The insane life of Facebook billionaire Sean Parker
Sean Gallup/Getty Images for Burda Media
At the age of 19, he cofounded Napster, a file-sharing service that would change how the world consumes music.By 24, he was the founding president of Facebook, a startup that was then tiny but would go on to become the biggest social network in the world. Advertisement
The 35-year-old, whose net worth is now estimated to be about $3 billion, hasn't slowed down a bit. He recently launched Brigade, a social platform meant to encourage civic engagement, and donated $600 million toward his own foundation.
He's found a bit of controversy along the way, developing a reputation for being a big partier and an even bigger spender.
Parker cofounded file-sharing service Napster in 1999, when he was only 19 years old. Napster became one of the fastest growing businesses of all time, as well as one of the most controversial. Parker and his cofounder, Shawn Fanning, are often credited with revolutionizing the music industry.
After several law suits from music associations eventually shut down Napster, Parker went on to found a social networking site called Plaxo. He was ousted two years later.Advertisement
Parker joined the Facebook team in 2004, when it was just a fledgling college startup. As the social network's founding president, he would play a huge role in the site's early investments, design, and transition into a viable company.
In 2005, Parker was arrested on allegations of cocaine possession. Though official charges were never filed, the incident contributed, at least in part, to his eventual departure from Facebook.Advertisement
Though he stepped down just a few months later, Parker continued to play a role in Facebook's growth.
Parker was played by Justin Timberlake in the 2010 Facebook movie "The Social Network." Parker was upset by his portrayal as a party boy, saying that Timberlake's character was a morally reprehensible human being" and that the movie was "a complete work of fiction."Advertisement
Parker became a Managing Partner at Peter Thiel's Founders Fund in 2006. In his time since leaving Facebook, he has also helped bring Spotify to the US and founded political engagement startup Brigade Media.
He's been busy spending his massive personal fortune as well. In 2011, he paid $20 million for a West Village townhouse known as the "Bacchus House" for its party-animal past. Parker had previously been renting the house for $45,000 a month, in addition to the apartment he owns in San Francisco.Advertisement
The Daily Mail reported that Parker and then-fiancee Alexandra Lenas were permanent residents of New York City's ritzy Plaza Hotel while their new three-story townhouse was being renovated.
Parker and Lenas were married in the summer of 2013, in a $4.5-million, 3-day ceremony in the woods of Big Sur, California. All 364 guests — including Jack Dorsey, Mark Pincus, Dustin Moskovitz, and Chris Hughes — were given Tolkien-esque costumes made by "Lord of the Rings" designer Ngila Dickson to wear during the ceremony. Parker ended up paying an extra $1 million in a settlement with the California Coastal Commission for failing to obtain the proper permits for the event.Advertisement
Last summer, the couple added another property to their portfolio: a nine-bedroom Los Angeles mansion called "The Brody House," which they bought from Ellen DeGeneres for $55 million.
Parker often dresses in fine suits by top designers like Tom Ford and Dior.Advertisement
He's no stranger to private jet travel, as shown in this Facebook post by Spotify artist-in-residence D.A. Wallach.
He keeps a $100,000 Tesla Model S in Los Angeles.Advertisement
He keeps an Audi S5 in San Francisco.
But Parker is also a philanthropist — in June, he donated $600 million to launch the Parker Foundation, which will focus on funding programs in life sciences, global public health, and civic engagement. He recently pledged $24 million to develop the Sean N. Parker Center for Allergy Research at Stanford. He also donated $4.5 million to support a malaria elimination program at the University of California San Francisco’s Global Health Group.Advertisement
He’s one of the most generous people I know," a colleague told Vanity Fair in 2010. "Also one of the flakiest.
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