When a brand-new Orange County mansion recently sold for $35 million in an all-cash deal, it became one of the priciest area home sales on record. Located near the tip of Newport Beach’s densely-populated Balboa Peninsula, the massive Robert Sinclair-designed structure is one of the largest structures fronting Newport Harbor and includes its own boat dock.
The buyer’s identity is carefully shielded behind a generically-named LLC mask, but as was first uncovered by the L.A. Times, the new owner is none other than tech bazillionaire and longtime Newport aficionado Jared Smith.
Now in his 40s, Smith co-founded Qualtrics — a Provo, Utah-based tech unicorn that specializes in online surveys — in 2002 with his engineer father Scott Smith and younger brother Ryan. Last year, after raising $400 million in venture capital funding, the devoutly Mormon family sold Qualtrics to German tech mammoth SAP for a whopping $8 billion in cash.
While the affable, spiky-haired, jeans-clad Ryan Smith has long been CEO and the corporate face of Qualtrics, Jared is more reserved, rarely giving interviews and preferring to stay behind the scenes. Little is publicly known about his personal life, though the former Google product director has previously been described as having an “understated-engineer mindset.”
What is known, however, is that both brothers are staying aboard to run Qualtrics, despite the company’s transfer of ownership.
Completed in 2018, the palatial new Smith residence in Newport weighs in with nearly 13,000 square feet of living space spread across three floors. There’s an attached garage with room for five luxury automobiles, the aforementioned boat dock that can accommodate four vessels, and a high-tech collection of Tesla solar batteries and roof-mounted panels that can independently power the enormous residence in the event of an electrical outage.
Built by local developer Craig Atkins and featuring interiors by Blackband Design, the vaguely Transitional-style structure boasts a whopping 90 feet of frontage on Newport Harbor, plus a restort-style backyard that includes a 57-foot, negative-edge swimming pool with inset spa, a sprawling patio with a kitchen and firepit — perfect for outdoor entertaining, and a raised wooden deck with views all the way up and down the harbor.
Inside, the glassy pad has an open-concept floorplan chock-full of every fancy amenity known to mankind. There’s an all-glass elevator, two wet bars, two kitchens with marble countertops, a sauna, movie theater and mirror-walled gym. Crisp white walls and bleach blonde-toned hardwood floors imbue the interiors with a cool casualness, perfect for the beach.
The upstairs master — one of five bedroom suites on the premises — sports walls of glass and clerestory windows, flooding the room with light and providing spectacular views of the water. An attached bathroom sports a chandelier, soaking tub, a soaring skylight and steam showers.
Other gadgets include smart home automation for the entire property, a slew of security cameras, and a covered backyard loggia for moments of shady respite. And best of all, there’s an 1,100-gallon indoor aquarium that looks stunning and probably requires a small fortune to maintain.
And as it turns out, the Smiths are hardly new to Newport — the family has had various vacation homes there going back several years. Back in May 2017, Scott Smith forked out $10.875 million for an oceanfront Balboa Peninsula contemporary mansion that he continues to own — and that happens to lie just a quick jog away from his son’s $35 million mansion.