Exclusive: Taking Stock Of Sequoia Capital's Standout Year With Roelof...

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Last year was a very good year for Sequoia Capital, one of Silicon Valley's oldest and most respected venture capital firms. We wanted to know how Sequoia, with five decades of investing under its belt, has consistently delivered returns on its many funds. I was lucky enough to speak with partner Roelof Botha.
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Last year was a very good year for Sequoia Capital, one of Silicon Valley's oldest and most respected venture capital firms.

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The Sand Hill Road powerhouse emerged as the standout venture investor of 2020 based on returns from exits, with seven of its portfolio companies going public and another two acquired for close to $1 billion or more.

We wanted to know how Sequoia, with five decades of investing under its belt, has consistently delivered returns on its many funds. I was lucky enough to speak with partner Roelof Botha about that and more. His insight on the firm's returns and "patient capital" approach, team culture and overall strategy were as interesting as you might expect.

However, as a data analyst, I believe a good interview is only made stronger when paired with unbiased and independent research and we are fortunate enough at Crunchbase to spend our days doing just that.

What follows is a blend of the two — our objective analysis coupled with Botha's personal experience — presented in tandem to provide a window into the winning strategy of this storied firm.

But first, Botha

Botha is soft-spoken and, like me, still talks with a hint of an accent from our native South Africa. He clearly values innovation, team culture and investing in startups at the earliest stages to—as he says in Afrikaans"buig die boompie terwyl hy jonk is," or bend the tree while it's young.

Botha's personal trajectory is widely reported so we won't spend too much time there. That said, a snapshot of his background is important in understanding what he brings to the firm.

Botha has co-led the U.S. practice since 2010 with Jim Goetz, and served as sole lead since 2017. In 2002, Botha was the 28-year-old CFO who took PayPal public. He's since been part of a number of Sequoia-backed companies that have gone public, including Unity Technologies, BridgeBio, Eventbrite, MongoDB, Square, Natera and…
Gené Teare
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