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Sequoia Capital

American venture capital firm specialises in seed stage, early stage, and growth stage investments in private companies across technology sectors
Sequoia Capital
Leadership team

BOGOMIL BALKANSKY (SEED/EARLY)

ROELOF BOTHA (SEED/EARLY + GROWTH)

KONSTANTINE BUHLER (SEED/EARLY)

DAN CHEN (SEED/EARLY)

JOSEPHINE CHEN (SEED/EARLY)

BILL COUGHRAN (SEED/EARLY)

CHARLIE CURNIN (SEED/EARLY)

DIVYA GUPTA (SEED/EARLY)

Number of Employees
0 - 50
Headquarters
Menlo Park, California
Established
1972
Social Media
Summary

Sequoia Capital is an American venture capital firm. The firm is headquartered in Menlo Park, California, and specialises in seed-stage, early-stage, and growth-stage investments in private companies across technology sectors. As of 2022, Sequoia's total assets under management were approximately US$85 billion.

Sequoia is an umbrella brand for three different venture entities: one focused on the U.S. and Europe, another on India and Southeast Asia, and a third on China.

Notable successful investments by Sequoia Capital include Apple, Cisco, Google, Instagram, LinkedIn, PayPal, Reddit, Tumblr, WhatsApp, and Zoom.


History

Sequoia Capital is one of the world's most well-known venture capital firms, and it has a long and storied history. The firm was founded by Don Valentine in 1972 in Menlo Park, California, at a time when the state’s venture capital industry was just beginning to develop. Valentine, who had previously worked at Fairchild Semiconductor and National Semiconductor, had a vision of supporting entrepreneurs who were creating new technologies and businesses.

Sequoia formed its first venture capital fund in 1974, and it quickly became known for its expertise in identifying promising startups. In 1975, Sequoia became an early investor in Atari, which was then a small startup that was just beginning to develop video games. This investment proved to be a smart move, as Atari went on to become one of the most successful companies in the early video game industry.

In 1978, Sequoia made an even more significant investment when it became one of the first investors in Apple. At the time, Apple was just a small startup operating out of a garage in Cupertino, California, but Sequoia recognized the potential of the company's innovative technology and management team. This investment turned out to be one of the most successful in the history of venture capital, and it helped to establish Sequoia as one of the most respected and successful firms in the industry.

Over the years, Sequoia has continued to invest in some of the most innovative and successful companies in the technology industry. In 1996, Doug Leone and Michael Moritz assumed leadership of the firm, and they continued to build on the firm's legacy of success. In 1999, Sequoia established a dedicated investment fund for Israeli startups, recognizing the country's burgeoning tech scene.

In 2005, Sequoia Capital China was established to invest in Chinese tech startups, and the following year, Sequoia Capital India was launched to focus on Indian tech startups. These moves allowed Sequoia to become a truly global firm, with a presence in some of the world's most promising tech markets.

In 2012, Moritz stepped back from the day-to-day operations of the firm, and Leone became Global Managing Partner. Jim Goetz led Sequoia’s US business from 2012 until 2017 when he was succeeded by Roelof Botha. In 2016, Sequoia made history by hiring Jess Lee, the first female investing partner in the United States in the firm's history.

In 2019, Sequoia was the most active VC fund company in India, highlighting the success of its India-focused investment strategy. In March 2020, Sequoia announced it would hire Luciana Lixandru as its first partner based in Europe, signalling the firm's continued expansion into new markets.

In October 2021, Sequoia announced that it would implement a new fund structure for its U.S. and European business that would allow it to remain involved with companies after their public market debuts. This move reflected the firm's belief in the long-term potential of its portfolio companies, and its willingness to continue supporting them even after they have gone public.

In March 2022, The Information reported that Sequoia Capital China was raising an $8 billion fund to invest in Chinese tech companies, demonstrating the firm's continued commitment to investing in promising startups around the world.

Throughout its history, Sequoia Capital has been a driving force behind some of the world's most innovative and successful technology companies. With a global presence and a deep commitment to supporting entrepreneurs and startups, the firm is well-positioned to continue its legacy of success for many years to come.


Investment criteria

Sequoia Capital is one of the most successful venture capital firms in the world, and it is known for its rigorous approach to investing in startups. The firm has a well-defined set of investment criteria that it uses to evaluate potential investments, and these criteria have helped it to identify some of the most successful companies in the technology industry. Here are some of the key investment criteria that Sequoia Capital uses when evaluating potential investments:

  • Quality of the team: Sequoia looks for founders and management teams who are experienced, innovative, and passionate about their work. The firm also values teams that have a track record of working together effectively.
  • Size of the market: Sequoia is interested in companies that are targeting large, growing markets, as this can provide significant growth opportunities for the company. The firm also looks for companies that are targeting underserved or overlooked markets.
  • Significance of the problem being addressed: Sequoia is interested in companies that are solving important problems or addressing significant needs. The firm is particularly interested in startups that are using technology to disrupt traditional industries or create new markets.
  • Competitive advantage: Sequoia looks for startups that have a clear value proposition and a strong competitive advantage. The firm is interested in companies that have developed unique technologies or business models that give them a sustainable advantage over competitors.
  • Financial performance: Sequoia evaluates a startup's financial performance, looking for companies that have demonstrated strong revenue growth and a clear path to profitability. The firm also considers a company's cash burn rate and capital efficiency.
  • Growth potential: Sequoia is interested in companies that have the potential for significant growth. The firm looks for startups that have a clear strategy for scaling their business and expanding their customer base.
  • Business model: Sequoia evaluates the overall strength of a startup's business model. The firm is interested in companies that have developed innovative and sustainable revenue models that can support long-term growth.

Values
  • Partnership: Sequoia values strong, long-term partnerships with its portfolio companies. The firm works closely with founders and management teams to provide strategic guidance, operational support, and access to its extensive network of industry experts and advisors.
  • Innovation: Sequoia is committed to supporting startups that are using technology to solve important problems and disrupt traditional industries. The firm values innovative thinking, risk-taking, and a willingness to challenge the status quo.
  • Impact: Sequoia seeks to invest in companies that have the potential to make a significant impact on society. The firm is interested in startups that are addressing important needs or solving pressing problems, and it believes that these companies have the potential to create long-term value for both investors and society as a whole.
  • Integrity: Sequoia is committed to maintaining the highest standards of integrity and ethical behaviour. The firm values transparency, honesty, and accountability in all its dealings with portfolio companies, investors, and other stakeholders.
  • Excellence: Sequoia is committed to excellence in all aspects of its business. The firm strives to deliver exceptional returns to its investors, provide outstanding support to its portfolio companies, and maintain a culture of excellence and continuous improvement within the firm.

Mission

Sequoia Capital does not have an official mission statement per se, but the firm's website states that its primary objective is to partner with exceptional founders and help them build companies of enduring value. The website goes on to state that the firm believes in supporting startups that are tackling important problems, disrupting traditional industries, and creating new markets.

In addition, Sequoia Capital's website emphasizes the firm's commitment to working closely with its portfolio companies to provide strategic guidance, operational support, and access to its extensive network of industry experts and advisors. The firm also highlights its focus on delivering exceptional returns to its investors and maintaining the highest standards of integrity and ethical behaviour in all its dealings.


Portfolio

Sequoia Capital has built an impressive portfolio of successful startups across a wide range of industries, including technology, healthcare, consumer, and financial services. The firm has a history of investing in early-stage companies with disruptive technologies and strong potential for growth. Some of Sequoia Capital's most notable portfolio companies include:

  • Airbnb: A platform that enables people to rent out their homes or apartments to travellers and tourists.
  • Apple: One of the world's most valuable and innovative technology companies, known for its iPhone, iPad, and Mac products.
  • Dropbox: A cloud-based file-sharing and storage service used by millions of individuals and businesses worldwide.
  • Google: The world's largest search engine and a leader in online advertising, mobile technology, and artificial intelligence.
  • Instagram: A popular social media platform for sharing photos and videos, now owned by Facebook.
  • LinkedIn: A professional networking site used by millions of professionals and job seekers worldwide.
  • Oracle: A multinational technology company that provides enterprise software and cloud computing services.
  • PayPal: An online payment platform used by millions of individuals and businesses worldwide.
  • Stripe: A global payment processing company that enables businesses to accept payments online.
  • WhatsApp: A popular messaging app used by billions of people worldwide, now owned by Facebook.

In addition to these companies, Sequoia Capital has invested in many other successful startups across a range of industries and geographies. The firm's portfolio includes several companies that have gone public or been acquired for significant sums, generating significant returns for Sequoia Capital's investors.


References
Sequoia Capital
Leadership team

BOGOMIL BALKANSKY (SEED/EARLY)

ROELOF BOTHA (SEED/EARLY + GROWTH)

KONSTANTINE BUHLER (SEED/EARLY)

DAN CHEN (SEED/EARLY)

JOSEPHINE CHEN (SEED/EARLY)

BILL COUGHRAN (SEED/EARLY)

CHARLIE CURNIN (SEED/EARLY)

DIVYA GUPTA (SEED/EARLY)

Number of Employees
0 - 50
Headquarters
Menlo Park, California
Established
1972
Social Media