48. Snapchat

Video and photo message app

Snapchat co-founders Evan Spiegel (left) and Bobby Murphy
Photo: J.Emilio Flores
Snapchat co-founders Evan Spiegel (left) and Bobby Murphy

Founders: Bobby Murphy, Evan Spiegel (CEO)
Date launched:
2011
Funding:
$143 million
Industries disrupted: Mobile, Social Media, Telecom
Disrupting: Apple, Facebook, Microsoft
Competition: Confide, Secret, Wickr

The brainchild of two Stanford University students, Snapchat is among the most popular of the services that cater to the market for ephemeral or disappearing messaging. The company claims that users can take a photo or record a short video, send it, and then have it disappear within 10 seconds.

Not surprising, the app is a huge hit with teens that have learned from older siblings and friends that there are some things that are better off not living forever on social media. It's also popular with college students. A recent study found that 77 percent use Snapchat at least once a day.

Read MoreFULL LIST: 2014 CNBC DISRUPTOR 50

The company made headlines recently when it settled charges with the FTC that it misled users by telling them that the messages would disappear permanently.

It turns out that Snapchat messages can be captured with a screen shot and then later distributed. The company has since changed the language in its privacy policy. Even so, the company claims that 700 million photo and video Snapchats are sent each day.

The company reportedly turned down a $3 billion offer from Facebook, and reports have been made about additional funding from investors. Previous investors include Lightspeed Venture Partners, Benchmark and IVP.

On the company's disruptive impact:

"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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