Published On: Tue, Feb 14th, 2017

Meet the 28-year-old tech whiz who’s making $4 billion from Snapchat

murphyWhen it comes to Snapchat’s parent company Snap, which filed for a $3 billion IPO last week, you’re likely more familiar with the company’s CEO Evan Spiegel than its co-founder, Bobby Murphy. But as Snap’s chief technical officer, Murphy remains no less integral to Snap’s ongoing success than its better-known chief executive is.

Born and raised in Berkeley, Calif., the 28-year-old Filipino American co-founder met Spiegel at Stanford University while studying for a degree in mathematics and computational science. Now, with Snap gearing up to go public in March, Murphy is poised to have a whopping $4 billion net worth, according to Forbes.

He makes half of what Spiegel does

According to Snap’s S-1 statement filed last week, Murphy earns $250,000 a year — just half of what Spiegel makes.

From the statement: “In October 2016, we entered into an amended and restated offer letter agreement with Robert Murphy, our co-founder and Chief Technology Officer with respect to his continuing employment with us. Mr. Murphy’s annual base salary as of December 31, 2016 was $250,000.”

Although Spiegel’s cash salary will technically be reduced to just $1 when Snap debuts on the New York Stock Exchange in March — upon which both co-founders will reportedly have a net worth of  $4 billion each — it’s worth noting the huge difference in pay.

He’s the technical whiz.

Murphy, who originally met Spiegel in 2010 when both belonged to the Stanford fraternityKappa Sigma, was brought onto Snapchat early on to code the app after another project — an online social network inspired by Google Circles — failed to catch on.

“The notion is to change the notion of what a photograph is and use it as a means of communication and just recognizing that photos and videos are extremely expressive,” Murphy attempted to explain to Stephen Colbert during a rare TV appearance in 2013 with Spiegel. “You have a camera on your smartphone always with you. Why not use that as a way to communicate with friends and family? The disappearing aspect is an effort to bring the service back to normal human communication, which is ephemeral and transient and fluid.”

It was Murphy who led Snap’s expansion on the technical side. As the app evolved to include new features such as payments, content distribution, even hardware, Murphy oversaw the smooth expansion of Snap’s back-end architecture, which included storing and crunching Snapchat data on Google Cloud.

He’s even-keeled.

If Spiegel is historically known for having somewhat of a temper, Murphy has a reputation for being even-keeled. Not only is he extremely measured in the few interviews he’s done with the media, Snapchat’s first employee, David Kravitz, told Forbes in January 2014, he can’t remember ever seeing Murphy upset.

“I’d describe him almost like a monk,” Kravitz told the publication.

He lives 11 blocks from Snapchat headquarters

In late 2013, Murphy splurged on a new $2.1 million home in Venice, Calif., just 11 blocks from Snap’s headquarters. Designed by architect Larry Scarpa and artist Randy West, Murphy’s chic abode is reportedly a two-bedroom, two-and-a-half bathroom home with patios, balconies and roof deck. Not too shabby, given Murphy graduated from Stanford just under seven years ago.

By JP Mangalindan

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