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