Q&A: Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel talks sexts and growth

By Barbara Ortutay

Associated Press

Published: Friday, Nov. 1 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT

A: This is something we like to ponder as well. One of the greatest benefits of the service, especially in the early days, was that it was 10 times faster than an MMS (multimedia messaging service) message. So a lot of people just liked it because the interface was so simple. It sent the photos so quickly. It was a lot faster than opening up a text message, going and taking a picture or choosing it from the gallery, uploading it —which took a really really long time— and then sending it to your friend. There are lots of different benefits to the Snapchat application. Obviously we haven't yet run the experiment of making the messages permanent but we have seen that people save messages they receive. Two percent of snaps that are received are screenshot (and saved). So there's obviously a lot of value to sending images quickly and if an image grabs you, or you think it's interesting or fun, it's always fine to save it.

Q: How'd you go about getting your first round of funding?

A: This guy named Jeremy Liew, who works at Lightspeed Ventures, one of his partners, Barry Eggers had a daughter who was using Snapchat. She said her three favorite apps of the world that everyone was using at her high school were Angry Birds, Instagram and Snapchat. And (Liew and Eggers) had never heard of Snapchat, so they were like we've got to find those guys. So Jeremy sent me a Facebook message. I ended up meeting with him and showed him some of the early data we had. That was the month we were not going to be able to pay our server bills any more. Bobby had a job that was paying for the server bills at the time. And it just got too expensive, so the timing was awesome. My dad didn't want to pay for disappearing photos any more.

Q: So what's the pressure on you now, now that you've had these investments? What are the paths for revenue?

A: Going forward there are lots of different revenue models. One we talk about is in-app transactions (selling extra content or features within the Snapchat app) because we don't have to build a sales team to make cool things that people want to pay for.

Q: Are you still living at your dad's?

A: Yes.

Q: How long will that be for?

A: Until he kicks me out.

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