As Sergey Brin and Elon Musk fell out over her philanthropic work in Silicon Valley, entrepreneur Nicole Shanahan was thrust into the spotlight.
After more than three years of marriage, Shanahan and Brin announced they were divorcing in June, citing “irreconcilable differences.” Elon Musk has denied having an extramarital affair with Shanahan, according to the Wall Street Journal. According to the WSJ, a Shanahan spokeswoman did not respond to requests for comment.
A prenuptial contract was signed by Shanahan and Brin before they married, and the terms of their divorce, in which she is seeking more than $1 billion, are currently being negotiated, according to the report. That could put her divorce settlement on par with those of MacKenzie Scott and Melinda Gates, the two billionaire philanthropists.
ClearAccessIP, a Palo Alto-based firm that helps patent owners manage and monetize their intellectual property rights, was founded by Shanahan, an attorney and a research fellow at CodeX, Stanford’s Center for Legal Informatics. 2020 saw the acquisition of IPwe, a rival, by IPwe.
Chinese immigrants, Shanahan’s mother worked as a maid and she was raised on public assistance as a child. That’s according to her LinkedIn profile, which also states that she attended the University of Puget Sound in Washington state where she studied economics, Asia and Mandarin. She went to Santa Clara University to get her law degree, and while there, she spent a semester studying abroad at the National University of Singapore.
Work on the Foundations
A new foundation named Bia-Echo was established in 2019 by Shanahan, who pledged $100 million to reproductive longevity (the availability of medical technologies that help women have children later in life) and criminal justice reform. Aside from that, she’s a supporter of left-wing causes and Democratic candidates.
In an interview with Puck earlier this month, Shanahan stated, “I want to get the word out that and assure everyone that I am committed as ever to dedicating my life’s work to social justice, climate solutions and a thoughtful, caring democracy. After a period of solitary confinement, “I actually believe that as I move forward, I am optimistic about how I might grow in this role.”