Snowflake’s initial public offering isn’t just creating new fortunes, it’s adding to the wallets of some of Silicon Valley’s biggest names.
Iconiq Capital, a multifamily office whose clients include Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, LinkedIn’s Reid Hoffman and Twitter’s Jack Dorsey, took part in multiple Snowflake funding rounds beginning in 2017. Its 12% stake in the company, purchased for $245 million, was worth more than $4 billion at the initial offering price of $120. By early afternoon Wednesday, the same stake was worth a staggering $8.3 billion.
Shares of the cloud-computing company stock surged as high as $319 in New York trading before dropping back to $247 at 1:06 p.m. Even at the initial offering price, Snowflake was worth $33.3 billion, more than Twitter and almost triple the $12.4 billion it was valued at in a February fundraising round.
Cloud computing “is a secular trend right now,” said Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Mandeep Singh. “We have already seen Zoom, DocuSign and Datadog do well this year. Investors understand the cloud business model well and that makes a high-growth company like Snowflake attractive.”
The San Mateo, Calif.-based firm’s top executives are also poised to see their wealth surge. Four of them — Frank Slootman, Bob Muglia, Michael Scarpelli and Benoit Dageville — together own stakes worth $3.7 billion at the offering price.
Only one of them, Dageville, was a founder. His stake is smaller than Slootman’s, who joined as chief executive officer from ServiceNow Inc. last year.
Concurrent with the IPO, former CEO Muglia is selling half of his 8.1 million Snowflake shares to Berkshire Hathaway Inc., which is also investing an additional $250 million at the IPO price. Such deals aren’t typically part of Warren Buffett’s play book, although in 2018 Berkshire invested in the initial offering of Brazilian fintech StoneCo Ltd.
Buffett’s move has boosted the already sky-high institutional interest in the cloud-computing firm, Singh said. It “definitely validates the attractiveness of Snowflake’s IPO,” he said.
It’s so far been a winning bet for Buffett, with the value of Berkshire’s investment more than doubling by lunchtime.
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