Alon Cohen and Adi Tatarko, founders of online home advance and architecture belvedere Houzz, launched their aggregation afterwards active into difficulties adjustment their Palo Alto home in 2009.
Eight years later, admitting their aggregation is admired at about $4 billion, the brace is still active in the aforementioned four-bedroom adapted house.
That may complete apprehensive for the creators of a multibillion-dollar company, but there are affidavit for accomplished arch admiral to lay low. Startup founders are beneath acute analysis these canicule as questions appear about whether the clandestine markets may be in for a alteration afterward several blah tech IPOs.
The CEOs of tech “unicorns”—large, well-funded startups that are admired at over $1 billion—are beneath the microscope, back abounding aloft money at ultrahigh valuations based on the affiance of acute advance that may, or may not, be realized.
While not cheap, abounding homes of unicorn CEOs aren’t mansions by San Francisco standards, and hardly analyze to the all-inclusive Pacific Heights residences endemic by the brand of Larry Ellison. Ben Silbermann, CEO of Pinterest, the $12.3 billion beheld chase service, lives in a four-bedroom, $3.995 amateur home he purchased in the Fairmount Heights breadth in 2015, voting and acreage annal show. Brian Chesky, CEO of Airbnb, afresh confused out of the accommodation he’d lived in back ablution Airbnb in 2007 and into a $3.5 million, 3,225-square-foot home in the Mission adjacency of San Francisco, according to accessible annal and his spokesman.
Bay Breadth real-estate agents say their audience are acceptable afraid to buy adorned homes, for abhorrence of spooking investors alert of absent or affluence founders. “I had one actual acknowledged adolescent guy afresh who said he admired that the abode looked bashful on the alfresco but seemed abundant bigger already you were inside,” says Nina Hatvany of Pacific Union, a San Francisco brokerage. “He didn’t appetite his colleagues or investors active by and saying, ‘Look, he bought a mansion.’”
A scattering of entrepreneurs accept bought big—purchases that angle out as the bazaar declines. Evan Spiegel, who active Snap , the ancestor aggregation of online messaging annual Snapchat, bought a 7,164-square-foot Los Angeles abode already endemic by amateur Harrison Ford for $12 amateur in May 2016, according to advertisement abettor Stephen Shapiro of the Westside Acreage Agency.
With a pool, a gym and a guesthouse, the new advance hosted Mr. Spiegel’s bells to supermodel Miranda Kerr aftermost May. Mr. Spiegel financed his acquirement with an $8 amateur mortgage from Wells Fargo , accessible annal show. Snap absent analysts’ estimates for user advance and acquirement in July, and its shares are now trading at $12.56, or 26% beneath their IPO price. Mr. Spiegel didn’t acknowledge to requests for comment.
In April 2016, Matthew Salzberg, CEO of meal-kit provider Blue Apron , paid about $8.7 amateur for a three-bedroom, 2,871-square-foot accommodation at 10 Madison Square West, a anew completed Manhattan condominium. Blue Apron’s banal hit a new low beforehand this month, coast to $3.07, bottomward from an antecedent accessible alms bulk of $10.
Adam Neumann, CEO of unicorn workspace provider WeWork, has purchased homes in Manhattan, the Hamptons and in Westchester. His company, which is still abreast held, is admired at about $20 billion. Mr. Neumann has told accompany and assembly he awash added than $100 amateur of WeWork’s shares, a ample bulk to advertise afore an IPO, according to business assembly of Mr. Neumann.
In 2014 Mr. Neumann bought a $10.5 amateur Greenwich Village townhouse, accessible annal show. Built in the Greek Revival style, the six-bedroom home has been in a multiyear advance that involves a above amplification of the basement and a anatomy alleged a “stroller parking garage.”
While assignment on the townhouse is beneath way, Mr. Neumann and his ancestors are renting a four-bedroom, 4,207-square-foot accommodation at the abode architecture 18 Gramercy Park in Manhattan, according to accessible annal and a being accustomed with the deal. An accommodation hardly beyond than Mr. Neumann’s in the aforementioned architecture is on the bazaar allurement $46,500 a month, according to StreetEasy.
Last year, Mr. Neumann purchased the 60-acre Linden Farm acreage in Westchester for $15 million, accessible annal show. Built in 1929, it appearance a 13,700-square-foot capital house, as able-bodied as a stable, a benumbed ring, a basin and a tennis court. In addition, he and his wife own a home in the Hamptons, purchased for $1.715 amateur in 2012, accessible annal show. Critics of WeWork say WeWork’s appraisal is inflated, and it is a real-estate aggregation masquerading as a tech play.
In 2012, as online file-sharing aggregation Dropbox became accepted as one of Silicon Valley’s hottest bolt with a $4 billion valuation, architect Drew Houston paid $9.94 amateur for a accommodation accommodation at one of San Francisco’s best absorbed properties, the 58-story Millennium Tower. Now the architecture is mired in lawsuits over letters that it is biconcave (though still habitable); several alternate funds accept accounting bottomward the amount of their Dropbox shares.
It’s consistently been arduous for startup founders to banknote out early. Their net worths are usually angry up in aggregation equity, so to accomplish a ample banknote acquirement they would either accept to advertise a cogent cardinal of shares, or argue banks to accommodate them millions based on the accepted amount of their stock. Lenders about attending afield on buyers whose net annual is fabricated up predominantly of disinterestedness in their own companies, while investors anguish that allotment sales edgeless the drive of their entrepreneurs, or announce that a architect has absent acceptance in the business.
“It’s a chancy and possibly an aberrant affair to do—to acquirement a home you couldn’t contrarily allow unless you get near-term clamminess on your startup’s stock,” says Brendan Wallace, co-founder of Venice, Calif.-based adventure close Fifth Wall. “Tech aggregation valuations can change aback and badly in a absolute or abrogating direction.”
Chuck Green, buyer of Bay Breadth Capital Funding, a mortgage allowance in San Mateo County, says affair about aggrandized valuations is acceptable a above botheration back it comes to costs the affluence homes of Silicon Valley executives. Mr. Green says he has one applicant with an “enormous number” of shares vested in a aggregation that has not yet gone public, but lenders won’t booty it into annual back because him for a loan.
“A lender looks at that and says, ‘We accept no abstraction what the amount of those shares are, so we’ll amount them at zero,’” Mr. Green says. Ms. Hatvany, the San Francisco agent, says the affair may be impacting the high-end of the bazaar in San Francisco, which has been slower over the accomplished year.
As the aftermost dot-com apprehension proved, Bay Breadth homes can be added constant than the startups that paid for them. Eric Greenberg says he paid $16.1 amateur for a 3-acre acreage in the chic Northern California ascendancy of Ross. He bought the home back the bazaar was hot and he was a ascent brilliant for founding internet consulting aggregation Scient, says abettor Olivia Hsu Decker. Elton John sang at Mr. Greenberg’s wedding.
By 2002, Scient had filed for defalcation protection; it is no best in operation. Ms. Hsu Decker afresh listed Mr. Greenberg’s home for $18.8 million.
—Eliot Brown contributed to this article
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