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Snowflake CEO: 'I am the biggest bull on this country in every way'

Brian Sozzi
·Editor-at-Large
·3-min read

Snowflake (SNOW) CEO Frank Slootman could be seen as a true American success story.

Slootman came to the U.S. from the Netherlands in 1984 with $100 or so in his pocket. Some 36 years later, Slootman is worth a cool $1.8 billion after successfully selling Data Domain to EMC in 2009 (where he was CEO), taking ServiceNow public in 2012 (where he was also CEO), and most recently bringing Snowflake to the public markets.

While Slootman isn’t one to get hung up on his wealth, he does believe that the U.S. remains the place to be, even amidst concerns around political discourse and attacks on its capitalistic system.

“I am the biggest bull on this country in every way. It pains me to see Americans that want to be down on this country,” Slootman told Yahoo Finance’s The First Trade. “Most of my fellow immigrants think they hit the lottery here. When I came here I had $100. You don’t get it [ahead] by sitting back and waiting for things to happen. You have to go after it.”

Suffice it to say, Slootman and his executive team went after it in the lead-up to the company’s hotly anticipated IPO this week.

The data cloud play attracted big name investors such as Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway and Salesforce Ventures before Snowflake made its public debut. Those high-profile investors — coupled with Slootman’s careful selection of more long-term minded investors — went a long way to signal to the market that Snowflake could be a successful, profitable tech entity.

A banner for Snowflake Inc. is displayed celebrating the company's IPO at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., September 16, 2020. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
A banner for Snowflake Inc. is displayed celebrating the company's IPO at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., September 16, 2020. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Snowflake shares exploded 111.61% in their first day of trading on Sept. 16. At about $226 on Friday, Snowflake’s stock is off the high touched early on in its initial session of $319. But, the stock remains well above its IPO pricing of $120. The company is valued at some $62 billion, more than Dell (which now owns the aforementioned EMC and sports a $49 billion market cap).

That said, Snowflake does have a good deal of proving to do to Wall Street with its new lofty valuation. The company has never turned a profit despite its very compelling, next generation cloud-focused technology. Through the first six months of 2020, Snowflake lost $171.3 million on $242 million in net sales.

Slootman told Yahoo Finance that investors should expect Snowflake to remain aggressive in investing in the business to support future profits.

“High growth companies like ours have to invest at a tremendous rate. It’s a very dynamic set up. We have to invest for years and years to come,” Slootman explained.

Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large and co-anchor of The First Trade at Yahoo Finance. Follow Sozzi on Twitter @BrianSozzi and on LinkedIn.

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