The photo-sharing app is getting some adult supervision. Now the question is whether the former Facebook and Instagram exec can turn Snapchat into a big business.
Snapchat is growing up.
The white hot Los Angeles-based start-up has just landed former Facebook and Instagram executive, Emily White, as its chief operating officer, according to The Wall Street Journal. It's a major show of faith for the two-year-old start-up that allows people to send each other photos and videos that automatically disappear in a matter of seconds. Lately, Snapchat has become, arguably for good reason, the poster child for modern tech start-up hubris. Snapchat's founders, Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy, have been derided for reportedly turning down Facebook's $3 billion acquisition offer and raising gobs of money without having a revenue strategy in place. White (who some are already comparing to Facebook's COO Sheryl Sandberg), could change all that.
Before joining Snapchat, 35-year-old White led efforts to bring ads to Instagram, which was also a pre-revenue company when Facebook acquired it in 2012 year for just under $1 billion. In an interview with the Journal, White said the move was a no brainer.
"It happened really quickly, but to have an actual COO role in one of many companies that is disrupting the communications arena is one I could not pass up," she said. "I think that Evan has been looking for someone who can help him grow and scale what is already something that has changed a lot of the way people think about the mobile experience."
To be sure, the hire suggests that Snapchat CEO Spiegel plans to make good on his promise to forego easy exits and turn Snapchat into a big, standalone company. Having cut her teeth in online sales at Google and then at Facebook, White stands to strengthen Snapchat's potential for building its own advertising model. Of course, that doesn't mean it will be an easy task. As Instagram's ad model has proven, users don't take to having their newsfeeds infiltrated by brands easily
As White admitted to the Journal,
"I am about to learn a lot about the way communication is happening right now and am excited to help grow [Snapchat] into a big business."