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Snap CEO Evan Spiegel: Here’s what I misjudged while going public

Melody Hahm
Senior Writer

Snap Inc. (SNAP) CEO Evan Spiegel doesn’t regret taking the company public. But he didn’t anticipate how difficult it would be to make the transition.

“I think going public was really the right thing for the company and certainly the right thing at the time,” he said at the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit on Tuesday.

Spiegel said he saw the “tremendous benefit” of transitioning from short-term venture capital to “getting a currency and liquidity.”

“Look at how tech companies grow up these days. A lot of people are trying to wait to go public. They look at their peers that went before them. And, a lot of folks, especially after the 2008 financial crisis, waited a long time to go public,” he said.

‘When you go public, instead of 10 investors, you have 10,000’

Spiegel, once having to report to a handful of private investors, many of whom knew and used Snapchat, said he underestimated how important communication becomes.

“When you go public, instead of 10 investors, you have 10,000. You have to explain how your business works and deal with all these regulations about what you can and can’t say. One of the things we’re learning is how to communicate the Snap story,” he said.

When asked about Snap’s relationship with Wall Street, Spiegel says that it’s been a “natural transition process” and that investors are rightfully cautious.

“Investors are fearful we’ll never be profitable and that competition will kill us. We’re focused on the business this year and will execute,” he said.

And it’s not just investors he’s having to communicate with. Internally, Spiegel said he’s laser-focused on becoming more transparent with his employees.

Spiegel regularly circulates company-wide surveys. This year, an overwhelming number of responses said that they want to “hear from him more.”

“I really am trying to do a better job communicating both with the world and internally. I’ve been spending a ton of time with our teams around the world,” he said. “You can feel the change and energy.”

Melody Hahm is a writer at Yahoo Finance, covering entrepreneurship, technology and real estate. Follow her on Twitter @melodyhahm.

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