Robert “Bobby” Murphy named one of the youngest billionaires in the world
The introduction of the smartphone in the mid-2000s and the genesis of the start-up business culture ushered in a new wave of entrepreneurs who are making billions through technological innovations.
One of those billionaires is Filipino-American Robert “Bobby” Murphy, who, along with business partner and best friend Evan Spiegel, founded Snapchat, a popular photo and video-sharing social media platform.
On Thursday, March 2, a little under six years since Snapchat first launched, the company entered the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). According to Forbes, Murphy and Spiegel are now worth about $4 billion each, which is $1 billion more than what Facebook valued them in 2013 when it unsuccessfully tried to buy Snapchat.
Murphy, 28, acts as the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of Snap Inc. (the parent company created in 2016 that includes Snapchat, Spectacles and the Bitmoji app), in charge of the scientific and technology side of the company.
Described as a friendly, laid-back guy, Murphy makes the magic happen behind the scenes, authoring the app’s code even to this day.
Where Murphy is considered the “brains” of the company, Spiegel, 26, is considered the face of the company, akin to Apple’s Steve Jobs and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg.
“It’s often a case where the other person appreciates the fact that they can be unknown, stay behind the scenes and walk around without being noticed,” Ryan Jacob of Jacob Asset Management told the Los Angeles Times. “Some can’t believe it, but believe me, there’s a lot of people who enjoy that.”
Murphy is the son of a Filipina mother, Rosie L. Go-Murphy, and Richard Murphy, Jr., who has English, Scottish and Irish descent. Murphy was born in Berkeley, California and attended Catholic school before attending Stanford University, where he graduated in 2010 with a degree in mathematical and computational science.
In college, Murphy met Spiegel at the Kappa Sigma fraternity house and became instant friends. In an interview with Forbes that both he and Spiegel were not “cool”, so they “tried to build things to be cool.”
After a failed attempt at working on a startup called Future Freshman, a website designed to assist prospective college students with advice for college, Spiegel approached Murphy to create something new. Murphy was the one who created an image-sharing app in which images disappear after they’ve been viewed called Picaboo; this became the foundation for what is now known as Snapchat.
In just over five years, Snapchat has grown into one of the most prominent social media platforms in the world. As of February 2017, there are about 160 million daily active users on Snapchat, sending about 2.5 billion Snaps every day, surpassing Twitter in daily usage.
Murphy maintains a low profile and currently lives in Venice, California just a few blocks away from Snapchat’s headquarters. (Klarize Medenilla/AJPress)