Billionaire co-founder of Snapchat is 26-year-old Fil-Am

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By Ike Suarez In today?s world, a number of Filipinos ? and this includes Filipino-Americans or FilAms — are now starting to show they have the smarts to make it big in a knowledge-based and global economy. Case in point: US-based Fil-Am Bobby Murphy. At 26, Forbes Magazine has estimated his worth to be $1.5 billion and this makes him the world?s second youngest billionaire in the magazine?s list of billionaires. [caption id="attachment_27542" align="aligncenter" width="368"]Bobby Murphy via Twitter Bobby Murphy via Twitter[/caption] The only one younger is Evan Spiegel, who at 24, is worth just as much. He is Bobby?s fraternity brother at Stanford University and his business partner. The son of a mother who emigrated from the Philippines, Bobby grew up in Berkeley, California. Both his parents are employees of the California state government. Bobby?s route to financial success has been through technopreneurship, starting a business that offers innovative products and services based on technology. The services and products need not be rocket science. What matters is that they respond to society?s needs and the market rewards its creators for this. Which is what Snapchat is all about. An app developed by Bobby, it was launched on July 2011. Its latest version can send to a controlled list of contacts photos, videos, and graphics with the option for users to add text accompanying the images they send. In sending these images, users set a time limit of one to 10 seconds on the length of time recipients can view them. Once the limit expires, these images are then hidden from the recipients? devices and deleted also from Snapchat servers. Today, 100 million users mostly from the United States, utilize this app every month even as Snapchat has a valuation of $10 billion as reported by Forbes Magazine. The biweekly has estimated Bobby and Evan to each have a 15% stake in Snapchat and this is the reason why both are worth $1.5 billion each. Bobby?s journey to financial success has not been always a smooth one. Even at the start, there were bumps along the way. Which now takes us to the very beginning, which initially ended in failure. Bobby and Evan both were ?brods? and contemporaries at the Kappa Sigma fraternity in Stanford University. Bobby was a math and computational sciences major while his younger brod majored in product design. As frat brods and Stanford students, they collaborated in 2010 to develop an app, ?Future Freshman.? Its value proposition was to enable students, parents, and counselors to minimize the stresses accompanying the college admission process. Though fully functional, Forbes Magazine said only five persons ever tried to use it. This failed venture, however, only served as prelude to the development of the second app, which eventually became a huge success. Work on the next app was the brainchild of a third frat brod, Reggie Brown, who suggested to Evan development of an app able to transmit to recipients photos that could disappear after a while. By then, Bobby had graduated from Stanford and Evan recruited him to write the app. Mid-2011, work on it began and July that year, it launched. It was originally branded as Picaboo. It changed to Snapchat following a cease and desist letter from a company of the same name and in the photo book business. Snapchat began with $485,000 raised as seed money with succeeding rounds of funding from venture capital firms constantly raising its capitalization. Making it attractive to funders was its having instantly gained popularity from users mostly in the US, primarily those aged 13 to 23. Late 2012, it started to gain popularity also among users at least aged 40. That Snapchat came along when the ?selfie? craze started to spread worldwide proved to be an immense boost to its acceptance. In other words, it was the right app for the right moment. Yet another bump though in its success story took place in February 2013 when Reggie Brown filed a lawsuit against Bobby and Evan over Snapchat?s ownership. Bringing this about was his falling out with them in August 2011. This caused his being left out of the company. He claimed part ownership in it. In September 2014, the suit was amicably settled with the details undisclosed. The legal bump notwithstanding, Snapchat continued to grow and gain status as a serious player in the IT industry. So much so that according to the Wall Street Journal, Facebook offered to buy it in November 2013. The offer was $3 billion, but was turned down. Meanwhile, funding by VCs continued and its last such funding took place last December. This brought about an infusion of $485 million from 23 investors. This is the reason why Snapchat today has been valued at $10 billion and Bobby?s worth at $1.5 billion. Amid all these, Bobby?s role has been that of CTO or chief technology officer. As with most techies, he prefers to keep a low profile. A rare news photo of him on the Internet though shows him to be quite Pinoy in appearance. Somewhat chubby, he is kayumanggi in complexion. As the IT brain of a tech company that has made it big financially, he has done all Filipinos proud and all Filipinos should be proud of him in return.]]>

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