Discover Twitter's Major Investors

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Millions of Nigerians own a Twitter account today but if asked, only a few would be able to tell who and who are the brains and the money bags behind Twitter. Whenever you look at the story of how a social media company came to prominence, there is usually a long list of investors and people intimately involved in the founding and ownership of the company. With an organization like Facebook, the people who own the company are well-known and easy to discern. But with Twitter, things are not quite as crystal clear.


(Image Source: indiewire.com)

The issue with Twitter is that the company went public in November 2013 and the myths surrounding its ownership are still formulating. There have been stories of clandestine deals with Saudi princes and other mysterious investors who are just starting to surface. Let's unravel a bit of the mystery about Twitter and see who really owns this rapidly growing social media giant.

Evan Williams

Evan Williams is considered to be the largest single owner of shares for Twitter and Twitter's first billionaire. It is estimated that Williams owns 12 percent of Twitter's shares, which are valued at approximately $1.4 billion USD. Williams is an Internet entrepreneur who has had a hand in starting Twitter and the popular blogging platform, Blogger.

Jack Dorsey, Executive Chairman of Twitter

Jack Dorsey used to be the CEO of Twitter, but he stepped down in 2008 to allow Evan Williams to act as CEO. In 2011, Dorsey returned to Twitter as Executive Director and he has been in that position ever since. Despite his heavy involvement in founding and guiding Twitter, Dorsey maintains only a 4.7 percent interest in the company, which is worth around $440 million USD.

Dick Costolo, CEO of Twitter

Dick Costolo is the current CEO of Twitter who owns approximately 1.6 percent of the total Twitter shares. His shares are estimated to be worth approximately $150 million USD.

Peter Fenton, Director of Benchmark Capital

One of the myths that grew from the initial public offering of Twitter was that Peter Fenton personally owned 6.7 percent of the Twitter shares. The truth is that Fenton is the director of Benchmark Capital and it was Benchmark Capital who actually bought those shares. Today, Benchmark's 6.7 percent interest in Twitter is estimated to be worth around $630 million USD.

Suhail Rizvi, Founder and CIO of Rizvi Traverse

Despite filing documents to become a public company, Twitter has managed to keep many of its investors well protected. One of those more secretive investors is an investment firm known as Rizvi Traverse. Much of what we know about Rizvi Traverse and its CIO Suhail Rizvi are rumors. There are almost no known pictures of Suhail Rizvi available, and his ties to significant investors such as the royal family of Saudi Arabia are hard to confirm.

It is estimated that Rizvi Traverse owns approximately 18 percent of Twitter, which is valued to be around $1.7 billion USD. The mystery surrounding one of Twitter's largest investors has helped to bring the company's IPO story into the realm of mythology.

Other Investors

Twitter is still a growing company that is attracting large-scale investors. Some of the institutional and individual investors who currently own a portion of Twitter are:

JP Morgan Chase and Company - 5.94 percent
Morgan Stanley - 5.29 percent
Insight Holdings Group - 2.70 percent
The Vanguard Group - 1.94 percent
 
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