When Twitter goes public in the coming weeks, one of the biggest winners will be a 47-year-old financier who guards his secrecy so zealously that he employs a person to take down his Wikipedia entry and scrub his photos from the internet.
He was born in India but left its shores when he was only five years old.
Over the past two years, Suhail Rizvi, founder of New York private equity firm Rizvi Traverse Management, has quietly amassed a stake of more than 15% in the microblogging phenomenon for himself and his investors at a cost of more than $1 billion, according to three people with knowledge of his investments.
The size of his personal stake has not been disclosed.
Twitter made its IPO registration documents public on Thursday.
The previously unknown extent of Rizvi’s involvement in Twitter comes as the eight-year-old company prepares for Silicon Valley’s biggest coming-out party since Facebook’s IPO in 2012.
Rizvi, who owns a sprawling three-home compound in Greenwich, Connecticut, and a 1.65-acre estate in Palm Beach, Florida, near Bill Gates and Michael Bloomberg, moved to Iowa Falls when he was five.
His father was a professor of psychology at Iowa.
Along with his older brother Ashraf, a hedge fund manager, Rizvi graduated from Wharton business school.
Both now serve on its executive board.
Twitter will soon file its IPO registration document with US securities regulators, revealing the identities of top shareholders.
Because the shares Rizvi purchased are distributed among investors via multiple vehicles, it is unclear whether the filing will list Rizvi or his individual investors.
People with direct knowledge of his investment activities say that Rizvi, backed by Chris Sacca, a former Google executive and Twitter investor, were instrumental in attracting large private investors to the microblogging site, serving as matchmaker between the company’s founders and global financiers from Wall Street to Riyadh.
Both Rizvi and Twitter declined to comment.