The popularity of sending goofy photos that disappear is translating into great riches for the two guys who came up with the idea for Snapchat. Cofounders Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy each have a 22.4% stake in startup Snap Inc. (the parent of Snapchat), according a regulatory filing on Thursday announcing the company’s plans to go public.
At Snap’s current private valuation of $18 billion, FORBES estimates that Spiegel and Murphy currently each have a net worth of approximately $4 billion.
Spiegel and Murphy’s stakes are based on the company’s share count as of December 31, 2016, and do not include additional restricted stock units (RSUs) or options that could vest ahead of the company’s public offering. A spokesperson for Snap declined to comment on the founders’ ownership.
According to the prospectus, Spiegel will be awarded another 3% stake in the company in the form of RSUs that will vest immediately upon completion of the public offering. The bonus was approved by the board of directors and intended to “motivate him to continue growing” Snap towards an IPO, according to the prospectus.
With Snap aiming to go public at a valuation of $20 billion to $25 billion, Spiegel and Murphy could both see a substantial bump in their net worths at IPO. After he gets his 3% bonus, Spiegel will own 25.4% of Snap, valuing his stake as high as $6.35 billion if Snap does indeed hit its $25 billion target.
FORBES previously estimated that Spiegel owned 12% and Murphy owned 10% of Snap. Spiegel, 26, was the youngest billionaire on the 2016 Forbes 400 list of America’s richest people for the second year in a row with an estimated $2.1 billion fortune. At 28, Murphy also appeared on The 2016 Forbes 400 with an estimated $1.8 billion fortune.
Spiegel and Murphy each have 44.3% voting control of Snap due to a special stock structure at the company. Snap’s shares are split into three classes: non-voting Class A shares, Class B shares entitled to one vote and Class C shares entitled to 10 votes. Spiegel and Murphy own 100% of the Class C shares, giving them the majority of the voting rights pre-IPO. The prospectus did not include what the voting rights will be after the public offering.
Spiegel was the youngest self-made billionaire in the world before Stripe cofounder John Collison, who is two months his junior, joined the three comma club in November 2016 along with his brother Patrick Collison when Stripe raised funding at a $9.2 billion valuation. The Snapchat and Stripe cofounders are the only self-made billionaires in the world under the age of 30.
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