Timeline of Snapchat
|Time period||Development summary||More details|
|April 2011 – December 2012||Conception and initial launch||Snapchat is conceived of by Stanford graduate students. Initial versions are launched and an initial userbase is obtained.|
|December 2012 – November 2014||Product build-out, userbase acquisition, funding||Snapchat raises funds in three rounds (Series A: $13.5 million, Series B: $80 million, and Series C: $50 million). The userbase grows significantly, with the number of daily snaps sent growing to 400 million by November 2013. Key features are added to the product, including video sharing, Snapchat Stories, and ephemeral text messaging. Some initial announcements are made regarding monetization.|
|December 2014 – August 2016||Aggressive fundraising, focus on video, more product iterations||Snapchat raises large funding rounds (Series D: $485 million, Series E: at least $200 million but possibly up to $500 million, and Series F: $1.8 billion). Since Snapchat raises money more continuously, it is hard to pinpoint a specific funding round, creating some confusion for reporting. With the additional funds, Snapchat aggressively improves the product, with changes such as Chat 2.0, the introduction of stickers, and new monetization strategies. Daily video views grow from 2 billion in May 2015 to 6 billion in November 2015 and 10 billion in April 2016. Note, however, that unlike Facebook, that counts a view only after at least three seconds on it (and YouTube, which follows a more restrictive definition), Snapchat counts a view as soon as the video start playing, making its numbers hard to compare with Facebook.|
|September 2016 – present||Rebranding and preparation for IPO||The company rebrands itself from "Snapchat Inc." to "Snap Inc." and unveils the Spectacles. It also prepares for an initial public offering (IPO) in 2017. The IPO occurs on Thursday, March 2, 2017.|
|Year||Month and date||Event type||Details|
|2011||April||Creation||Snapchat co-founder Evan Spiegel floats the idea as a final project for a product design class at Stanford University. His classmates reportedly balk at the idea of impermanent photos.|
|2011||July||Creation||Snapchat first launches from Spiegel's father living room under the name Picaboo, as an iOS-only app.|
|2012||March/April||Funding||Barry Eggers, a managing director at the venture capital firm Lightspeed Ventures, learns from his teenage daughter that the three most popular apps among her friends are Angry Birds, Instagram, and Snapchat. Liew, Eggers' partner at the firm, pursues Snapchat and agrees to invest $485,000 in the company.|
|2012||May 12||Userbase||Snapchat is processing about 25 images a second.|
|2012||October 29||Userbase||Snapchat says that users are sharing about 20 million images a day, or about 231 per second. The userbase is about 10 million, and over a billion photos have been shared through the app.|
|2012||October 29||Product||Snapchat launches an Android app.|
|2012||December 12||Funding||Snapchat is reported to be raising north of $10 million at a $70 million valuation. Funders appear to include Benchmark Capital, one of the funders of Instagram.|
|2012||December 14||Product||Snapchat releases video sharing and begins prototyping monetization features.|
|2012||December 21||Competition||Social networking company Facebook launches Poke, an iOS app for sending expiring text, photos, and videos. It is widely viewed as a direct competitor to Snapchat.|
|2013||February 8||Funding||Snapchat raises a $13.5 million Series A led by Benchmark Capital's Mitch Lasky, with a post-money valuation between $60 million and $70 million. This is the same as the funding round rumored on December 12, 2012.|
|2013||February 8||Userbase||Snapchat users are now sending over 60 million snaps a day, or about 700 snaps a second.|
|2013||February 21||Product||Snapchat launches video sharing on its Android app after ten days of quiet beta testing.|
|2013||February 27||Legal||Snapchat is sued by Reginald Brown, a Stanford graduate student who used to be friends with Spiegel and Murphy. Brown claims that he originally came up with the idea behind Snapchat as well as the ghost logo, back when the product was still called Picaboo, but that Spiegel and Murphy changed passwords to shut him out of the servers. Snapchat calls the lawsuit "devoid of merit."|
|2013||April 16||Userbase||At the Dive into Mobile conference, Snapchat co-founder Evan Spiegel says that users now share 150 million images per day, or about 1700 per second. On the same day, a post on the Snapchat blog notes that the company is facing spam problems.|
|2013||June 22||Funding||Snapchat raises a $80 million Series B ($60 million for the company and $20 million as a secondary offering) at a valuation of about $800 million. The round is led by Institutional Venture Partners, and earlier investors Benchmark Capital and Lightspeed Ventures also invest. Other investors included General Catalyst Partners and SV Angel.|
|2013||July 1||Legal||Documents related to Reginald Brown's lawsuit against Snapchat are released. The documents demonstrate Brown's important early role while the product was being developed, and are intended to bolster the case that Brown is eligible for a 1/3 stake in the company.|
|2013||August 7||Competition||Facebook starts allowing people to send Instagrams with its Messenger product, a move that is widely seen as a competitive response to Snapchat.|
|2013||September 9||Product||Snapchat releases Snapchat Micro, an app for the Galaxy Gear smartwatch.|
|2013||September 9||Userbase||Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel reports that Snapchat users are now sharing 350 million photographs a day (about 4000 per second).|
|2013||October 3||Product||Snapchat updates its app to include the option to create Snapchat Stories, a type of sharing that allows users to build chains of shared content that can be viewed an unlimited number of times over a 24-hour period.|
|2013||November 13||Potential acquisition||The Wall Street Journal reports that Snapchat spurned a $3 billion acquisition offer from social networking company Facebook. Neither Snapchat nor Facebook offer comment.|
|2013||November 19||Userbase||Snapchat users are now sharing 400 million snaps a day (about 4500 per second), more than Facebook.|
|2013||December||Snapchat hires Emily White as COO.|
|2013||December 11||Funding||Snapchat raises $50 million in Series C funding from Coatue Management.|
|2013||December 20||Product||Snapchat rolls out a change that allows users to replay one snap a day, thereby sacrificing some of its ephemerality.|
|2013–2014||December 27 – January 9||Security||A security flaw in Snapchat's Find Friends feature leads to 4.6 million usernames and phone numbers being leaked. Snapchat promises to work on beefing up security quickly. On January 9, Snapchat rolls out an update that allows people to opt out of the Find Friends feature.|
|2014||January 21||Security||Snapchat introduces Snap-tchas (a wordplay on CAPTCHAs) to deter spam and improve security, but hackers find workarounds within hours.|
|2014||February 7||Security||Security researcher Jamie Sanchez discovers a vulnerability in Snapchat whereby hackers can freeze a person's phone by sending the phone a lot of snaps.|
|2014||February 10, 11||Security||Snapchat is hacked to send people spam pictures of fruit smoothies.|
|2014||March||Acquisition||Snap secretly acquires Vergence Labs for $15 million.|
|2014||May||Acquisition||The company acquires the software company AddLive.|
|2014||May||Legal||The company reaches an agreement with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The government agency alleged that the company had exaggerated to the public the degree to which mobile app images and photos could actually be made to disappear. Under the terms of the agreement, Snapchat was not fined, but the app service agreed to have its claims and policies monitored by an independent party for a period of 20 years. The FTC concluded that Snapchat was prohibited from "misrepresenting the extent to which it maintains the privacy, security, or confidentiality of users' information."|
|2014||May 1||Product||Snapchat adds ephemeral text chat and video calling.|
|2014||May 28||People||Embarrassing emails sent by Snapchat co-founder Evan Spiegel from many years before he started Snapchat are leaked.|
|2014||June 17||Product||Snapchat launches collaborative timelines based on events.|
|2014||August 29||Product||Snapchat updates its app, adding a "Live" section that allows people to follow events live.|
|2014||September 4||Product||Snapchat begins using push notifications for Snapchat Stories.|
|2014||September 29||Legal||After three years of legal wrangling, Snapchat finally settles its lawsuit with ousted co-founder Reginald Brown for an undisclosed compensation.|
|2014||October 17||Product, monetization||Snapchat announces on its blog that users will start receiving ads from brands under the Recent Updates section of its blog.|
|2014||November 17||Product||Snapchat announces Snapcash, a tool allowing people to send each other money easily through the app.|
|2014||November 23||Product, monetization||Snapchat includes a sponsored story from Samsung and the AMAs in its Our Story section. Although Snapchat has previously included topical stories related to the World Cup and Super Bowl in the Our Stories section, this is the first placement paid for by a brand.|
|2014||December 16||Product, acquisitions by Snapchat||Leaked emails from Sony Pictures show that Snapchat is planning a music feature, acquired QR scan company scan.me for $50 million, and acquired Vergence Eyeglass Cam for $15 million.|
|2014||December 22||Product, accessibility||Microsoft removes third-party Snapchat apps from the Windows Phone store at Snapchat's request. Since Snapchat has no official app, this means Windows Phone users can no longer use Snapchat.|
|2014||December 31||Funding||Snapchat announces that it has raised $485 million from 23 investors for its Series D round at a valuation of at least $10 billion.|
|2015||January 27||Product||Snapchat launches Discover, a daily feed comprising content from brands like ESPN, CNN, Vice, and Warner Music, National Geographic, Yahoo News, and others.|
|2015||February 10||Product, safety||Snapchat launches the Snapchat Safety Center, a section of its website with practical tips of how to stay safe while using Snapchat. The Safety Center launch is in collaboration with three nonprofits focused on Internet safety: ConnectSafely, iKeepSafe, and UK Safer Internet Center.|
|2015||March||Funding||Rumors of Snapchat's next $500 million funding round (Series E), at a valuation of about $15 billion, are circulated. Potential investors include Alibaba ($200 million) and Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia.|
|2015||March||Emily White, who was COO since December 2013, leaves the company.|
|2015||May 26||Userbase||Snapchat has 100 million currently active users, who send snaps at a rate over 400 million a day. It is also seeing 2 billion video views a day.|
|2015||July 1||Product||Snapchat changes its interface to no longer require people to tap and hold to watch. They just need to tap to the relevant video. This move is interpreted as being an adaptation to the increasing length of video content being shared, that makes holding down more and more cumbersome. A number of other accompanying changes are made, including allowing people to have a profile GIF: they can take five photos of themselves and an animated GIF will be created by juxtaposing the five images.|
|2015||August 12||Product||Snapchat launches a new mode called Travel Mode in its iOS and Android apps, intended for people who are traveling and do not want to use too much mobile data. In this mode, Snaps, Stories, and Discovery content are not automatically loaded when the user opens the app, but are only loaded when the user taps on the piece of content.|
|2015||August 18||Advertising||An advocacy group, Secure Now, is running an ad on Snapchat opposing the recent nuclear deal with Iran. The ad targets Senator Ben Cardin who agrees with the current deal and urges users to, “Tell Senator Cardin: No to the bad Iran deal!”. The ad uses a filter in which friends can share it with each other.|
|2015||October 12||Product||Snapchat gets rid of its 15-person team running the "Snapchat Channel" (its original content) and shuts the product down.|
|2015||October 28||Product||Snapchat adds slow-mo, fast-forward and rewind video filters. It also adds 3D touch capabilities for iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S+ users.|
|2015||November 9||Userbase||Snapchat confirms to Financial Times that it is seeing 6 billion daily video views, up from 2 billion in May.|
|2015||November 10||Financial||Financial Times reports, using Morningstar data, that Fidelity Investments has marked down Snapchat's valuation by 25%, from $30.72 a share to $22.91 a share. Fidelity had previously acquired a stake in Snapchat in May, and this is the first devaluation. Fidelity declines to comment on whether the markdown was motivated by the company’s performance, or market conditions, or both. Fortune reports that Fidelity has been marking down many of the companies in its Blue Chip Growth Fund, and Snapchat's situation is not unique.|
|2016||March 24||Acquisitions by Snapchat||Snapchat acquires Bitstrips, the company that makes bitmojis (personalized emojis). The news is broken by Fortune on March 24.|
|2016||March 29||Product||Snapchat announces Chat 2.0, a collection of product updates. The updates include Snapchat Stories auto-advance (moving to the next story after one story has played), over 200 stickers that can be used in chat messages, video notes, audio notes, video and audio calls, multiple photo-sending, and on-the-fly toggling between video and audio calls. Commentators find a connection between the announcements, arguing that the acquisition of Bitstrips might lead to the ability to create and send personalized stickers in the future.|
|2016||April 28||Userbase||Snapchat reaches 10 billion daily video views, up from 6 billion in November 2015 and 2 billion in May 2015. Reporting on the matter, Sarah Frier clarifies in Bloomberg News that this is not directly comparable to the 8 billion reported by Facebook, since Facebook counts a video as viewed only if the user spends at least 3 seconds watching the video, whereas Snapchat counts a view as soon as the watching begins.|
|2016||May 23||Product||Snapchat adds support for decorating snaps with 200+ stickers.|
|2016||May 26||Funding||Snapchat files with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission reporting its latest Series F round. The round includes $1.8 billion in funds raised. The funds were raised over a long period of time. TechCrunch reports that $1.158 billion of the $1.8 billion were raised since January 2016 ($650 million previously collected in 2015 makes up the rest of the $1.8 billion), and also reports a leaked pitch deck with revenue and userbase numbers and projections. The $1.8 billion total includes a $175 million raised from Fidelity that was announced in March 2016.|
|2016||June 3||Acquisitions by Snapchat||Snapchat acquires Obvious Engineering, a startup working on three-dimensional face scanning app called Seene (also called the "3D selfie startup").|
|2016||July 6||Product||Snapchat announces Memories, a feature that helps people find older content they have posted. By default, any snaps saved to the Camera Roll also get included in Memories, though the setting can be changed. It is also possible to search through old snaps in Memories. Memories itself cannot be accessed by others, but snaps collected from memories can be used as part of Snapchat Stories, that others can see temporarily. This also makes it easy for people to recover their snaps if their device is lost or damaged. Particularly sensitive content can be saved under My Eyes Only with passcode protection, but the content cannot be retrieved if the passcode is lost.|
|2016||August 2||Competition||Instagram launches Instagram Stories. The product works like Snapchat Stories: users can post 24-hour ephemeral photo and video slideshows that disappear. Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom openly admits that the feature is copied from Snapchat, based on the success of Snapchat stories. The feature is viewed as part of Instagram's goal of attracting users away from Snapchat.|
|2016||August 15||Acquisitions by Snapchat||Snapchat acquires mobile search app Vurb for $110M. |
|2016||September 8||Advertising||Snapchat is featured in a T-Mobile commercial.|
|2016||September 23||The company rebrands itself to Snap Inc. and unveils a pair of smartglasses called the Spectacles.|
|2016||October 28||Competition||Facebook begins testing in Ireland an ephemeral photo messaging feature available through the Facebook Direct inbox. This feature is seen as a clone of Snapchat.|
|2016||November||Legal||The company files documents for an initial public offering (IPO) with an estimated market value of $25–35 billion.|
|2016||December||Acquisition||The company opens research and development in Shenzhen and acquires advertising and technology company Flite and Israel-based augumented reality startup Cimagine Media for $30–40 million.|
|2016||December||Acquisition||A partnership is issued with Turner Broadcasting System that will allow integration of Turner properties on Snapchat, while cooperating with Snap Inc. to develop original content.|
|2017||January||Legal||The company announces that it will make the UK their international headquarters.|
|2017||early February||Funding||The company officially confirms their plans for an IPO in 2017 and its expectation to raise $3 billion.|
|2017||March 2||Funding||Snap Inc. goes public with an initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday, March 2, selling 200 million priced at $17 per share, for a total of $3.4 billion of which $2.5 billion would go to the company and the remaining $900 million to early investors and executives (the announcement is made on Wednesday, March 1). The share price rises to a little over $24 by the end of the day, corresponding to a market cap of $33 billion. The price rises by another 10% on Friday, March 3, but as of March 3, Snap Inc. still has no buy ratings from analysts.|
- Timeline of Instagram
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The genesis of Spectacles dates back to Vergence Labs, a small Los Angeles startup that Spiegel quietly acquired for $15 million in early 2014.
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