The Snapchat drama: So who is Reggie Brown?

On the day that Snap announced it was going public at a potential $25-billion valuation, a bit of juicy news was pushed to the sidelines:

The guy who has long claimed to have come up with Snapchat’s concept of vanishing photos will not share the spotlight.

Instead, Reggie Brown will be in the shadows, counting the approximately $158 million he received after suing and settling with his co-founders Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy.

So here are a few things you might find interesting about this mystery man:

  1. Brown’s full name is Frank Reginald – “Reggie” – Brown IV
  2. Brown, who hails from South Carolina and  sports a full mop of blond hair and a toothy grin, met Snapchat’s cofounders while the three were at Stanford.
  3. Brown and Spiegel lived on the same floor of the freshman dorm Donner during the 2008-09 school year and soon became good buds.
  4. The friends rushed the Kappa Sigma fraternity in the spring of their freshman year, and lived there with Murphy the following year.
  5. Two years after Snapchat was created, Brown accused his friends of unfairly pushing him out of the company and refusing to credit or pay him for his contributions.
  6. Brown’s lawsuit claimed he was part of the founding team and had played a key role in getting patent approval for the app and even coming up with the idea of disappearing photos.
  7. Brown alleged that in August 2011, Spiegel and Murphy changed the passwords and forced Brown out following a big argument. In a 2013 interview with TechCrunch, a source told writer Billy Gallagher that “there was a big argument over patent filing. Then there was a huge fight where each person said terrible things about the other and then Spiegel changed the passwords and Reggie just sat and waited to file…it was something to do with who’s name was listed first. Literally a pointless argument. ”
  8.  The legal battle, which dragged on for the next few years, became one of the biggest startup dramas since  the Winklevoss twins sued Mark Zuckerberg over the creation of Facebook.
  9. In the TechCrunch interview, the source told Gallagher that he was in his room in the spring of 2011 with Brown and another member of the fraternity, neither Spiegel nor Murphy, joking about sexting when Brown came up with the idea for an app with disappearing photos. “Spiegel wasn’t even part of the convo at the idea’s inception,” the source told Gallagher. “Reggie [Brown] ran out of my room after he thought he struck gold and went to Spiegel…he just knew [Spiegel] would take him seriously and move forward.”
  10. Brown in his lawsuit claimed Spiegel “repeatedly exclaiming that Brown had indeed conceived of a ‘million-dollar idea.’”
  11. The $158-million settlement Brown received, first reported on Thursday as part of Snap’s IPO filing with the SEC.
  12. While it’s a nice chunk of change, it pales compared to the more than $500 million Brown had originally sought in his lawsuit.
  13. Brown majored in English, while  Spiegel majored in product design and Murphy studied mathematical and computational science

Credit: LONDON, ENGLAND – AUGUST 03: A finger is posed next to the Snapchat app logo on an iPad on August 3, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)



Tags: ,


Share this Post

  • Greg

    I assume there will have to be acquisition at some point from a company like Google or Apple. The product does at least have name recognition with millenials, although it seems that was due in part to Reggie Brown’s marketing contribution. After many failures with other product ideas, all Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy did was hang around long enough to cash the check (after lying and forcing out the other guy).