Howie Liu was just 21 when his first technology startup, a contact management software called Etacts, received funding from Ashton Kutcher. Etacts was later sold to Salesforce, personally netting its creator a windfall “in the low seven figures.” But that was just the beginning of a relationship that would prove exceedingly lucrative for both Liu and Kutcher, now famed as Hollywood’s top angel investor in tech startups.
In 2012, Liu co-founded AirTable, a cloud collaboration software and spreadsheet/database hybrid. To secure funding, he traveled to Hollywood, pitching Kutcher while on the set of “Two and a Half Men.” Kutcher became one of the fledgling firm’s first financial backers, and today AirTable is worth a whopping $11 billion, having raised a $1.3 billion from investors.
Liu, now 34 and born in Texas to Chinese immigrants of Korean ancestry, recently moved to Los Angeles. Unsurprisingly, his first L.A. rental home was a mansion in the hills owned by Ashton Kutcher. But when that “spare” Kutcher house was sold off earlier this year, Liu moved to another rental property around the corner, this one another “spare” home owned by actress Cameron Diaz, a longtime friend of Kutcher’s.
Now Liu seems ready to grow some Southern California roots, having plunked down $31 million for a house in prime Beverly Hills. Built in the 1930s but extensively renovated circa 2016, the house last sold in 2017 to venture capitalist Alan Salzman, who paid $20 million. Salzman then gave the property another renovation and held onto it for a few years, though he and wife Tiara Cameron long ago moved to an $18 million Montecito estate.
Mostly hidden behind gates and tall hedges, the mansion offers six bedrooms and 7.5 bathrooms in more than 11,000 square feet of living space. Behind its white brick façade, it flaunts a sophisticated foyer with a curved staircase and grey-and-white checkerboard marble flooring. From the foyer, a step-down formal living room has a fireplace and French doors that spill out to manicured gardens.
Blue must be Salzman’s favorite color, because the house has a lacquered wet bar done up in a stunning shade of cobalt blue, and the fireplace-equipped library is swaddled in an even darker blue. So is the massive lounge/screening room, which connects to a wood-paneled Pilates studio and gym.
Other stunning interior amenities include a movie theater and an all-white kitchen with marble countertops and an imported La Cornue range, plus an adjoining “greenhouse breakfast room” and a family room that spills out to an outdoor living area draped by a green roof of cascading vines. The home’s enormous primary suite is the real star of the show, however, with its dual bathrooms, dual dressing rooms, dual private balconies and a polished mahogany wet bar. Also on tap are indoor and outdoor soaking tubs and a private office.
There are no fewer than six landscaped terraces on the premises, per the listing, in addition to two outdoor fireplaces and a separate fire pit with canyon views. The more than half-acre grounds also feature lush lawns to accommodate large gatherings and al fresco entertaining, and there’s a standalone pool house and a separate guest apartment on the premises as well.