The Los Angeles real estate market is sizzling hot, and chief among those helping stoke the flames are tech buyers from Silicon Valley and beyond. The latest stock-rich moguls to join the fray are Rick Reed and his wife Melinda, a Palo Alto-based couple who owe much of their fortune to WhatsApp, the messaging app acquired by Facebook in 2014 for a whopping $22 billion. The Reeds, flush with cash — Facebook’s market cap is currently near an all-time high — recently paid $13.8 million for the Malibu compound of embattled Hollywood director/producer Bryan Singer.
A former Yahoo! software engineer, Reed was one of the very first folks at WhatsApp under co-founders Jan Koum and Brian Acton, both of them also former Yahoo! employees. Reed joined in 2011, helping develop the architecture of today’s WhatsApp platform. A decade later, he’s now set for life and a dedicated philanthropist; with wife Melinda, he’s given millions to the couple’s local church and a variety of other worthy causes.
Reed’s blufftop property sits on one of the Point Dume neighborhood’s most coveted avenues, with breathtaking whitewater views of Zuma Beach and head-on sunset vistas. Set behind camera-watched gates on an acre of land, there’s a 4,400-square-foot main house decked out in a vaguely feudal Japanese style, plus a detached one-bed/one-bath guest cottage.
Back in 2016, Singer famously leased the property to Angelina Jolie, who lived there with her half-dozen children in the immediate aftermath of her split from Brad Pitt. Indeed, the neutral interiors provide a calming energy, while oversized windows drink in views of the deep blue sea far below. Human cares cascade away in the spacious living and dining rooms, which share a double-sided fireplace and dazzling ocean views. The sunny kitchen offers a skylight and top-of-the-line stainless appliances. Other luxe indoor amenities include a movie theater, a gym, and an “artist’s loft” that could be a music studio, an art studio, or a sumptuous private office.
The property’s grounds are more akin to a tropical Hawaiian resort that a typical Malibu home, with a bamboo jungle, exotic palm trees, and secluded stone patios perfect for grand-scale entertaining or a clandestine romantic rendezvous. There’s also a swimming pool, naturally, although it’s a hidden lagoon-like affair that sits behind the house, somewhat surprisingly without an ocean view. But that lack is easily made up by an oversized terrace on the opposite side of the home, which has unobstructed vistas from Point Dume all the way up Malibu’s western coastline and beyond, deep into Ventura County.
Other folks on the same street as Reed’s new digs include Bob Dylan, Owen Wilson, and Mel Gibson’s ex-wife Robyn Moore, who recently paid $17.5 million for the larger house immediately next door. Reed is now also just about three miles away from his old boss, WhatsApp chief Jan Koum, who back in 2019 forked out exactly $100 million for the massive Paradise Cove compound of Hollywood mogul Ron Meyer.