Before Michael Lynton became a board member and the eventual chairman of Snapchat parent company Snap Inc., his kids were addicted to the messaging app.
“My kids were on it early,” Lynton said at the Lerer Hippeau Ventures CEO Summit on Tuesday in New York. “My wife saw them going on it. She loved it because she thought it brought conversation back to the internet.”
“Her concern about the internet was that because there’s a permanence there, people don’t converse there the way they do in a room,” he said. “And she felt that Snap was doing that, based on what she saw the kids doing with it.”
Her interest led Lynton’s wife to reach out to Snapchat cofounder Evan Spiegel through the app’s customer support email address.
“She wrote, ‘Hey, I think what you’re doing is fantastic,'” Lynton recalled. “If you ever want to come over, I’d love to talk to you about it.”
Spiegel showed up at their Los Angeles home about “an hour later,” according to Lynton, and asked if they’d be willing to invest some money to keep Snapchat afloat, which they did. Spiegel would go on to raise hundreds of millions of dollars in venture capital funding and take the company public about five years later.
Lynton, who was previously CEO of Sony Entertainment before he resigned in January to join Snap full-time, said that he and Spiegel began their friendship by taking long walks between Snapchat’s headquarters in Venice Beach, California and Sony’s offices in Culver City.
“Evan, in my mind, is just an extraordinary individual,” he said. “And you could see from the get-go that he wanted to be the CEO of a very successful company and he was determined to make sure that company was public.”
Snap recently missed Wall Street’s expectations for its first quarterly earnings, and investors are concerned about heated competition from Facebook. But Lynton shrugged off the concerns on Tuesday.
“This is going to be a long journey, and there’s doing to be a lot of developments,” he said. “I would say we’re in chapter one of maybe a hundred-chapter book.”
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