Who is Bobby Murphy? Snapchat’s ‘Other’ Mysterious Co-Founder

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Who is Bobby Murphy? Snapchat’s ‘Other’ Mysterious Co-Founder

Early Life


Bobby Murphy was born on July 19, 1988, in Berkeley, California. His mother was born and raised in the Philippines and emigrated to the United States. His father is of Irish, Scottish, and English descent. While his mother emigrated, Bobby was born and raised as an American.

He spent his childhood in Berkeley where he attended a private Roman Catholic school named the School of the Madeleine. He went on to attend Saint Mary’s College High School for secondary education.

Quick Facts

Full Name
Robert Cornelius Murphy
Net Worth
$4.9 Billion
Place of Birth
Berkeley, California
Fields of Expertise
[“software engineering”]
Stanford University, Snap Inc, Snapchat


A stringent childhood education pushed Murphy hard enough to earn a position at Stanford University. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematical and computational science from Stanford in 2010. While attending Standford, Murphy joined a University fraternity, Kappa Sigma.

Arguably, his decision to become a Kappa Sigma member led to the formation of the team behind Snapchat. He met both Evan Spiegel and Reggie Brown as fraternity brothers.

First Steps

Right out of college, Murphy created a startup with Reggie Brown and Evan Spiegel known as Future Freshman, a website that was aimed at giving future college students advice when applying to colleges. While it was a needed concept, Future Freshman failed to launch.

Snapchat on smartphone
Snapchat on a smartphone

From the ashes of their first failed project, Spiegel, Brown, and Murphy paired together again to work on a new project. During the first year of development of the team’s new project, Murphy spent time working as a software engineer at Revel Systems, a software company that provides point-of-sale systems for restaurants. In 2011, Murphy became the co-founder of a disappearing-image messaging app named Picaboo.

As Picaboo, later renamed Snapchat, was the team’s second startup, they had learned the need to build capital funding and gain investor funds. Until they could secure the funds, Murphy kept the Snapchat servers running by using half of his paycheck from Revel Systems. Evan Spiegel and Murphy were co-founders of another organization started in 2011 as well, Toyopa Group, LLC which is stated to be a mobile technology startup lab.

Around 2014, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg expressed interest in buying Snapchat for $3 billion. When Spiegel and Murphy rejected the offer, Zuckerberg outlined a plan to crush Snapchat with a similar app being developed at Facebook called Poke. The Snapchat co-founders reacted by purchasing copies of Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War” for all six of their employees.

Once Snapchat had gained the interest and user base required to be successful, Murphy took the lead of the engineering and research teams as Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of Snap Inc. In 2015, he was recorded as the 1,250th richest person in the world as noted by Forbes Magazine. More notably, he was ranked as the #15 U.S. Richest Entrepreneurs Under 40.

What Is Bobby Murphy Known For?


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Bobby Murphy and Evan Spiegel removed Reggie Brown from the group and rebranded to Snapchat.

Reggie Brown, Evan Spiegel, and Bobby Murphy are the most well-known for being the creators and co-founders of Snapchat, formerly Picaboo. The software was created and released in 2011. By 2014, Snapchat users had begun to send 700 million photos and videos every day. The success of Snapchat lifted the company and the co-founders to fame and fortune.

Snapchat is an application that allows users to send/take/view photos or videos to other users that disappear after a set time. While it is a simple concept, the application stands alone ten years later as one of a kind. The app can be identified by its company logo which is a ghost in the shape of a bell.

As an interesting side note, Murphy has little to no social media presence despite being a co-founder and creator of one of the most widely used social applications. He does have a public Twitter account that boasts an impressive number of followers for an account without a single tweet.

Today, Reggie Brown is not often cited for his participation in the creation of Snapchat. After the rebrand from Picaboo to Snapchat, Brown was kicked out of the startup and given $157.5 million as compensation.


With the use of Snapchat expanding across the world, Murphy took the lessons learned from the endeavor to focus on improving technology to make better use of the software. His vision switched to new ways to interact with and create AR/VR experiences. At first, Snap’s Spectacles were a tool for creators to capture high-quality images and videos to use in AR content creation for social media.

The first three iterations of the product focused specifically on creating an intuitive way to capture what the wearer is experiencing at the moment. With the rise of VR headset ownership and the expanding XR industry, Spectacles has been working on an AR headset that can make use of the creativity suite already in place and dive into XR experiences.

XR Glasses are in short supply on the market, but Spectacles may just be the product that can change that. Snap Inc. intends to push the XR barrier with AR glasses and software to go with it.

Snap Lenses/Lens Studio

Image filters, or lenses, are software treatments applied to live feeds or captured images and videos to enhance or quickly edit. The concept uses deep image scanning to create overlays, quality changes, or mixed reality imagery.

Lenses were introduced to the Snapchat application on September 16th, 2015. At first, it was a novel gimmick meant to increase engagement by providing augmented reality features to its users. It quickly became the foundation for building filters and editing tools directly into the application. Slow-mo, fast-forward, and rewind filters were added before the end of 2015.

Today, lenses have evolved and become widely known in other applications as well. The biggest example of what Snapchat lenses have helped to create can be seen in another popular social media application, TikTok. With the Lens Studio, anyone can create their own filters/lens to edit live videos or take silly pictures.

”Ghost” Co-Founder of Snap Inc/Snap Foundation

Murphy is often cited as having almost no social media presence. He does not attend public events or interviews in a noticeable fashion. This has led to him being a sort of “ghost” investor/creator for Snapchat.

With the majority ownership of Snap Inc. shares, the co-founders pledged a venture fund under a new firm named Snap Foundation. The goal is to provide funding for the research and development of the tech industry in exciting and creative ways.

With Snap Inc. focusing on camera and social media technology, the company’s co-founders wanted to help other aspects of the industry grow. The Snap Foundation is their way of reaching out and being a helping hand.

It was established in February 2017, with the initial offering of 13,000,000 shares of Class A common stock from each co-founder over the course of 15 to 20 years. The foundation funds are intended to be used for education, arts, and youth programs.

Bobby Murphy: Marriage, Divorce, Children, and Personal Life

Net Worth

Bobby Murphy’s net worth has seen massive changes from his start to now. During the creation of the Snapchat application, Murphy was living on a salary earned from Revel Systems. Only a few short years after launch, Murphy’s net worth had skyrocketed to over $1 billion. At the height of Snapchat’s popularity, his net worth was quoted at $9 billion. Today, he is listed to be worth $4.9 billion.


As previously stated, Murphy does not have much of a social media presence. It is known that he has a wife, Kelsey Bateman. He met his wife while attending Stanford University, but there is no posted date of when his wedding occurred. Given his private nature, it’s likely that he wanted to keep the information to himself.

Today, Murphy and his wife, Kelsey, remain married and in a strong decade-long relationship.


Originally, there was a trio of creators that developed Picaboo, now Snapchat. Reggie Brown, Evan Spiegel, and Bobby Murphy worked together to create the prototype of the ephemeral messaging software. However, Reggie quickly found himself singled out from the group. After a disagreement, Spiegel and Murphy removed Reggie from the group and rebranded the application from Picaboo into Snapchat.

This move led to a long lawsuit in which Reginald Brown claimed to be the creator of the concept and the chief marketing officer. He claimed that he had created the mascot ‘ghost’ logo for the product while working with Spiegel for market promotions. He even claimed that the original LLC created by the trio, Toyopa LLC, was created to be the holder of the property and that he was an equal partner.

Murphy and Spiegel described Brown’s position with the developers as a type of unpaid internship that was rewarded with valuable experience. Spiegel claimed the lawsuit was an example of an opportunist who sought out successful startups to attempt to profit from the hard work of others.

The case was settled for an undisclosed amount that was revealed on February 2, 2017, to have been $157.5 million. The settlement also required that Reggie Brown be credited with the conceptual idea of Snapchat.

Bobby Murphy: Awards and Achievements

#15 of the Richest Men in the World under 40

The incredible success that Snap Inc. and its software have achieved has built Robert Murphy’s wealth from the ground up. He is often known as a mysterious figure due to his lack of social media presence, but that is likely because he continues to stay on the grind. Another sign of his success and wealth is house estate purchases that range between $12 and $20 million which is extravagant for a man his age.

Bobby Murphy: Published Works and Books

Snapchat Code

As a software engineer, Murphy is an author of the technology age variety. From the base code used as the framework for Snapchat to the foundation of the Lens Studio, Murphy has put his stamp on the inner workings of the software and the thinking behind it.

Bobby Murphy: Quotes

  • “We weren’t cool. So we tried to build things to be cool.”
  • “We’ve been fortunate to build a team and a company that is kind of resilient to some of the market perceptions of what we’re doing, and remains committed to investing in this long-term direction.”
  • “We view lenses as really a highly functional framework for doing a wide range of things.”
  • “We have this long-term vision of computing overlays onto the world, and this idea that applications move from 2D screens out into the spatial and 3D space.”
  • “It is about close friends communicating with one another.”

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is Bobby Murphy?

Bobby Murphy is the co-founder and co-creator of Snapchat and Snap Inc. He started his software adventure right out of college with some former fraternity brothers, Evan Spiegel and Reggie Brown. The result of their combined efforts was a worldwide social media phenomenon, Snapchat.

While Snapchat has taken something of a backseat in everyday conversation, Murphy is continuing to push the company in the direction of innovation. Aside from constant improvements and additions to Snapchat functions, Snap Inc is also on its fourth iteration of Spectacles. The latest model is intended to be an AR headset for capturing and interacting with the environment as well as performing basic computer functions in 3D space.

How smart is Bobby Murphy?

Of the original creators of Snapchat, Bobby Murphy has been the quietest. Evan Spiegel works as a managerial sort who can navigate business decisions swiftly. Reggie Brown was the marketing specialist and concept artist. Bobby Murphy is the software engineer who made the product work.

If creating Snapchat because it was a cool idea isn’t enough for you, he is also a technological visionary. The Lens Studio was born as a method for overlaying AR experiences through technology that was commonly accessible, mainly smartphones. This type of thinking translated directly into the modern era of innovation toward spatial and 3D space computation.

As an early adopter of the AR concept, Murphy pushed for direction toward creating a device that could be used to interact and create in 3D space. Thus, Snap Spectacles were born.

While this may not be an indication of his IQ, it shows his ingenuity and resourcefulness. Murphy is definitely an intelligent individual. If his project to create accessible AR Glasses succeeds, he may prove to be among the smartest of the modern era. Whether his intelligence can be attributed to his parents’ nurturing or the biological lottery, he is a smart one.

How much of Snapchat does Bobby Murphy own?

Bobby Murphy holds 44% of the total voting power behind Snapchat. He personally holds 113, 164,485 shares of Class A (around 21.8%), 5,862,410 shares of Class B (2%), and 107,943,924 shares of Class C (50%). He is second only to Evan Spiegler who holds 44.3% of the total voting power. Together the two co-founders have full control of the company with 88.3% of the total voting power of Snap Inc.

How old was Bobby Murphy when he co-founded Snapchat?

Bobby Murphy was the young age of 22 when he co-founded Snapchat with Evan Spiegler. Fresh out of college, he was catapulted into one of the most successful tech startups in the last decade.

Where was Bobby Murphy born?

Bobby Murphy was born on July 19, 1988, in Berkeley, California where he was also raised. His parents, a Filipino immigrant and a Scottish/Irish/English descendant put him through Catholic school to keep further his education and keep the family’s religious tradition. As is evident from Murphy’s actions and achievements, his parents did a decent job.

Where does Bobby Murphy live?

Murphy owns a few different estates and houses. He purchased the former Pacific Palisades estate and property on the Manhattan Beach Strand. However, he considers himself to be a California native. While it is not publicly known, it is safe to assume his primary house is in Berkeley, California.

How did Bobby Murphy and Evan Spiegel meet?

Bobby Murphy and Evan Spiegel met as members of the Kappa Sigma fraternity at Stanford. While Murphy was the only one to continue to graduate, the two continued to collaborate on different projects. Stanford University is also where Murphy met his wife, Kelsey Bateman.

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