A Conversation on Philanthropy with Bill Gates and Sir Michael Moritz

Bill Gates and Sir Michael Moritz sat down in front of an audience of 200 people at Airbnb’s downtown San Francisco office to talk about philanthropy — which problems are best left to the market and which require philanthropic intervention.

ByTeam Sequoia

PublishedOctober 15, 2013

Giving away $30 billion is hard—at least if you want to do it well.

Bill Gates, the world’s greatest active philanthropist, has not only given away that much, but he’s built a foundation that is capable of making sure that money is spent on projects that will make a big difference in the world.

At Sequoia, we’ve long worked with nonprofits and other philanthropic organizations. These groups make up most of our investors, meaning the profits generated by the companies we partner with support their work. So we were thrilled when Bill agreed talk to members of our extended community about philanthropy.

The event took place last month at Airbnb’s new San Francisco headquarters in front of an audience of about 200.

In a wide ranging conversation, Bill and Sequoia’s Sir Michael Moritz discussed which problems are best left to the market and which require philanthropic intervention, the political and geographic problems that often prevent scientific breakthroughs from reaching the people who can benefit from them, and how to get involved in philanthropy even as you work full time.