The World's Most Innovative Companies 2018
Founded in 2011 by two Stanford students, Snap is the Los Angeles-based technology and social media company behind messaging app Snapchat. It is also the parent company of Zenly and Bitmoji, which were acquired. The company’s flagship product, Snapchat, is a camera application that helps people to communicate through short videos and images known as snaps. Zenly is a popular app based in France that allows users to share their location with each other. The Snapchat feature Snap Map was built in-house by the Snapchat team but similarly allows users to see their friend's location on a map (if the user has opted to share this) in the context of public Snaps. Bitmoji allows its users to create their own personal avatars and use them across email, text, and more on the web, in addition to within Snapchat. Snap is also very engaged in advertising, creating Sponsored Creative Tools such as Sponsored Lenses and Sponsored Geofilters. Snap's features have been widely copied by rivals such as Instagram, notably the daily photo and video collections called Stories.
Probably the social network that best illustrates the divide between millennials and the gen-Xers who precede them, Snapchat’s photo and video messages disappear after they are viewed. The app's focus on fun features like stickers, drawing tools, and augmented-reality filters has helped Snapchat grow to more than 187 million daily users.
In 2014, the company launched Our Stories, for the first time allowing users at the same event or location to submit Snaps to a shared feed. These have proven the perfect conduit for behind-the-scenes sharing from concerts and festivals, entertainment events, breaking news events, and more.
Snapchat Discover, launched in early 2015, created a new type of “front page” for news and entertainment outlets. Users turn to it to view short-form, video-driven content from brands like ESPN, BuzzFeed, and Cosmopolitan. Discover has become a way for legacy media brands to reach a younger audience in a totally new way. It now also includes Shows, which is original, TV-like content that produced by leading TV networks and entertainment studios.
In December 2017, the company launched Lens Studio, a tool to publish and share augmented reality experiences created in-house and by the Snapchat community. Since the launch of Lens Studio in late 2017, creators have submitted over 100,000 unique Lenses that have been viewed by Snapchat users over 3.5 billion times. Over 70 million people use AR on Snapchat every day for an average of 3 minutes per person, making the platform the largest and most engaged global audience for these new kinds of experiences.
In April 2018, Snap launched an updated version of their Spectacles and Snappables, an interactive, “multiplayer” AR experience.