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Alfred Lin

  • Seed/Early
Dream about the dent you will put in the universe. Stay grounded in your reality. Build a plan that connects these two worlds.

Backstory

Emigrating from Taiwan at the age of six, my parents moved me and my brother every few years to better school districts. I was always fascinated by businesses, how they operated and how to invest in them. In junior high, I tried to scale my lawn-mowing service—It didn’t even last a whole summer. In college, I bought whole pizzas and sold them by the slice, but I swear, it wasn’t predatory.

Academically, I had honored my parents’ wishes to be a good student, especially in math and science. I even entered a Ph.D. program in statistics, but I found reading business cases more interesting. When Sequoia invested, I joined my college friend Tony Hsieh at his startup, LinkExchange. After we sold LinkExchange to Microsoft (and made Sequoia 17x in 17 months), we started Venture Frogs, which was both an incubator and a seed fund. Out of that came Tellme Networks, which I joined in 2001, and Zappos, which I joined in 2005.

Michael Moritz had been our Sequoia partner at LinkExchange and we chose to work with him again at Zappos. He was a mentor to me and the rest of the management team. He always showed up, having poured through the board materials and listening intensely to every word. He would focus our attention on the first order issues, sharpen our thinking and push us to be even more ambitious. I learned from him that a partner’s most important value-add comes when the chips are down.

On the lookout for

All investors essentially look for the same things: (1) outlier founders, (2) a delightful product or service, (3) a path to a massive market, and (4) a disruptive business model. This leads to a large universe of investable opportunities, which is far greater than our capacity to serve on boards and really partner with founders. To have an edge, you have to play the game differently.

I am much more focused on the founders’ special characteristics, their novel and unique insights, the eureka moment of their founding story, and their lived experiences that creates empathy for the customer they will serve. Basically, I am on the lookout for founder-market fit.

After you strip through all that, there is only one criteria for me: would I love to work for the founders and help them reach their and their company’s full potential? It is our job as partners, not just investors—to work for the founders.

Get in touch with Alfred

Personal Side

  • Foodie
  • Games
  • Math
  • Puzzles
  • Running
  • Travel

Press & Media

Companies

Current Companies

  • Athelas builds technology to transition healthcare into the home.
    Current Stage

    Growth

    Partner

    Alfred Lin

    Partnered In

    2016

  • Catch helps merchants and their customers save by cutting out the credit card companies.
    Current Stage

    Early

    Partners

    Josephine Chen,
    Alfred Lin

    Partnered In

    2020

  • Citadel Securities uses its market expertise and technology to empower its clients to access liquidity in new and effective ways.
    Current Stage

    Growth

    Partners

    Alfred Lin,
    Konstantine Buhler

    Partnered In

    2022

  • Cobalt Robotics makes autonomous robots for security, facilities and environmental monitoring.
    Current Stage

    Growth

    Partner

    Alfred Lin

    Partnered In

    2018

  • Dia&Co is a personal styling service and clothing company for plus-size women.
    Current Stage

    Growth

    Partners

    Alfred Lin,
    Jess Lee

    Partnered In

    2016

  • Dolls Kill is a global fashion brand that supports self-expression for the next generation.
    Current Stage

    Growth

    Partner

    Alfred Lin

    Partnered In

    2019

  • Faire is the leading wholesale marketplace, connecting independent retailers and brands all over the world.
    Current Stage

    Growth

    Partners

    Alfred Lin,
    Ravi Gupta,
    Isaiah Boone

    Partnered In

    2017

  • Filecoin is a decentralized storage network designed to store people's most important information.
    Current Stage

    Early

    Partner

    Alfred Lin

    Partnered In

    2017

  • Found is an all-in-one business banking, bookkeeping and tax solution for self-employed businesses.
    Current Stage

    Growth

    Partners

    Alfred Lin,
    Josephine Chen

    Partnered In

    2020

  • FTX is a crypto-derivatives exchange.
    Current Stage

    Growth

    Partners

    Alfred Lin,
    Michelle Bailhe

    Partnered In

    2021

  • Houzz is a visual remodeling platform that helps consumers and design professionals collaborate.
    Current Stage

    Growth

    Partner

    Alfred Lin

    Partnered In

    2011

  • Instacart facilitates instant grocery delivery from local stores.
    Current Stage

    Growth

    Partners

    Michael Moritz,
    Alfred Lin,
    Ravi Gupta

    Partnered In

    2013

  • Kalshi is the first federally regulated exchange that allows people to trade on world events.
    Current Stage

    Early

    Partner

    Alfred Lin

    Partnered In

    2020

  • Moovit, now part of Intel, is a leading Mobility as a Service (MaaS) solutions provider and creator of the popular urban mobility app.
    Current Stage

    Acquired

    Partner

    Alfred Lin

    Partnered In

    2013

  • Okay builds dashboards for engineering leaders so that they can run high-performing teams.
    Current Stage

    Growth

    Partner

    Alfred Lin

    Partnered In

    2020

  • Otter matches parents who need childcare with stay-at-home parents who can care for their kids.
    Current Stage

    Early

    Partners

    Jess Lee,
    Alfred Lin

    Partnered In

    2021

  • reddit is the front page of the Internet featuring user-generated links to content around the web.
    Current Stage

    Growth

    Partner

    Alfred Lin

    Partnered In

    2014

  • Summer Health is making board-certified pediatricians available to parents via text message.
    Current Stage

    Arc

    Partner

    Alfred Lin

    Partnered In

    2022

  • Tourlane is an online booking platform for custom multiday trips.
    Current Stage

    Growth

    Partners

    Andrew Reed,
    Alfred Lin

    Partnered In

    2018

  • Truework is an API platform for employment verification.
    Current Stage

    Growth

    Partner

    Alfred Lin

    Partnered In

    2018

  • Zipline delivers vital shipments via the most reliable drone delivery service in the world.
    Current Stage

    Growth

    Partner

    Alfred Lin

    Partnered In

    2012

Enduring Companies

  • Airbnb connects people around the world with unique homes and unforgettable experiences.
    Current Stage

    IPO

    Partner

    Alfred Lin

    Partnered In

    2009

  • DoorDash is an on-demand delivery service.
    Current Stage

    IPO

    Partner

    Alfred Lin

    Partnered In

    2014

  • Zappos, now part of Amazon, is an online shoe retailer driven by customer service.
    Current Stage

    Acquired

    Partners

    Michael Moritz,
    Alfred Lin

    Partnered In

    2004