Snapchat founders Evan Spiegel (CEO) and Bobby Murphy (CTO) are being sued by Reggie Brown. Brown was one of Spiegel’s and Murphy’s classmates at Stanford University. Brown claimed that he came up with the idea for Snapchat where messages would disappear after reading them. New information was filed on October 23rd by Brown. Brown is also suing Snapchat’s investors.
Snapchat raised $60 million in funding with an $800 million valuation led by Institutional Venture Partners (IVP) with participation from General Catalyst and SV Angel. Brown believes that he is owed a certain amount from that round of funding. He feels that he is entitled to one-third of the company, which now has a valuation of between $3-$4 billion.
According to an amended complaint, Brown revealed that Snapchat was created with the intent of encouraging a safe way to send adult text messages to each other (also known as sexting). Part of the evidence in the case is an e-mail that was sent from Spiegel sent to a professor for feedback based on research around that subject. In the e-mail, Spiegel wrote “I have developed a new iPhone application with two classmates called Picaboo (http://picaboo.me/dl) that allows users to send timed picture messages to each other.”
The complaint also reveals that Spiegel admitted during a deposition that Brown came up with the idea for deleting picture messages. Spiegel testified in the following way:
Q: Did you come up with the idea for deleting picture messages?
Q: Did Bobby come up with the idea?
Spiegel: No, he did not.
Q: Who came up with the idea?
Spiegel: Reggie did.
Brown said that he and Spiegel lived at the Kimball Hall dorm when they came up with the idea. Apparently Spiegel asked Brown if they could work on the application together. Brown said yes and the two shook hands. That night, the two of them worked on finding a computer coder to join in the development of the application. Spiegel decided to work with Murphy because the two of them worked together on a failed venture called FutureFreshmen.
Apparently the Brown even designed the logo that is still being used today featuring a ghost cartoon drawn in black on top of a yellow background. The ghost is smiling and sticking its tongue out on the right side.
Brown also named the ghost “Ghostface Chillah,” which the defendants still use to this day.
You can read the legal document below:
11/23 Snapchat filing