Facebook's Very First SEC Filing

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Facebook is widely expected to go public in the very near future with a valuation north of $75 billion. It's a moment that tech watchers have been anticipating for half a decade and will make millionaires out of many, many early Facebook employees.

But let's go back to May of 2005, less than a year after Facebook was initially incorporated. TheFacebook, as it was then called, measured its users in the low millions. Only American college students could be on the network, and they were verified through their college e-mail addresses. TheFacebook had steamrolled first through Harvard, beginning in February of 2004. Here is Zuck's first statement as the proprietor of The Facebook, which he gave to the Harvard Crimson's Alan Tabak, now a lawyer at the high-powered firm, Davis Polk:

"Everyone's been talking a lot about a universal face book within Harvard," Zuckerberg said. "I think it's kind of silly that it would take the University a couple of years to get around to it. I can do it better than they can, and I can do it in a week."

As of yesterday afternoon, Zuckerberg said over 650 students had registered use thefacebook.com. He said that he anticipated that 900 students would have joined the site by this morning.

After conquering the Crimson, Zuckerberg expanded the operation to a group of Ivy League schools, and then on to the rest of the country's colleges. It was clear big things lay on the horizon for the company, but I'm not sure anyone could have seen quite how big.

It was that spring that 'TheFacebook, Inc' made its first filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The paperwork details a $6,840 investment from a time when only Mark Zuckerberg, Sean Parker, and Dustin Moskovitz had to be listed on the startup-friendly Rule 506 Form D. Zuckerberg appears to have used is personal phone number for the filing, a New York 914 number rather than the Palo Alto landline used after August of 2005. The legal fees associated with the filing were a mere $50. And it's signed by the very hand of Zuckerberg.

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In the next filing (dated a week later) things get really interesting. We see the $12.7 million investment that came in from Accel Partners. Peter Thiel's name also shows up on the SEC filing as a director and beneficial owner of the company. Still, I find the first filing the most compelling. If Facebook is now the 800-pound gorilla of the social space, this is that monster's birth certificate.

Image: Reuters. Mark Zuckerberg in 2007. (How young does he look?!)

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Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is the deputy editor of TheAtlantic.com. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer has called Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at Wired.com, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science Web site in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.

He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).

Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.

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