Snapchat IPO makes Californian high school millions

Saint Francis High School in Mountain View made the investment at the suggestion of Barry Eggers, a partner at a local investment firm called Lightspeed Venture Partners

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The Independent Online

A Californian high school that invested in Snapchat’s parent company five years ago has reportedly made $24m, or more than £19m, from selling a portion of its shares when the company listed on the New York Stock Exchange this week.

Saint Francis High School in Mountain View made the investment at the suggestion of Barry Eggers, a partner at a local investment firm called Lightspeed Venture Partners.

Mr Eggers was introduced to Snapchat by his daughter Natalie, a pupil at Saint Francis High School, and subsequently made a visit to Stanford University to meet the app’s founders, Evan Spiegel and Robert Murphy.

Ten days later, Lightspeed invested $485,000 in Snap, Snapchat’s owner. Mr Eggers encouraged Saint Francis High School to invest a further $15,000 from a special development fund set up by a group of parents and the school's former president, according to the BBC.

Stocks in Snap rocketed by 44 per cent over the course of Thursday, the company’s first day of public trading, from $17 to $24.48.

According to Reuters, an intra-day high of $26.05 on Thursday temporarily gave Snap a market value of $29.1bn.

“It’s been amazing for us to watch how far Evan and Bobby and Snap have come since that kitchen table conversation between my daughter and me,” Mr Eggers wrote in a blog post published on Medium.

The BBC reported that Saint Francis High School sold many of its shares for an approximate total of $24m when markets opened on Thursday.

Simon Chiu, the school’s president, broke the “momentous news” in a letter to parents, thanking Mr Eggers for providing “a unique investment opportunity”.

The school, which currently charges tuition of $17,370 a year according to its website, plans to use the return on its investment to “make Catholic education more affordable and accessible to our community”.

Mr Chiu’s letter made no mention of how the remaining shares will be managed, but hopes will be high at Saint Francis High School that Snap’s stock price will continue to rise.

Questions have been raised, however, about how sustainable Snap’s impressive performance will be in the long run. Bloomberg has reported that the number of people using Snapchat slowed in the second half of 2016, and the company has yet to make a profit.

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