Large Ac­cu­mu­la­tion

Snowflake’s pub­lic de­but gen­er­ated a bliz­zard of ten-fig­ure for­tunes.


Snowflake’s pub­lic de­but gen­er­ated a bliz­zard of new bil­lion­aires.

Plus: Clas­sic Rolls-Royce mod­els go elec­tric.

When Snowflake pulled off the largest soft­ware IPO in his­tory on Septem­ber 16, it minted three new bil­lion­aires, in­clud­ing CEO Frank Sloot­man (above). Big com­pa­nies in­clud­ing Adobe, Lion­s­gate and Sony love Snowflake’s cloud plat­form, which helps them man­age enor­mous amounts of pro­pri­etary data across a va­ri­ety of apps and pro­grams while shar­ing it—safely—with busi­ness part­ners.

Among its fans: Berk­shire Hath­away and Sales­force, both of which bought in as part of the float. “The only prob­lem to­day was no one wanted to be a seller be­cause the con­vic­tion was so high,” Sloot­man, 62, said on the first trad­ing day, when the stock more than dou­bled from its of­fer­ing price of $120 to close at $253.93.

Some prob­lem. With a mar­ket cap above $70 bil­lion af­ter day one, San Ma­teo, Cal­i­for­nia–based Snowflake is the big­gest of a Covid bumper crop of tech com­pa­nies, in­clud­ing Asana and Palan­tir, to go pub­lic this fall, cap­i­tal­iz­ing on in­vestor de­mand that has boosted the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 by 24% for the year while the S&P 500 is roughly flat.

CEO Sloot­man is far from the only Snowflake ben­e­fi­ciary: The big­gest win­ner was co­founder and pres­i­dent of prod­ucts Benoit Dageville ($1.8 bil­lion), who started Snowflake in 2012 with Thierry Cru­anes, Snowflake’s CTO. The IPO pop even made a bil­lion­aire of the CEO Sloot­man re­placed in 2019, for­mer Mi­crosoft ex­ec­u­tive Robert Muglia ($1.3 bil­lion).

Sloot­man ad­mits that such suc­cess might make the com­pany’s founders a touch less hun­gry, but “Snowflake ver­sion two” should keep them busy for many win­ters to come. “They have to build it,” he says. “I have to sell it.”

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