Timeline of Snapchat

Last updated

The following is a timeline of the history of the photo messaging software Snapchat.


Basic timeline

Time periodDevelopment summaryMore details
April 2011 December 2012Conception and initial launchSnapchat is conceived by Stanford graduate students. Initial versions are launched and an initial userbase is obtained.
December 2014 August 2016Aggressive fundraising, focus on video, more product iterationsSnapchat 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. [1]
September 2016 presentRebranding and preparation for IPOThe company rebrands itself from "Snapchat Inc." to "Snap Inc." and unveils the Spectacles. [2] [3] [4] It also prepares for an initial public offering (IPO) in 2017. [5] [6] [7] [8] The IPO occurs on Thursday, March 2, 2017. [9] [10]

Full timeline

YearMonth and dateEvent typeDetails
2011AprilCreationSnapchat co-founder Reggie Brown creates the idea for an ephemeral messaging platform. [11]
2011JulyCreationSnapchat first launches from Evan Spiegel's father's living room under the name Picaboo, as an iOS-only app. [11] [12] [13]
2012March/AprilFundingAfter Spiegel and Bobby Murphy force Reggie Brown out of the company, they re-incorporate as Snapchat, and begin to acknowledge the idea as theirs alone, giving no recognition to Reggie Brown. Subsequently, 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. [14] [15]
2012May 12UserbaseSnapchat is processing about 25 images a second. [14] [15]
2012October 29UserbaseSnapchat says that users are sharing about 20 million images a day, or about 231 per second. For comparison, when Instagram had 10 million users it processed 25 photos a second. [15]
2012October 29ProductSnapchat launches an Android app. [15] [16]
2012December 12FundingSnapchat 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. [17] [18]
2012December 14ProductSnapchat releases video sharing and begins prototyping monetization features. [19]
2012December 21CompetitionSocial 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. [20] [21] [22]
2013February 8FundingSnapchat 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. [23] This is the same as the funding round rumored on December 12, 2012. [24]
2013February 8UserbaseSnapchat users are now sending over 60 million snaps a day, or about 700 snaps a second. [24]
2013February 21ProductSnapchat launches video sharing on its Android app after ten days of quiet beta testing. [25]
2013February 27LegalSnapchat 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 its 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." [26]
2013April 16UserbaseAt 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. [27] On the same day, a post on the Snapchat blog notes that the company is facing spam problems. [28] [29]
2013June 22FundingSnapchat 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. [30] [31] [32]
2013July 1LegalDocuments 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. [33]
2013August 7Competition Facebook starts allowing people to send Instagrams with its Messenger product, a move that is widely seen as a competitive response to Snapchat. [34]
2013September 9ProductSnapchat releases Snapchat Micro, an app for the Galaxy Gear smartwatch. [35]
2013September 9UserbaseSnapchat CEO Evan Spiegel reports that Snapchat users are now sharing 350 million photographs a day (about 4000 per second). [36]
2013October 3ProductSnapchat 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. [37]
2013November 13Potential 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. [38]
2013November 19UserbaseSnapchat users are now sharing 400 million snaps a day (about 4500 per second), more than Facebook. [39]
2013DecemberSnapchat hires Emily White as COO. [40]
2013December 11FundingSnapchat raises $50 million in Series C funding from Coatue Management. [41] [42] [43]
2013December 20ProductSnapchat rolls out a change that allows users to replay one snap a day, thereby sacrificing some of its ephemerality. [44] [45]
2013–2014December 27 – January 9SecurityA security flaw in Snapchat's Find Friends feature leads to 4.6 million usernames and phone numbers being leaked. [46] [47] Snapchat promises to work on beefing up security quickly. [48] On January 9, Snapchat rolls out an update that allows people to opt out of the Find Friends feature. [49]
2014January 21SecuritySnapchat introduces Snap-tchas (a wordplay on CAPTCHAs) to deter spam and improve security, but hackers find workarounds within hours. [50]
2014February 7SecuritySecurity researcher Jamie Sanchez discovers a vulnerability in Snapchat whereby hackers can freeze a person's phone by sending the phone a lot of snaps. [51] [52]
2014February 10, 11SecuritySnapchat is hacked to send people spam pictures of fruit smoothies. [53] [54]
2014MarchAcquisitionSnap secretly acquires Vergence Labs for $15 million. [55] [56]
2014MayAcquisitionThe company acquires the software company AddLive. [57]
2014MayLegalThe company reaches an agreement with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). [58] 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." [59]
2014May 1ProductSnapchat adds ephemeral text chat and video calling. [60]
2014May 9CompetitionFacebook removes Poke From the iOS App Store after 2 years, ending its direct competition with Snapchat. [61]
2014May 28PeopleEmbarrassing emails sent by Snapchat co-founder Evan Spiegel from many years before he started Snapchat are leaked. [62]
2014June 17ProductSnapchat launches collaborative timelines based on events. [63] [64] [65]
2014August 29ProductSnapchat updates its app, adding a "Live" section that allows people to follow events live. [66] [67] [68]
2014September 4ProductSnapchat begins using push notifications for Snapchat Stories. [69]
2014September 29LegalAfter three years of legal wrangling, Snapchat finally settles its lawsuit with ousted co-founder Reginald Brown for an undisclosed compensation. [70]
2014October 10SecurityHundreds of thousands of Snapchat photos are leaked. Snapchat does not appear to be at fault: the leak seems to be from SnapSaved, a service that allows people to receive snaps and archives all the snaps it receives, and Snapchat explicitly states in its terms of use that users should not connect Snapchat with third-party applications. [71] [72] [73]
2014October 17Product, monetizationSnapchat announces on its blog that users will start receiving ads from brands under the Recent Updates section of its blog. [74] [75]
2014November 17ProductSnapchat announces Snapcash, a tool allowing people to send each other money easily through the app. [76] [77] [78]
2014November 23Product, monetizationSnapchat 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. [79]
2014December 16Product, 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. [80]
2014December 22Product, accessibility Microsoft removes third-party Snapchat apps from the Windows Phone store at Snapchat's request. [81] Since Snapchat has no official app, this means Windows Phone users can no longer use Snapchat. [82]
2014December 31FundingSnapchat announces that it has raised $485 million from 23 investors for its Series D round at a valuation of at least $10 billion. [83] [84]
2015January 27ProductSnapchat launches Discover, a daily feed comprising content from brands like ESPN, CNN, Vice, and Warner Music, National Geographic, Yahoo News, and others. [85] [86]
2015February 10Product, safetySnapchat 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. [87] [88]
2015MarchFundingRumors 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 Al Waleed bin Talal Al Saud of Saudi Arabia. [89] [90]
2015March Emily White, who was COO since December 2013, leaves the company. [91]
2015May 26UserbaseSnapchat has 100 million currently active users, who send snaps at a rate over 400 million a day. [92] It is also seeing 2 billion video views a day. [93]
2015July 1ProductSnapchat 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. [94]
2015August 12ProductSnapchat 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. [95]
2015August 18AdvertisingAn 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. [96] [97]
2015September 16ProductSnapchat introduces 'Lenses', augmented reality filters that are available for use in video and photo capture. Lenses are initially limited to 7 filters, created internally by the Snapchat team. [98]
2015October 12ProductSnapchat gets rid of its 15-person team running the "Snapchat Channel" (its original content) and shuts the product down. [99] [100]
2015October 28ProductSnapchat adds slow-mo, fast-forward and rewind video filters. It also adds 3D touch capabilities for iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S+ users. [101] [102]
2015November 9UserbaseSnapchat confirms to Financial Times that it is seeing 6 billion daily video views, up from 2 billion in May. [103] [104]
2015November 10Financial 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. [105] [106] 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. [107]
2016March 24Acquisitions by SnapchatSnapchat acquires Bitstrips, the company that makes bitmojis (personalized emojis). The news is broken by Fortune on March 24. [108]
2016March 29ProductSnapchat 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. [109] [110] 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. [111]
2016April 28UserbaseSnapchat 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. [1]
2016May 23ProductSnapchat adds support for decorating snaps with 200+ stickers. [112]
2016May 26FundingSnapchat files with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission reporting its latest Series F round. The round includes $1.8 billion in funds raised. [113] 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. [114] The $1.8 billion total includes a $175 million raised from Fidelity that was announced in March 2016. [114] [115]
2016June 3Acquisitions by SnapchatSnapchat acquires Obvious Engineering, a startup working on three-dimensional face scanning app called Seene (also called the "3D selfie startup"). [116] [117]
2016July 6ProductSnapchat 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. [118]
2016August 2CompetitionInstagram launches Instagram Stories. The product works like Snapchat Stories: users can post 24-hour ephemeral photo and video slideshows that disappear. [119] Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom openly admits that the feature is copied from Snapchat, based on the success of Snapchat stories. [120] The feature is viewed as part of Instagram's goal of attracting users away from Snapchat. [121]
2016August 15Acquisitions by SnapchatSnapchat acquires mobile search app Vurb for $110M. [122]
2016September 8AdvertisingSnapchat is featured in a T-Mobile commercial. [123]
2016September 23The company rebrands itself to Snap Inc. and unveils a pair of smartglasses called the Spectacles. [2] [3] [4]
2016October 28CompetitionFacebook begins testing in Ireland an ephemeral photo messaging feature available through the Facebook Direct inbox. This feature is seen as a clone of Snapchat. [124] [125]
2016NovemberLegalThe company files documents for an initial public offering (IPO) with an estimated market value of $25–35 billion. [5] [6] [7]
2016DecemberAcquisitionThe company opens research and development in Shenzhen and acquires advertising and technology company Flite and Israel-based augmented reality startup Cimagine Media for $30–40 million. [126] [127] [128] [129]
2016DecemberAcquisitionA 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. [130]
2017JanuaryLegalThe company announces that it will make the UK their international headquarters. [131]
2017Early FebruaryFundingThe company officially confirms their plans for an IPO in 2017 and its expectation to raise $3 billion. [8]
2017March 2FundingSnap 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). [9] The share price rises to a little over $24 by the end of the day, corresponding to a market cap of $33 billion. [132] The price rises by another 10% on Friday, March 3, but as of March 3, Snap Inc. still has no buy ratings from analysts. [10] [133]
2017June 21ProductSnapchat launches location sharing with a new feature called Snap Map. Snap Map lets you share your current location, which appears to friends on a map and updates when you open Snapchat. [134]
2022February 23How ToSnapchat launches the ability for users to change their usernames. Usernames are only able to be changed once a year and any previous usernames can no longer be used by them or any other user. [135]
2022September 30How ToYou have two names on Snapchat: your username and your screen name. Your username only appears on your profile and is used to help friends and family find your account. However, your display name will appear above your Snap and Stories, on the Snap Map, and everyone’s feed. [136]
2023January 31CompetitionSnapchat+ Passes 2 Million Subscribers
2023February 10LegalSnapchat shuts down the ability to run sponsored Filters
2023February 16LegalSnapchat reaches 750 million monthly active users
2023February 27CompetitionSnap launches ‘My AI’ (a new AI chatbot that adds OpenAI’s ChatGPT inside Snapchat)
2023March 31LegalSnapchat shuts down the ability to run On-Demand Geofilters

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