If you were a Stanford student back in 1997, it would have been a very smart move to seek out and befriend your fellow students, Larry Page and Sergey Brin. At the cafeteria, the library, a coffee shop, or a neighborhood bar, you might have started up a discussion. I guess not at the gym. If you played your cards right, you could have parlayed your friendship into an early job at the company Larry and Sergey would soon launch, Google. And when Google went public in 2004, that first job would have been worth a tremendous amount of money.
One of Larry and Sergey’s professors, David Cheriton, had the good fortune of being invited to give the founders their first $100,000 investment check in 1998. David is currently worth $10 billion.
Craig Silverstein, a friend and associate of Sergey, was employed as Google’s first worker. That job resulted in a near-billion dollar personal fortune today.
When they needed office space to run their newly-incorporated business, they first settled in the garage of a local woman who had recently bought a house in Menlo Park, California and was looking to rent her garage to help pay the mortgage. Susan Wojcicki was the name of that person. Susan eventually became employee number 16 for Google. She is currently the CEO of YouTube and has a net worth of $500 million.
Scott Hassan, a friend and partner of Larry’s, gave the developing search engine some crucial early technical support. Because of his early help, Scott is now commonly referred to as Google’s “third founder.” Scott, though, didn’t technically ever work for Google.
Scott Hassan has maintained a significantly lower profile over the past 20+ years compared to his other two founders, Larry and Sergey, who are currently valued at $125 billion and $121 billion, respectively. Sadly, Scott’s low profile has recently been exposed as a result of his high-public, billion-dollar divorce. A recent New York Times report claims that Scott’s scandalous divorce proceeding would soon be made public in a California courtroom.
Scott can be seen below showcasing a device from his former robotics company, Suitable Technologies, in 2014.
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The Creation of Google
Scott Hassan worked as a research assistant in the computer science division at Stanford in the late 1990s.
At some point in this time period, Larry Page had what would later prove to be a brilliant theory about indexing and sorting web pages on the internet. Larry came up with the idea of rating the value of each website based on how many links it received from other websites. An exponentially more useful search result page than those given by the dominant search engines at the time was produced by ranking websites based on external links. Today’s Google search algorithm still heavily uses external links as a ranking factor.
Backrub is the name Larry and Sergey gave to this system.
Google’s Third Founder
Scott Hassan’s Reward
After a series of pre-IPO stock splits, on the day Google went public in 2004, Scott Hassan owned 2.56 million shares. Scott’s $800 investment was worth… on the IPO day.
Twice since coming public, Google stock has “divided.” Had Scott never sold a single share, today his $800 investment would be worth…
That would make him roughly the 170th richest person in the world today. All because of a few lines of code and $800 he authored 23 years ago.
Interestingly, Scott made a second fortune from Yahoo, Google’s main rival, despite never having worked there.
Scott and Carl sold eGroups to Yahoo in August 2000 for $432 million in Yahoo stock, or about $215 million each.
Yahoo’s share price on the final day of the transaction was $132. Unfortunately, the internet bubble proceeded to explode almost exactly one year later, and based on reporting from the New York Times, Scott held on to all of his shares through the bubble’s burst.
There was some promising news in the near future. Over Christmas in 2001, just two months after Yahoo experienced its all-time low, Scott Hassan wed Allison Huynh. The engagement party was attended by Larry and Sergey.
According to Allison, who made this claim in a recent New York Times piece, Scott was so financially unstable when they got married — he was $60,000 in debt — that Allison frequently had to foot the bill for their lodging, meals, and entertainment. She reportedly paid for their engagement party.
Allison and Scott enjoyed themselves a lot. Over the course of their marriage they welcomed three children.
Of course, they were successful in 2004. When Google went public in August 2004, Scott’s equity stake was worth $200 million.
They acquired two magnificent properties in the Bay Area, one of which, according to Zillow, is currently valued at more than $22 million.
Scott founded two robots businesses, one of which being Suitable Technologies, which is shown in the image above.
Billion Dollar Divorce
One year after the IPO of Google, the first marital red light appeared. According to Allison, that’s when Scott asked her to sign a post-nuptial agreement in which she would agree to relinquish all claims for his assets in exchange for 10% of his Google shares which were worth around $20 million at that time. In addition, she would receive a share in three Bay Area properties. Allison said no.
Over the last six years, they have been attempting to divide their estate. Their estate reportedly had a value of at least $1.8 billion in 2018.
According to Allison, that $1.8 billion estate is wrapped up in a complex web of more than 50 LLCs which hold their various tech and real estate investments. It appears that one of the LLCs is the owner of commercial real estate valued more than $1 billion.
Scott claims that these LLCs should be considered his own separate property because they were funded with his premarital financial assets. The LLCs, which were all established AFTER their marriage, according to Allison, should be treated as common property and distributed equally.
To make matters worse, Scott even created a website in retaliation using the domain allisonhuynh.com that featured material and links that were negative about his ex-wife. Scott acknowledged to the New York Times that he “in a moment of fury” built the website. He later removed the website.
Billion-dollar divorces typically take place behind closed doors. Allison and Scott Hassan’s case will soon go to trial in a California courtroom in front of a large audience because they were unable to resolve the issue of his LLCs. We’ll keep you updated as we learn more risqué billion dollar anecdotes!