In 1972, when Don Valentine founded Sequoia Capital, the term “Silicon Valley” was less than two years old. A veteran of the nascent semiconductor industry, Don had helped power the growth of personal computing and networking. With Sequoia’s first $3 million fund, he backed both Apple and video game pioneer Atari. That Don chose “Sequoia,” a tree that lives thousands of years, rather than naming the firm after himself surprises no one who knew him. It was his humility and commitment to empowering the next generation that has enabled our team to stand the test of time. We’ve partnered with each generation of legendary companies since then, from Cisco to Google to Instagram to Airbnb and Stripe, and beyond.
From the start, we have ensured that when our founders win, so do great causes. Sequoia invests primarily on behalf of nonprofits and schools, with organizations such as the Ford Foundation and Boston Children’s Hospital forming most of our limited partner base. Working for them gives us a greater sense of responsibility and purpose.