Who he is: Reid Hoffman is probably best known to you and me not as an early-stage investor in Facebook, but as cofounder and Executive Chairman of LinkedIn–the social network for, you know, professional types (less FarmVille, more tiepins). He’s considered one of the “PayPal mafia,” thanks to his previous EVP status there. Demonstrating both tech-savviness and more ephemeral intellectual prowess, perhaps ideal for recognizing the value of Facebook in its early moments, Hoffman has a Bachelor of Science in Symbolic Systems and Cognitive science from Stanford, and a BA in philosophy earned at Oxford. He also personally invested in Zynga and joined its board of directors and co-owns its Six Degrees patent. There’s no answer to the Quora question “What’s it like working for Reid Hoffman?” but in recent chats with Fast Company we learned he’s a fan of big data, he revealed that while busy he can be a “grab a cup of coffee” for a chat type of guy, and if you watch his 30SecondMBA video he seems a pretty affable chap.
What’s his connection with Facebook: He’s credited with arranging to bring Peter Thiel aboard as the first investor, arranging the meeting with Zuckerberg. And he was so excited by the company he injected $40,000 of his own money.
How much he’s worth now: Guesstimated as north of $1.5 billion as of late 2011.
What he may earn through IPO gains: His $40,000 investment seems to have netted him a 0.5% stake. In a possible $85 billion company that would lead to $425 million in value.
What he might do with the money: Now a partner at Venture Capital firm Greylock, Hoffman would seem the type of person to use his money to help propel future world-changing companies to Facebook-like superstardom. For example, he’s a key driver behind the “Silicon Valley Comes To The UK” program, because he’s convinced he can nurture and inspire the “entrepreneurial spirit” he spots in Oxford, Cambridge, and London (though that probably disappoints innovative folk in Cardiff and Edinburgh somewhat).
How much he may make at IPO: At a hundred billion valuation, Hoffman’s 0.5% stake converts to $500 million of value. He’s joining the club of investors making the most of Facebook’s increased price prediction, and is selling over 900,000 shares, ready to net between $26 million and $33 million.
What he’s going to do with his cash: Hoffman’s no stranger to wealth, having seen his personal share in his company LinkedIn skyrocket by some $150 million recently. He’ll also be making a commencement speech at Babson college, presumably sharing more of his wisdom about enterpreneurialship–something he’s been doing a bit recently, including at the Guardian‘s Activate Summit, where he noted the pace of change of startup culture is increasing, heaped praise on Kickstarter and noted “the future is always sooner and stranger than you think.” Expect to see more surpriseing investments from Hoffman then, like his recent one into Wrapp, a Swedish firm making apps for “social gifting.”
Hoffman’s LinkedIn suffered a large-scale security breach recently, but this didn’t dampen his enthusiasm for future adventures. Positive about the expansion of mobile computing, he’s been quoted as saying “your car will have more lines of code in it than LinkedIn does today.” He’s also bullish about the future of social media, something he thinks Valley commentators may be over-zealously declaring over.
And that curious little firm Wrapp, which Hoffman is a main backer of, has been expanding pretty swifty, recently signing up 13 retail partners in the U.K. including some big household names like House of Fraser.
Read about others in the Facebook IPO Players Club:
- Chris Hughes
- Sean Parker
- Peter Thiel
- Dustin Moskovitz
- David Choe
- Donald Graham
- Jim Breyer
- Eduardo Saverin
- Li Ka-shing
- Jeff Rothschild
- Sheryl Sandberg
[Image: Flickr user joi]