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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

Company Name  Short Description Current Stage  Founders First Partnered  collapse
AthelasAthelas builds technology to transition healthcare into the home.Growth
  • Deepika Bodapati
  • Tanay Tandon
Early (2016)Collapse
CatchCatch helps merchants and their customers save by cutting out the credit card companies. Early
  • Denia Ebersole
  • Whitney LaRow
  • Nico Perdomo
  • Vijay Singh
Early (2020)Collapse
Citadel SecuritiesCitadel Securities uses its market expertise and technology to empower its clients to access liquidity in new and effective ways.GrowthGrowth (2022)Collapse
Cobalt RoboticsCobalt Robotics makes autonomous robots for security, facilities and environmental monitoring.Growth
  • Travis Deyle
  • Erik Schluntz
Early (2018)Collapse
Dia&CoDia&Co is a personal styling service and clothing company for plus-size women.Growth
  • Nadia Boujarwah
  • Lydia Gilbert
Early (2016)Collapse
Dolls KillDolls Kill is a global fashion brand that supports self-expression for the next generation.Growth
  • Bobby Farahi
  • Shoddy Lynn
Growth (2019)Collapse
FaireFaire is the leading wholesale marketplace, connecting independent retailers and brands all over the world.Growth
  • Marcelo Cortes
  • Jeff Kolovson
  • Daniele Perito
  • Max Rhodes
Early (2017)Collapse
FilecoinFilecoin is a decentralized storage network designed to store people's most important information.Early
  • Juan Benet
Seed (2017)Collapse
FoundFound is an all-in-one business banking, bookkeeping and tax solution for self-employed businesses.Growth
  • Connor Dunn
  • Lauren Myrick
Early (2020)Collapse
HouzzHouzz is a visual remodeling platform that helps consumers and design professionals collaborate.Growth
  • Alon Cohen
  • Adi Tatarko
Early (2011)Collapse
InstacartInstacart facilitates instant grocery delivery from local stores.Growth
  • Brandon Leonardo
  • Apoorva Mehta
  • Max Mullen
Early (2013)Collapse
KalshiKalshi is the first federally regulated exchange that allows people to trade on world events.Early
  • Luana Lopes Lara
  • Tarek Mansour
Early (2020)Collapse
MoovitMoovit, now part of Intel, is a leading Mobility as a Service (MaaS) solutions provider and creator of the popular urban mobility app.Acquired
  • Roy Bick
  • Nir Erez
Growth (2013)Collapse
OkayOkay builds dashboards for engineering leaders so that they can run high-performing teams.Growth
  • Tomas Barreto
  • Antoine Boulanger
Seed (2020)Collapse
OtterOtter matches parents who need childcare with stay-at-home parents who can care for their kids.Early
  • Helen Mayer
Early (2021)Collapse
redditreddit is the front page of the Internet featuring user-generated links to content around the web.Growth
  • Steve Huffman
  • Alexis Ohanian
Growth (2014)Collapse
Summer HealthSummer Health is making board-certified pediatricians available to parents via text message.Arc
  • Ellen DaSilva
  • Matthew Woo
Seed (2022)Collapse
TourlaneTourlane is an online booking platform for custom multiday trips.Growth
  • Julian Stiefel
  • Julian Weselek
Early (2018)Collapse
TrueworkTruework is an API platform for employment verification.Growth
  • Victor Kabdebon
  • Ryan Sandler
  • Ethan Winchell
Early (2018)Collapse
ZiplineZipline delivers vital shipments via the most reliable drone delivery service in the world.Growth
  • Keller Rinaudo
  • Keenan Wyrobek
Early (2012)Collapse

Enduring Companies

Company Name  Short Description Current Stage  Founders First Partnered  collapse
AirbnbAirbnb connects people around the world with unique homes and unforgettable experiences.IPO
  • Nathan Blecharczyk
  • Brian Chesky
  • Joe Gebbia
Seed (2009)Collapse
DoorDashDoorDash is an on-demand delivery service. IPO
  • Andy Fang
  • Stanley Tang
  • Tony Xu
Early (2014)Collapse
ZapposZappos, now part of Amazon, is an online shoe retailer driven by customer service.Acquired
  • Tony Hsieh
  • Nick Swinmurn
Growth (2004)Collapse