Life is good for Evan Spiegel.
Snapchat is reportedly about to receive a $US200 million investment from ecommerce giant Alibaba. It’s also in the process of raising another round of funding that would place their valuation at $US19 billion.
Spiegel lives a charmed life — and he knows it.
“I am a young, white, educated male,” he once said at a conference. “I got really, really lucky. And life isn’t fair.”
Spiegel grew up in the Pacific Palisades, a ritzy Los Angeles enclave just east of Malibu. He was the oldest son of two lawyers, though his parents divorced when he was in high school.
The family had five cars, including three Lexuses and a 1966 Mustang. When Spiegel turned 16 and got his driver's licence, he was given a 2006 Cadillac Escalade, which he parked in the gated Southern California Edison parking lot next to his school. Spiegel's father represented Edison during the energy crisis.
According to a profile of Spiegel in LA Weekly, the high schooler wanted a more fuel-efficient car since he found himself driving in the city fairly often. In a letter from 2008, Spiegel asked his parents to lease him a BMW 550i, which typically retails for about $75,000. 'Cars bring my sheer joy,' he wrote. 'I would really appreciate you validating me and all of my hard work by leasing the BMW.'
The Spiegels were members of a number of exclusive clubs, including the Jonathan Club in Santa Monica and the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club. They often went on trips to Europe, and even went snowboarding by helicopter in Canada. 'We live in a bubble,' Evan wrote in the letter asking for the BMW.
Spiegel went on to Stanford, where he met future Snapchat cofounders Reggie Brown and Bobby Murphy. 'We weren't cool,' Murphy told Forbes. 'So we tried to build things to be cool.' The three were members of the Kappa Sigma fraternity -- Spiegel was social chair, and judging from emails that were leaked last year, he was quite the partier.
Spiegel dropped out of school just a few credits short of graduation to work on Snapchat full-time. The team developed the bulk of the app in 2012, while headquartered at Spiegel's dad's house on Toyopa Drive in the Palisades. Though Snapchat moved to offices on the Venice boardwalk, Spiegel lived at his dad's house for years, in part because 'the rent is cheap.' The home's interiors had been designed by 'Friends' set designer Greg Grande.
That changed in November 2014, when Spiegel bought his own house in Brentwood for $3.3 million. It's got three bedrooms, including one with a terrace, and over 2,800 square feet of space.
But he's also done a fair amount of travelling in the last year, making trips to London, Saudi Arabia, Islamabad, and Russia.
Snapchat has received several awards from the tech community, including a 'Fastest-Rising Startup' Crunchie award in 2012 and 'Best Mobile Application' Crunchie in 2013.
Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba reportedly plans to invest $200 million in Snapchat at a $15 billion valuation. Spiegel also met with Saudi Arabia's Prince Alwaleed bin Talal this week, though there has been no news of a deal having been made.
Spiegel hung out with George Lucas and Vice CEO Shane Smith during the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit in October 2014.
Spiegel has been romantically linked with pop superstar Taylor Swift. The two reportedly met in December 2013 and dated secretly for several months. Spiegel was reportedly interested in buying Big Machine, the record label that represents Swift, though the deal never went through.
Spiegel has said that he wants Snapchat to get more involved in the music business, and it might even launch its own record label. Spiegel often tweets the music he's listening to, and it's usually from a wide range of artists. Here he poses with Epic records chairman and CEO LA Reid and singer Meghan Trainor.
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