If you don’t know who Evan Spiegel is, you’ve been hiding under a rock for the last couple of years. Not only is he one of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs, he’s also the youngest self-made billionaire in the world. And this year is set to be his biggest yet, with his company, Snap Inc., preparing for one of the most anticipated public offerings at a valuation somewhere around the mark of $20 billion. After Snapchat’s last funding round, its private market value reached $18billion, meaning that its IPO will be the biggest ever for a social media outlet since Twitter sold its shares in 2013. So, how has Spiegel done it?
With an estimated individual net worth of somewhere around the $2.1 billion at the tender age of 26, it’s clear that this entrepreneur is doing something right. Snapchat has revolutionised social media communication since its conception in 2011, when Spiegel was just 21. What begun as an assignment for one of his classes at Stanford University is now one of the most used social networks in the world, with 150 million people said to be using the app everyday. Realising its potential, Spiegel cut short his degree to focus on Snapchat (then branded Picaboo) with business partner Reggie Brown, and the app was launched in Spiegel’s living room.
While the facts and figures speak for themselves, wealth isn’t exactly new to this tech entrepreneur. Spiegel grew up in Los Angeles with two parents as lawyers and lived in a self-confessed “bubble” – so much so that when he was 18, he wrote a letter to his parents saying “cars bring me sheer joy. I would really appreciate you validating me and all of my hard work by leasing me the BMW”. He went on to Stanford to study product design having been educated at the Crossroads School of Arts and Science. While at Stanford, Spiegel joined a fraternity where he would meet his future Snapchat co-founder, Bobby Murphy. Today, he’s engaged to Miranda Kerr, one of the world’s most successful supermodels and is making history in the digital world year after year.