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16. Snapchat

How millennials connect

Founders: Evan Spiegel, Bobby Murphy
Launched: 2011
Funding: $2.7 billion
Valuation: $17.8 billion
Disrupting: Telecom, social media, mobile
Rival: Facebook

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

If there's any doubt that Snapchat has found its prominent place in pop culture, just consider that in mid-May, professional mountain climbers Adrian Ballinger and Cory Richards chose to document their entire treacherous climb to the top of Mount Everest on the photo and messaging app. The company was started by Stanford classmates Bobby Murphy and Evan Spiegel (Spiegel is now CEO) as a way for users to send photos and videos that disappear after 10 seconds.

Read MoreFULL LIST: 2016 DISRUPTOR 50

The Los Angeles, California-based company has evolved way past that with features that now involve some of the biggest media and consumer goods companies on the planet. For instance, there are 20 Discover channels on Snapchat featuring media giants such as the Wall Street Journal, CNN, ESPN and Cosmopolitan. These media companies pay Snapchat to produce high quality, short-form videos clips that are seen every day by the platform's 100 million daily users. Advertisers, such as Coke, Pepsi and Marriott, to name a few, run ads Snapchat's Live Stories channel that focus on music, politics, fashion and sports.

The company is valued at an eye-popping $17.8 billion and includes funding from venture powerhouse Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. And even though reports have circulated that the company's revenues are only around $200 million, that hasn't stopped advertisers, venture investors, or young people from making Snapchat one of the coolest apps around — for now, at least.

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