Monthly Archives: July 2016

Snapchat parent could be worth

The sharemarket float of messaging phenomenon Snapchat is likely to make chief executive Evan Spiegel and his Australian fiance, model Miranda Kerr, one of the world’s richest young couples.

Snapchat’s parent Snap Inc filed paperwork for an initial public offering that may value the company as high as $US25 billion ($33 billion), The Wall Street Journal reported.

Mr Spiegel, a 27-year-old co-founder, is the driving force behind the company.

Having proposed to the 33-year-old Ms Kerr five months ago, the couple could be worth about $3.9 billion if the company lists at the top end of the valuation range. Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs have been assigned as underwriters, the Journal reported.

Under California family law, assets acquired before a marriage don’t have to be split equally in a divorce.

Stanford student

A notorious partier from a well-off Los Angeles family, Mr Spiegel founded Snapchat when he was a student at Stanford University five years ago studying product design and the social chair of a fraternity.

Snapchat was initially designed for sexting – the app was used to send short video messages that erased themselves after a few seconds. But it became a hugely popular rival to Instagram and a popular medium for advertisers chasing hard-to-get younger people.

The app is used by more than 150 million people daily, including 41 per cent of American 18 to 34-year-olds, Nielsen estimates.

Mr Spiegel turned down a $US3 billion offer for the business from Facebook three years ago. In May the company was valued at $US18 billion, according to regulatory filings, which suggest it has about 200 investors.

Mr Spiegel loves expensive cars, expensive hoodies and lavish parties. Before becoming engaged to Ms Kerr he was romantically linked to singer Taylor Swift.

Small-town model

Ms Kerr grew up in the NSW town of Gunnedah and won a modelling competition run by Dolly magazine when she was 13. She was the first Australian Victoria’s Secret model and the face of David Jones for several years.

In 2010 she married actor Orlando Bloom. The relationship last three years, according to tabloid news reports. Now the face of Wonderbra, Ms Kerr is sixth on Forbes’ ranking of highest-paid models.

After Mr Spiegel proposed, she posted a picture of her engagement ring on Instagram and Twitter.

Two years ago the tech blog Valleywag published sexually explicit, misogynistic and homophobic emails Mr Spiegel sent as an undergraduate.

“I’m sorry I wrote them at the time and I was jerk to have written them,” he told Business Insider.

At 25 he was crowned the world’s youngest billionaire by Forbes.


Tech companies pounce as allure

images-52When he started thinking about leaving Apple this year, Darren Haas briefly contemplated Uber Technologies, where many friends worked. Instead, the cloud-computing engineer pursued an opportunity he considered more exciting: General Electric.

Excitement and a century-old industrial company don’t usually mix in the minds of Silicon Valley talent. But Haas said hardcore challenges at GE, like keeping planes airborne and nations’ water systems flowing, sold him. Now, he pitches potential hires from late-stage startups on those same big projects, along with competitive compensation.

“You’re betting on a lottery ticket,” he said he tells prospects who like the idea of getting stock in a startup. “There’s lots of ups and downs. GE is stable.” Since he joined in June, he’s recruited several engineers from unicorns – startups valued at $US1 billion or more – a move he said would have been much harder last year when unicorns were riding high.

The typical trade-off between working at an established public company and a startup works like this: Young businesses generally can’t pay big salaries, but offer options that could make staff wealthy if everything works out. Older firms typically pay more, but you won’t become a multi-millionaire. Fading unicorn luster tips the scales in favour of steadier employers.

Fifteen months ago, online local search company Yelp said the “unicorn bubble” was hurting its numbers, including the cost of product development which rose three per centage points to 20 per cent of revenue.

“That’s just a function of compensation in the marketplace,” Geoff Donaker, Yelp’s Chief Operating Officer at the time said on an earnings call. “We’ll do what we can to kind of hold the dam on that whole thing and ride it out.”

Young rich that will inspire you

If you’re planning on joining the ranks of Australia’s young rich listers, it helps to be male, tech savvy and university-educated – and live in Melbourne.

An analysis of the top 25 performers in the BRW Young Rich List for 2016 reveals men dominate, with only two women making it in.

Both female entrants – Cyan Ta’eed and Melanie Perkins – work in tandem with their respective male partners, Collis Ta’eed and Cliff Obrecht.

Tech entrepreneurs are the clear winners in this year’s list with Atlassian co-founders Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar top of the heap with $4.68 billion.

The pair, both 36, met while studying business information technology at the University of NSW, which has produced more young rich listers in the top 25 than any other institution.

While a number of the young rich listers have multiple qualifications from a range of organisations, UNSW has educated five in the top 25, including Cannon-Brookes and Farquhar.

Ori Allon, worth $316 million thanks to his real estate technology disrupter Compass, gained a PhD in engineering from the university.

Collis Ta’eed, who, with wife Cyan is worth $184 million, did a bachelor of science at UNSW before undertaking post graduate study at the University of Technology, Sydney, and then launching Envato, a network of websites with more than 6 million members.

Another UNSW alumni is Simon Clausen, number 6 on the list with $391 million in bank account, who attended the Australian Graduate School of Management before becoming involved in a variety of tech businesses.

Technology trumps property among the top 25 with 14 of the rich-listers involved in tech businesses providing a range of services from email marketing, retail, entertainment to graphic design.