A former employee of Snapchat has made an open disclosure about CEO Evan Spiegel. The CEO had stated that India was ‘too poor’ for Snapchat to expand its base there. The denigrating remarks came to light after the unedited version of the statement was submitted by former employee Anthony Pompliano, who is suing the company for breach of ethics,was put out by Snapchat.

The former employee stated that during a discussion with the CEO in 2015 he had recommended the company’s expansion to countries which seemed lucrative.  He had also pointed out the company’s failure in realising its full potential. But even before he could make his point clear he was interrupted by the CEO who went on to say, “This app is only for rich people.  I don’t want to expand into poor countries like India and Spain.

The lawsuit was filed based on Anthony’s 3 week tenure at Snapchat. In the lawsuit he even accused the company of inflating numbers about user data such as registration and retention rates.  Even top executives had been misdirected about business metrics.

Evan Spiegel chose to ignore the fact that India is the second largest market for smartphones in the world.  We are also the fastest growing nation when it comes to handsets sold or shipped. Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and Ali Baba’s Jack Ma are not fools to invest billions of dollars in the Indian market. These business tycoons from foreign countries were aware of India’s humongous market share before they decided to invest in the country.

There are 200 million WhatsApp users in India.  Snapchat has 4 million users in India.  A clear indicator that Spiegel could have invested more in India to reap the benefits. “What he uncovered was a wide spread, systematic failure in Snapchat’s internal controls over its user data, the suit claims.

Anthony has accused Snapchat of misguiding the investors deliberately in the 20 page long statement.  Snapchat claimed to have 100 million Daily Active Users (DAUs) when it actually had 95-97 million DAUs as per ‘Variety’ reports. User growth increased by 1-4% every quarter. Snapchat’s figures showed double digit growth rates every month. Now, we know who has a “poor mindset.”


Alok Shetty