IPO puts spotlight on Twitter co-founders
By Glenn Chapman, AFPSAN FRANCISCO -- Twitter co-founder Evan Williams, who sold blogging platform startup Pyra Labs to Google a decade ago, will cash in anew when the hot one-to-many messaging service hits Wall Street.
October 7, 2013, 12:06 am TWN
While Google didn't disclose how much it paid to get its hands on Blogger, which fueled what was then a hot trend in online journals called “weblogs,” the deal likely lined the pockets of co-founder Williams and helped him continue on as a “serial entrepreneur.”
Twitter's stock market debut promises to clinch for Williams, who tweets from his @ev account, a spot in the billionaire category due to his 12-percent stake in the San Francisco-based startup.
It also heralds riches for co-founder and Silicon Valley wunderkind Jack Dorsey and his 4.9-percent stake, especially if the hot Internet firm rockets to the US$20 billion high-end of its forecasted market valuation.
Dick Costolo will remain chief of the globally popular one-to-many messaging service, but as major shareholders the co-founders will be forces behind the scenes.
“It showcases the difference between perceived power and real power,” said independent Silicon Valley analyst Rob Enderle.
Enderle said that it remained to be scene how the power mix would shape Twitter, noting that Google thrived while Eric Schmidt served as chief executive but Larry Page and Sergey Brin controlled the course of the California-based company.
Paperwork filed this week with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission listed Williams as the Twitter executive with the largest batch of shares, while Dorsey's stake was second.
The filing was made public ahead of an initial public offering of stock expected by the end of this year.
Costolo, Williams and Dorsey could collectively be worth as much as US$3.7 billion after the company's IPO if Twitter shares soar and the company's value by Wall Street standards climbs quickly to US$20 billion, as some have forecast. With the IPO filing, Twitter was valued at US$10 billion.
Costolo was listed having a 1.6-percent stake in the company.
No mention was made of what share, if any, is held by Twitter co-founder Biz Stone, whose tweeting handle is @biz. Stone left Twitter about two years ago.
In this Jan. 27, 2010 file photo, Twitter co-founder and CEO Evan Williams attends a session on the opening day of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.