For many entrepreneurs, the dream is to launch a kickass startup, grow it into a powerhouse and then sell it off or go public. In other words, to walk away with a boatload of cash in your bank account.
So what happened when a 23-year-old business owner was offered $3 billion for his company? He said no. (Reportedly, anyway.)
That's right. Not interested.
We're not talking about cheeseburgers here. Three billion -- in cash. Who the heck turns down $3 billion?
Maybe Spiegel wasn't stoked about working for Mark Zuckerberg. Fair enough. Other reports indicate that Spiegel might be holding out for a better offer.
More than $3 billion? For Snapchat? If he's holding out, Spiegel is either crazy or crazy like a fox.
A press representative at Snapchat could not be immediately reached for comment. But we found this fairly detailed profile of Spiegel published last month by L.A. Weekly. Below are some of the more interesting details about the young man who just turned down billions of dollars for his startup (which, by the way, isn't generating any revenue but has raised $73 million from investors):
- Spiegel was born in 1990, the oldest child of two attorneys. He was raised in a $2 million house in the Pacific Palisades neighborhood of Los Angeles.
- Growing up, Spiegel and his two younger sisters attended a private prep school in Santa Monica, Calif., where they were "assisted by tutors, some of whom charged up to $250 an hour."
- Spiegel was into all things geek but wasn't necessarily a geek himself. According to the report: "Yes, he was into computers as a kid, but he was just as proficient at snowboarding."
- In April 2007, Spiegel's parents divorced.
- By the time Spiegel hit high school he'd become an "expert party thrower," and then was made social chair of his fraternity at Stanford.
- At Stanford, his connections landed him opportunities to meet major players in tech, including Google chief executive Eric Schmidt and Chad Hurley, co-founder of YouTube. His mentor was Scott Cook, the cheif executive of Intuit.
- The idea for the Snapchat was born from a conversation about sexting among his fraternity brothers.
- Spiegel dropped out a few credits shy of graduation to work on Snapchat full-time.
- Snapchat is headquartered in a bungalow on the Venice boardwalk.
- Without much media attention in the early days, Snapchat relied on word-of-mouth among teenagers. In February 2012, the app had 40,000 users and was processing 60 million messages a day. (Snapchat says it now processes more than 350 million messages a day.)
- At that point, Spiegel and his other co-founder were "maxing out their credit cards" to pay for servers, etc.
- A former frat brother of Spiegel's, Frank "Reggie" Brown IV, is suing Snapchat claiming he was an ousted co-founder who actually came up with the idea for an app that can send self-deleting photo messages.
- Spiegel, according to L.A. Weekly, has the "Silicon Valley habit of mentioning that he is leading a revolution." Despite how "revolutionary" Snapchat may or may not be, perhaps this explains why he might be holding out for more moolah.