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Carl Eschenbach

  • Growth

When you change your life from one that is focused on success to living a life focused on significance it's amazing the impact you will have and what you get in return.


Growing up in northeast Pennsylvania, my life was all about family. My father, who I consider my mentor, worked at a dynamite factory, then started multiple businesses—we sold ice cream in the summers and Christmas trees in the winters. He was a hard-working man who taught me integrity, humility and, most importantly, placing family first. I got a wrestling scholarship to a four-year college. But I saw my brother-in-law go to a technical school and start building a successful career, and I decided to switch to DeVry. That was a crucible moment for me. Without it I never would have gotten into tech.

When Diane Green hired me, there were 200 people at VMWare, and when I left there were 20,000. We scaled the business from $30M in my first year to $7B 14 years later. I can tell you there’s no playbook for that kind of growth. Many days I woke up in the morning and wasn’t sure what to do—we just figured it out. I took on nearly every role at the company, including CFO, COO and President.

After more than 25 years on airplanes, I wanted to be home for my kids’ high school years. When Jim Goetz first suggested Sequoia, I thought, “No way. I’m an operator, not a VC.” But it’s been an amazing journey. I’ve learned a lot from my partners—I feel blessed to be part of Sequoia and to help our portfolio companies scale and grow.

On the lookout for

I’m a specialist, not a generalist. It’s great to learn something new—like being on the board of a self-driving vehicle company—and my partners have taught me a lot about things like consumer apps and crypto. But anything associated with infrastructure, SaaS, cloud and selling into the enterprise, or building businesses bottoms up are very much my sweet spots.

When it comes to hiring, I focus on SKQs—skills, knowledge and qualities. Founders need all three, but the first two can be taught, so I focus on the qualities. Do they have integrity? Do they care about others? Do they love being part of a team? Do they have drive, are they passionate? Are they resilient but flexible? These are things that typically can’t be taught. A founder with the right qualities is the starting point for building the culture you need to scale.

Get in touch with Carl

Personal Side

  • Faith
  • Family
  • Fitness
  • Friends

Press & Media


Current Companies

Company Name  Short Description Current Stage  Founders First Partnered  collapse
CaptivateIQCaptivateIQ's SaaS solution helps enterprise companies manage and optimize sales commissions.Growth
  • Mark Schopmeyer
  • Conway Teng
  • Hubert Wong
Early (2020)Collapse
CohesityCohesity is a software-defined enterprise data management platform in the cloud that eliminates data silos.Growth
  • Mohit Aron
Early (2013)Collapse
CrestaCresta provides real-time coaching for call centers.Growth
  • Zayd Enam
  • Tim Shi
  • Sebastian Thrun
Growth (2021)Collapse
GongGong delivers insights on every customer interaction at scale so revenue teams can make smarter decisions.Growth
  • Amit Bendov
  • Eilon Reshef
Growth (2019)Collapse
GrafanaGrafana is an observability platform that integrates metrics, traces and logs.Growth
  • Rajiv Dutt
  • Torkel Ödegaard
  • Anthony Woods
Growth (2021)Collapse
KumoKumo makes AI as easy as analytics. Growth
  • Vanja Josifovski
  • Jure Leskovec
  • Hema Raghavan
Early (2021)Collapse
RetoolRetool is the fastest way to build internal applications.Growth
  • David Hsu
Early (2019)Collapse
RocksetRockset is a real-time analytics at cloud scale.Growth
  • Dhruba Borthakur
  • Venkat Venkataramani
Pre-Seed/Seed (2016)Collapse
Salt SecuritySalt Security is a cybersecurity company focused on securing APIs.Growth
  • Roey Eliyahu
  • Michael Nicosia
Growth (2020)Collapse

Enduring Companies

Company Name  Short Description Current Stage  Founders First Partnered  collapse
ArmisArmis is the first agentless, enterprise-class security platform for unmanaged and IoT devices.Acquired
  • Yevgeny Dibrov
  • Nadir Izrael
Early (2015)Collapse
AuroraAurora delivers the benefits of self-driving technology safely and efficiently.IPO
  • Sterling Anderson
  • Drew Bagnell
  • Chris Urmson
Growth (2019)Collapse
MedalliaMedallia offers customer experience management software.IPO
  • Borge Hald
  • Amy Pressman
Growth (2011)Collapse
Palo Alto NetworksPalo Alto Networks is a global cybersecurity leader focused on the cloud.IPO
  • Rajiv Batra
  • Nir Zuk
Early (2005)Collapse
SnowflakeSnowflake is a data warehouse platform built for the cloud.IPO
  • Thierry Cruanes
  • Benoit Dageville
  • Marcin Zukowski
Growth (2018)Collapse
ThousandEyesThousandEyes provides network intelligence for the cloud.Acquired
  • Mohit Lad
  • Ricardo Oliveira
Pre-Seed/Seed (2011)Collapse
UiPathUiPath is an AI-enhanced end-to-end automation platform.IPO
  • Daniel Dines
  • Marius Tirca
Growth (2018)Collapse
ZoomZoom brings teams together with cloud-based video communications.IPO
  • Eric Yuan
Growth (2016)Collapse