One High School Wins Big in Snap IPO

Saint Francis High School in Mountain View, California, made a small investment in a little company called Snap. That investment just paid off, in a big way.

Back in 2012, venture capitalist Barry Eggers, co-founder of venture capital company Lightspeed Venture Partners, became the chair of the Saint Francis High School growth fund.

At the time, Eggers’ two children attended Saint Francis, a private Roman Catholic high school in Mountain View, California. They and their friends were obsessed with a new app called Snapchat, and he saw that Snap, the company that developed the app, could grow into a very big phenomenon.

Eggers persuaded his venture capital partner that Lightspeed should lead the seed funding for Snap, and he encouraged Saint Francis to put some money toward the fledgling outfit, too.

Based on Eggers’ guidance, the school invested $15,000 in Snap, which gave Saint Francis about 2.1 million Class A shares.

Fast-forward five years to March 2, 2017, when Snap made its IPO. Saint Francis sold two-thirds of those shares at $17 each (the IPO price set by Snap), netting the school about $24 million.

Saint Francis president Simon Chiu was thrilled with the outcome of their stock sale. He said the school will use the money to speed the growth of goals outlined in its strategic plan, such as expanding funding for financial aid, providing additional training to faculty and staff, and launching a STEM program.

“This incredible boon will not, by itself, completely fund the goals of the strategic plan, but it will help lay the necessary foundation and give us a remarkable head start,” Chiu wrote in a letter to the school community.

Saint Francis established its growth fund in 1990 in order to generate additional revenue for the school. It’s had good luck with its growth fund investments, too; in 1996, the fund returned $2.1 million on a $25,000 investment in telecom company Advanced Fibre Communications.

But still, the payoff from investing in Snap has been huge for Saint Francis. “I don’t think there have been any other high schools that have invested so early in a company such as Snap,” Eggers told Quartz Media.

“Barry Eggers now joins the illustrious list of individuals and families whose foresight and generosity have enriched Saint Francis High School over the years,” Chiu wrote.

Saint Francis still holds about 700,000 shares, and if they decide to sell those off, they could provide an even bigger pool of money for the school’s growth fund.

Photo: Ink Drop / Shutterstock.com

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