The celebrities of Silicon Valley live private lives. We don’t know much about them outside of the mega-companies they lead, though it’s fun to speculate on the shoes they wear, the restaurants where they feast, and their comings and goings at Burning Man.
One thing’s for certain: many of the rich and famous tech executives come home to the same zip code.
Public records reveal that Silicon Valley billionaires including Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen, HP CEO Meg Whitman, and Google chairman Eric Schmidt reside in the idyllic suburb of Atherton, California. In 2016, it was the third priciest zip code in the US, according to Forbes.
I recently spent the day in Atherton scouting the homes of top tech CEOS.
Atherton is a small, mostly residential town located about 45 minutes south of San Francisco and less than 20 minutes from the offices of Facebook, Google, and Tesla.
Mega-mansions line nearly every block. Many homes have fences or landscaping that prevent prying eyes from looking in. Each lot feels like its own gated community.
Notable residents over the years have included Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, brokerage magnate Charles Schwab, and tech investors Ben Horowitz and Marc Andreessen.
Meg Whitman, CEO of Hewlett-Packard, was once the owner of this white-clapboard colonial home in Atherton. The five-bedroom, four-bath manor sold for $6.6 million in April.
When protesters with the Occupy movement rallied outside Whitman's home in 2012, they remarked on the modesty of her home. 'Her house isn't very big,' one was heard saying.
Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen scooped up a massive estate in Atherton for $27 million in 2013. A yard worker opened up the gate, giving a glimpse of the private driveway.
But I couldn't make out much else. The home sits on two acres and reportedly has six bedrooms, nine bathrooms, a movie theatre, a spa, a pool, and seven fireplaces.
Google chairman Eric Schmidt has quite the impressive real-estate portfolio, but his primary residence is a five-bedroom home at the top of a cul-de-sac in Atherton.
He purchased the sprawling estate for $2 million in 1990, but it's worth about $5.5 million today, according to estimates by Zillow. The mansion spans 4,800 square feet.
Marc Andreessen, inventor of the Netscape web browser and an influential venture capitalist, resides in a three-bedroom, four-bath home that's valued at $24 million on real-estate site Redfin.
Andreessen's home is located across the street from the Menlo Circus Club, a private social club that hosts horse shows, polo matches, and gala parties for the ultra-wealthy.
In March, early Tesla investor Alan Salzman listed his 9,000-square-foot Atherton manor for a whopping $39.75 million, which is up 300% from what he paid for the home in 2001.
The most expensive listing in Atherton boasts six bedrooms, nine baths, antique wood and Frenchstone floors, and centuries-old interior doors, according to the property's website.
Bruce Dunlevie, a founding partner of Benchmark Capital, has the ultimate hideaway in Atherton. A tree canopy blocks his four-bedroom, five-bath estate from public view.
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