Mobile photo messaging app Snapchat just won “Fastest Rising Startup” at this year’s edition of the Crunchies. If startups are really all about growth, then our voters couldn’t have picked a better winner than Snapchat, which didn’t just grow into a massively popular service this year, but also spawned a whole ecosystem of sites that teach its users how to get images out of the service before they are automatically deleted. Fastest Rising Startup was presented on stage by Danny Lopez, the British Consul-General in New York and Head of the U.S. operations of UK Trade & Investment, and Venture Beat’s Jolie O’Dell.
The runner up in this category was payment service Stripe. Other nominees included Lyft, Pinterest and Exec, the company that was maybe the most excited to be nominated for a Crunchie this year. Fastest Rising Startup was a new category at the Crunchies this year. Pinterest won “Best New Startup of 2011″ last time around.
The Snapchat co-founders Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy, who started the service as a class project at Stanford University in 2011, obviously had a massive year as their service quickly went mainstream over the last few months and grew to over 50 million snaps per day by the end of 2012. At the same time, though, Snapchat also got somewhat of a bad rep and is often equated with “sexting,” something that’s apparently pretty popular these days. Still, Snapchat’s success spawned a good number of clones, including Facebook’s Poke app.
Snapchat expanded to Android in November 2012 and is rumored to be in the process of raising an $8 million funding round to expand and scale its service.