Snapchat's parent company is taking "founder control" to another level as it inches toward an IPO later this quarter. The company is planning to issue non-voting stock to investors in its IPO, as it did in its previous private funding round, according to the Wall Street Journal. In November, The Information spotted the move in a newly filed document in Delaware.
What this means: Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy will have more than 70% of the voting power and 45% of the stock.
In context: While a bit more extreme than past cases, dual-stock structures aimed at leaving founders in control are not unseen, especially in Silicon Valley. Facebook and Google are two well-known examples. The rationale is usually that the founders want to keep taking big bets or having flexibility without a board telling them what to do (too much).
The fine print: Snap's setup also includes some protections for public investors, according to the WSJ's sources. If the founders' stock falls below 30%, all shares will convert to common stock. And if either founder dies, his shares can't be transferred—a clear signal that Snap believes the founders have a unique vision for the company that can't be imitated.