Twitter Inc. co-founder Evan Williams is now a multibillionaire on paper, after shares of the short-messaging website rose more than 70 percent on the first day of trading.
The stock surged as high as $50.09 from the initial public offering price of $26, and closed at $44.90. At that price, Williams, the largest individual shareholder with a 10.4 percent holding, owns a stake valued at more than $2.5 billion.
Williams, a Clarks, Neb., native who co-founded San Francisco-based Twitter in 2006 out of his failed podcasting startup Odeo, is among the biggest beneficiaries of the IPO. Others include early backers such as Rizvi Traverse Management LLC, which holds almost 16 percent. All insiders held onto their shares, indicating that they anticipate that Twitter will deliver on its promises to increase advertising revenue and add more users.