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A Catholic high school just made millions by investing in Snapchat

March 04, 2017

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A Catholic high school in California may have just made millions of dollars through an unlikely ally — Snapchat.

According to CNNTech’s Seth Fiegerman, Saint Francis High School in Mountain View, California, invested $15,000 in Snap, the parent company of Snapchat, back in 2012.

On Thursday, Snap’s initial public offering (IPO) was so large that the school’s stake in the company “is likely worth millions,” CNNTech reported.

Simon Chiu, the school’s president, was on hand for the IPO announcement.

"It was a little bit of fish out of water for me," he told CNNTech. "I'm an educator. It's not what I do."

Snap's IPO started at $17 per share before ballooning into $24.28 per share, according to Axios. The company is now worth $34 billion, which means it is worth three times as much as Twitter, CNNMoney reported.

How it came together is a bit of a wild story. It begins with Barry Eggers, the founder of venture firm Lightspeed Venture Partners. He noticed his daughter and her friends were obsessed with Snapchat, and it piqued his interest, CNNTech reported.

"My daughter looked up at me and said: 'Dad, have you seen this app? It's called Snapchat,'" Eggers wrote Thursday on Medium.

Eggers approached Jeremy Liew, a partner at Lightspeed, about the app and suggested they invest in Snapchat. Liew connected with Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel and set up a deal.

Eggers also invited his daughter’s school to invest.

So it did. Though Lightspeed invested $485,000 in Snapchat, Saint Francis just put in $15,000.

"We didn't have real high expectations," the school’s former president Kevin Makley told CNNTech. "We collectively decided that this was going to be a ... small investment. So we'll take a shot at it."

OK, so, Saint Francis invested $15,000, and now its stake is worth millions. What does it mean?

Chiu penned a letter to the parents of Saint Francis, telling them that the funds will be invested in the school. The administration will work with the school’s board of directors to figure out how the money can best help students.

“While the full impact has yet to be realized, the return on this investment will allow us to accelerate the goals of our strategic plan, which emphasizes our commitment to make Catholic education more affordable and accessible to our community, recruit and retain outstanding faculty and staff, and develop innovative programs and facilities,” Chiu wrote.


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