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50. Snapchat

Photo-messaging app

Evan Spiegel, co-founder and CEO of Snapchat
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Evan Spiegel, co-founder and CEO of Snapchat

Founders: Evan Spiegel, Bobby Murphy
Date launched: 2011
Funding: $848 million
Industries disrupted: Telecom, social media, mobile

Snapchat, the photo messaging app that allows users to send photos and videos that disappear after 10 seconds, is making a big bet on the news business. The four-year-old company recently hired a top CNN political reporter to be its head of news. The strategy behind the move is to capitalize on the belief that much of Snapchat's future will come from the partnerships it strikes with media outlets.

Already, the company has signed deals with CNN, Vice and ESPN. In fact, its Discover feature—a product of its partnership with ESPN—are high-quality, short-form video clips about news events that are racking up some impressive viewership numbers.

Read MoreFULL LIST: 2015 DISRUPTOR 50

The company, started by Stanford classmates Bobby Murphy and Evan Spiegel, has raised $848 million in venture funding from firms such as Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, despite the fact that it hasn't racked up much in the way of revenue yet. Perhaps its 100-million-and-growing user base is attractive enough.

"It's just the very, very beginning of something we call ephemeral media—media you share that disappears. ... Traditional social media is a place where people want to look very cool. Snapchat is really a place where our users can send funny, interesting, embarrassing photos." -Evan Spiegel, co-founder and CEO

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