nerdy kid and shy through most of school," Spiegel said in an interview with the Palisadian-Post. "I was best friends with my computer teacher and built my own PC by the time I was in sixth grade."

Steve Jennings/Getty Images for TechCrunch

Source: LA Weekly, Palisadian-Post


The Spiegel family was a member of a number of exclusive clubs, including the Jonathan Club in Santa Monica and the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club. They often went on trips to Europe, employed a full-time housekeeper, and even went snowboarding by helicopter in Canada.

Source: LA Weekly


When Spiegel turned 16 and got his driver's license, his parents gave him a new Cadillac Escalade. Less than a year later, his parents announced they were getting divorced, and Spiegel went to live with his father full-time during his senior year of high school.

Source: LA Weekly


Around this time, Spiegel landed a marketing internship with Red Bull, during which he reportedly racked up expenses and held several parties at his father's home. According to LA Weekly, Spiegel's father forced him to instate a budget, and Spiegel asked for his discipline to be rewarded with a $75,000 BMW 550i. After his dad refused, Spiegel moved back in with his mom, who leased him the BMW.

"Cars bring me sheer joy," Spiegel wrote in a letter to his parents in 2008 asking them to lease him the car. "I would really appreciate you validating me and all of my hard work by leasing the BMW."

Source: LA Weekly


Spiegel went on to study product design at Stanford University, his father's alma mater. A friend of the family let him sit in on a graduate-level class on entrepreneurship and venture capital, where he heard talks from tech luminaries like Google CEO Eric Schmidt and YouTube cofounder Chad Hurley.

Source: LA Weekly


Spiegel befriended Intuit cofounder Scott Cook after he gave a talk at one of those classes. Spiegel begged him for a job, and Cook ended up letting him work on a product that Intuit planned to release in India. This experience reportedly inspired Spiegel to launch his own project, and Cook later became an early Snapchat investor.

Source: Business Insider


At Stanford, Spiegel met future Snapchat cofounders Reggie Brown and Bobby Murphy through the fraternity they all joined, Kappa Sigma. "We weren't cool," Murphy later told Forbes, "so we tried to build things to be cool."

LA County Superior Court

Source: LA Weekly, Forbes


Spiegel was social chair of his fraternity, which was kicked off campus during his sophomore year for a party it hosted. In leaked emails to his fraternity, Spiegel made offensive, expletive-laden jokes about having sex with women. He was forced to apologise in 2014 when those emails went public, saying the messages "no way reflect who I am today."

Source: Gawker, Business Insider


Early on, Spiegel and Murphy worked together on failed startup ideas, including one to help high schoolers apply for college. The idea for Snapchat came later in spring 2011, reportedly spurred on by a conversation among fraternity brothers about sexting — that is, sending explicit messages and photos.

Snapchat

Source: LA Weekly


However, the early founding story of Snapchat is murky and disputed. In a lawsuit years later, Brown alleged he was the first to propose an app for sending disappearing photos, and that Murphy was brought in afterwards to write code for the two roommates.

Source: Business Insider


In the summer of 2011, the three college students stayed at Spiegel's dad's house in the Palisades to work on their project: an app for sending pictures that would expire and disappear after a set amount of time. While Spiegel focused on design, Murphy did the coding and Brown led marketing.

Google Street View

Source: LA Weekly, Business Insider


The app's ghost logo was developed around this time, named "Ghostface Chillah" after Wu-Tang Clan member Ghostface Killah. "He's a silly dude," Spiegel told Business Insider in 2013.

Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival

Source: Business Insider, LA Weekly


The app first launched in July 2011 under the name Picaboo, and was spread by simple word-of-mouth and invites to the founders' friends. Later that year, the app's named was changed to Snapchat.

Source: LA Weekly


Not long after the launch, the relationship between the three founders began to fray, and Brown was forced out of the company. Brown later sued Spiegel and Murphy in 2013, claiming he wasn't given his equity: one-third of the company. The lawsuit was eventually settled, and Snapchat paid Brown $157.5 million to disappear.

Source: Business Insider


In 2012, Spiegel dropped out of Stanford just a few credits short of graduation to work on Snapchat full-time. Although he didn't earn it, he nonetheless walked across the stage to collect a diploma with his friends in June.

Source: LA Weekly, Recode


However, he wasn't the only Spiegel sibling to attend — and drop out of —Stanford. His younger sister, Caroline, is the CEO of Quinn, a platform for free audio- and text-based porn. She's described her platform as "a much less gross, more fun PornHub."

Caroline Spiegel

Source: Business Insider


The same year that Evan Spiegel dropped out of Stanford, Snapchat moved into an office on the Venice boardwalk. At its peak, Snapchat occupied thousands of square feet of space there, including an office steps from the beach on Market Street that once served as its headquarters. In 2019, Snap moved to Santa Monica.

Glassdoor

Source: New York Times


By mid-2013, Snapchat had nearly 60 million downloads and was valued at $800 million. It wasn't long before would-be acquirers came knocking on Spiegel's door to buy Snapchat. He famously rebuffed a $3 billion offer from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in 2013 — and then turned down a subsequent $4 billion offer from Google.

Source: Business Insider, Gawker


Although he previously joked he wouldn't move out of his dad's house "until he kicks me out," Spiegel finally moved into his own place in November 2014. He bought his own three-bedroom house for $3.3 million in Los Angeles' wealthy Brentwood neighbourhood — less than four miles from his dad's place.

Lucas Jackson / Reuters, Facebook / David Offers Fine Homes

Source: Variety


As the CEO of Snapchat, Spiegel has been paid well. In 2016, he earned a salary of $500,000 and an additional $1 million bonus. The following year, Spiegel was the best-paid CEO, according to Bloomberg's Pay Index — he made about $504 million in total.

Source: Bloomberg


Spiegel remains one of the youngest and most successful founders in tech. He now has an estimated net worth of about $4 billion (R58 billion).

Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Time Inc

Source: Forbes


Spiegel is not shy about living the life of luxury. After Snapchat completed a big funding round in June 2015, Spiegel bought himself a Ferrari. Spiegel is also a licensed helicopter pilot.

Matrix / Contributor

Source: Gawker, Recode


Spiegel cares about fashion more than most tech CEOs, and he made headlines in October 2015 for appearing on the cover of Vogue Italy.

Source: Vogue Italy


Spiegel's traditional work uniform includes $460 Common Projects sneakers, $255 Patrik Ervell black jeans, and a $60 James Perse white v-neck that he once told GQ has been a "staple since high school."

Source: GQ


Spiegel has been fascinated with the music industry for years: He explored the idea of Snapchat launching its own music label in 2014, and was reportedly interested in buying Big Machine — the record label that represents Taylor Swift — but the deal never went through. The former CEO of Sony Entertainment, Michael Lynton, is the chairman of Snap's board.

David McNew/Getty

Source: New York Post, Business Insider


Spiegel has been a French citizen since 2018. He was granted citizenship through a rare process for French-speaking foreign nationals who have taken "exceptional action" for France. "Honestly, he loves France," a Snap spokesperson said.

Source: Business Insider


Spiegel has said he's incredibly shy, and rarely addresses and interacts with employees because he finds it intimidating and awkward. During board meetings, Spiegel reportedly spends much of his time using Snapchat and playing with his phone. "I remember growing up I was taught to be small, be a turtle," Spiegel told Bloomberg in 2018.

Michael Kovac/Getty

Source: Bloomberg, The Information


Snap employees told Recode in 2016 that Spiegel is involved in all business decisions, and that his opinions are final — up to point he's killed "all-but-finalised" deals at the last minute. "When you go to work at Snapchat you go to work for Evan," one source told Recode. "You don't go to teach Evan. You don't go to show him the ropes."

Source: Recode


Spiegel highly values secrecy in his business dealings, as well as in his personal life. Snap rarely holds all-hands meetings, and employees often don't know about products the company is working on until they're announced publicly.

Source: Recode


Snapchat employees have painted Spiegel as an "aloof" leader. He's often flanked by a heavy security team, and he traveled on his own private jet separate from bankers during Snap's IPO roadshow. He reportedly once requested an armed security detail (but didn't get it), and $890,399 of Snapchat's money was spent on security for Spiegel in 2016.

Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

Source: Wall Street Journal, Business Insider


However, Spiegel has acknowledged his faults. "I'm not a great manager," he said in 2015. "I try to be a great leader. And for me that's been going through a process of, not how to be a great CEO but how to be a great Evan."

Greg Sandoval/Business Insider

Source: Recode


As Snapchat's user base and valuation continued to swell, Spiegel quickly became a bona fide celebrity in the worlds of tech and media, and he regularly rubs shoulders with A-listers and celebrities.

Michael Kovac / Getty Images

In 2013, he was romantically tied to a model who was later a contestant on "The Bachelor." He was then linked to pop icon Taylor Swift in early 2014 after the two reportedly met at a New Year's Eve party.

Andrew H. Walker/Getty

Source: Business Insider, Hollywood Life


Spiegel eventually started dating Australian supermodel Miranda Kerr in 2015 after the two met the year before at a dinner for Louis Vuitton. The night they met, Harper's Bazaar editor-in-chief Glenda Bailey said to Kerr, "I bet you two are going to get married."

Source: Business Insider


Things moved quickly for the couple after that. In May 2016, Spiegel and Kerr purchased a house in Brentwood for $12 million. The 7,164-square-foot (664-square-metres) home was once owned by Harrison Ford, and has a gym, pool and guest house.

Zillow

Source: Business Insider


The couple maintains a relatively quiet social media presence. However, a few months later, the couple announced they were engaged. Spiegel proposed to Kerr with a ring that is worth an estimated $75,000 to $100,000.

Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for LACMA

Source: Business Insider


Kerr has not hesitated to weigh in on Spiegel's company. After some of Snapchat's core features were replicated on Instagram and Facebook's other apps in 2016, Kerr said she was "appalled" by Facebook's strategy. "Can they not be innovative?" she said in an interview. "Do they have to steal all of my partner's ideas?"

Brad Barket/Getty Images

Source: The Times


Spiegel eventually addressed Facebook's copying of Snapchat, which his company internally referred to as "Project Voldermort." "At the end of the day, just because Yahoo has a search box, it doesn't mean they're Google," he said in mid-2017. "You have to get comfortable with and enjoy the fact that someone is going to copy you if you make great stuff."

Snapchat

Source: Business Insider, WSJ


In September 2016, Spiegel renamed his company to Snap Inc., which he called it a "camera company" in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. Snap also expanded its offerings beyond the Snapchat app, and unveiled smart sunglasses with a built-in camera called Spectacles.

Snapchat/YouTube

Source: WSJ Magazine


Snap went public on March 2, 2017 at a valuation of roughly $33 billion. Spiegel became an instant billionaire: He added about $1.6 billion to his net worth based on Snap's 44% jump in share price in the first day of trading.

Hollis Johnson/Business Insider

Source: Recode, WSJ


Soon after in May 2017, Kerr and Spiegel tied the knot in a backyard ceremony at their home in Brentwood. The wedding was an "intimate affair" with less than 50 guests in attendance, and included pre-nuptial yoga and after-hours karaoke.

Steve Granitz/WireImage

Source: E! News, Business Insider


Spiegel and Kerr honeymooned on the private island of Laucala in Fiji, at a resort owned by Red Bull billionaire Dietrich Mateschitz. Not long after, the CEO reportedly took some time off for a "bro trip," went sailing off the coast of Italy and Greece in a mega yacht that rents for near $1 million (about R14 billion) a week.

Charley Gallay/Getty Images

Source: Page Six,Architectural Digest


In November 2017, Spiegel and Kerr announced they were expecting their first child together. A baby boy, named Hart, was born in May 2018. "It's impossible to describe," Spiegel later told E! News. "It's a life transforming event."

Emma McIntyre/Getty Images

Source: Business Insider, E! News


However, 2018 presented Spiegel with some new challenges. Snap rolled out a redesign to its app in February that was massively unpopular with users, leading to its user count to shrink, its stock to fall, and employee layoffs to follow. Kylie Jenner even publicly criticised the app.

Michael Buckner/BMA2015/Getty Images

Source: TechCrunch


Kerr, Spiegel's wife, also told him she hated the redesign. However, Spiegel later said he doesn't regret the disastrous redesign, and said it actually helped to drive more users to watch "premium content" on Snapchat.

Greg Sandoval/Business Insider

Source: Business Insider


When Spiegel isn't running Snap, Kerr says her husband loves to come home and chill with the family. "He acts like he's 50. He's not out partying," Kerr once said. "He goes to work in Venice. He comes home. We don't go out. We'd rather be at home and have dinner, go to bed early."

HEV/BuzzFoto via Getty Images

Source: The Edit


Kerr revealed in an interview in 2019 a bit about how the couple prioritises health and wellness. Kerr said she mops the floors of the couple's home with hot water and eucalyptus oil, and turns off almost all of the home's electricity at night — which she likened to "going camping."

Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

Source: NewBeauty


Spiegel said the couple imposes a limit on screen time for Flynn, Kerr's eldest son from her previous marriage to actor Orlando Bloom. Flynn is allowed only 1.5 hours of screen time per week, a rule Spiegel said is inspired by his own parents not allowing him to watch TV until he was nearly a teenager.

Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for Snap Inc

Source: Business Insider


Nonetheless, Spiegel and his 8-year-old stepson are reportedly close. "He's already on his iPod," Spiegel said in a 2018 interview. "We email. Very emoji heavy. It's good!"

Snap

Source: E! News


In March 2019, Kerr and Spiegel said they were expecting their second child together. Kerr announced on Instagram in October that she had given birth to a baby boy named Myles.

Photo by JB Lacroix/Getty Images

Source: People, Business Insider


Although 2018 proved difficult for Spiegel, Snapchat rebounded in 2019 to recover its disastrous losses — and its share price has since risen above its IPO debut. However, Spiegel still has the same advice for founders: "Don't go public."

Steve Jennings/Getty Images for TechCrunch

Source: Business Insider


2019 was also a massive year for another social platform: TikTok, the viral video-sharing app. While CEOs like Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg have labelled the new app as a competitor, Spiegel considers TikTok as a "friend" helping people to spend even more time on their smartphones.

Source: Business Insider

Alex Heath and Madeline Stone contributed to earlier versions of this article.

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