David Choe is rolling in dough


When artist David Choe first splashed paint all over Facebook’s first headquarters in 2005, he might have thought it would lead to some press and he could expand his graffiti painting business.

Little did Choe know what he was getting himself into when then-Facebook president Sean Parker offered him “thousands” in cash or, yes, Facebook stock in return for his work.

Choe, although dubious of Facebook’s prospects at the time (he called it “ridiculous and pointless”), took the stock.

Turns out this was a very profitable choice we doubt he will ever regret. Choe’s shares are now estimated to be worth upwards of $200 million once Facebook stock begins to trade publicly later this year.

Yesterday, Facebook announced their $5 billion public offering, making it one of the largest IPOs ever. The company is expected to be worth $75 billion to $100 billion.

Choe’s rags to riches story reads much like Facebook’s emergence from humble beginnings in a cramped Harvard dorm room.

Once an art school dropout, Choe is now rolling in dough and more famous as ever. Choe’s work has been featured in museums across the world and companies are willing to shell out serious cash (or stock) for him to design everything from shoes to t-shirts.

Choe got another crack at decorating Facebook’s Menlo Park digs last year, tagging up the new offices and even Mark Zuckerberg’s laptop.

Other major players in Facebook’s IPO include Zuckerberg, who currently holds 533.8 million shares, worth about $28.4 billion or nearly 28 percent of the company. Even the infamous Winklevoss twins own around 1.2 million shares they received from their settlement wherein they claimed Zuckerberg had stolen the idea for Facebook from them.

Facebook realized in 2010 they would need to start publicly reporting financial records in order to comply with regulatory requirements. By the end of 2011, the social-networking company had surpassed more than 500 shareholders and decided that trading publicly would be quite profitable for them.

The IPO is set to cause an explosion of millionaires and billionaires in Silicon Valley.

Who knows, maybe now Choe will only accept company shares as payment for his work?

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