Snapchat resolves ownership dispute - Mobile World Live

Snapchat resolves ownership dispute

10 SEP 2014

Snapchat announced it has settled its dispute with a former employee regarding ownership of the company, which was recently valued at $10 billion.

Evan Spiegel, Snapchat’s CEO, and Robert Murphy, its CTO, came to an agreement with Frank Reginald Brown on “mutually agreeable terms”. Little detail was given about the terms of the settlement.

“We acknowledge Reggie’s contribution to the creation of Snapchat and appreciate his work in getting the application off the ground,” Spiegel said, adding that he was pleased to have resolved the matter in a way that was satisfactory to Brown.

The statement acknowledged that Brown came up with the idea for an app that sends and receives disappearing picture messages while attending Stanford University. He then worked with Spiegel and Murphy to develop Snapchat during “its early and most formative days”.

Brown sued the company last year for breach of a partnership agreement, alleging that it denied the contribution he made in founding the company. In December 2013, Snapchat took action to protect company information by filing a restraining order against Brown.

In court documents filed in California, the company said Brown disclosed confidential information about the company to the media. Brown argued that he reserved the right to make the information public at any time.

Snapchat reportedly reached 100 million monthly active users in August as the company secured a new round of funding that valued the company at $10 billion.

Snapchat’s ‘ephemeral messaging’ concept has spawned a number of similar services and prompted Facebook to make a failed $3 billion acquisition bid for the company late last year.

Although it is yet to generate revenue, the service is proving attractive to investors due to its popularity with young users. Snapchat claims that more than 700 million pictures are sent via its service and more than 500 million stories viewed every day.

Along with the recent addition of text, there are signs that Snapchat is looking to monetise its service, with The Wall Street Journal reporting that it is to gain new functionality, including support for advertising.

The company is believed to have held discussions with advertisers and media companies about developing a new service called Snapchat Discovery, which will also allow users to read daily editions of publications and watch video clips within the app.


Tim Ferguson

Tim joined Mobile World Live in August 2011 and works across all channels, with a particular focus on apps. He came to the GSMA with five years of tech journalism experience, having started his career as a reporter... More

Read more