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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.

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.

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Current Companies

  • CaptivateIQ's SaaS solution helps enterprise companies manage and optimize sales commissions.
    Current Stage

    Growth

    Partners
      Konstantine Buhler,
      Carl Eschenbach
    Partnered In

    2020

  • Cohesity is a software-defined enterprise data management platform in the cloud that eliminates data silos.
    Current Stage

    Growth

    Partners
      Bill Coughran,
      Carl Eschenbach
    Partnered In

    2013

  • Cresta provides real-time coaching for call centers.
    Current Stage

    Growth

    Partners
      Carl Eschenbach,
      Kais Khimji
    Partnered In

    2021

  • Gong delivers insights on every customer interaction at scale so revenue teams can make smarter decisions.
    Current Stage

    Growth

    Partners
      Carl Eschenbach,
      Sonya Huang
    Partnered In

    2019

  • Grafana is an observability platform that integrates metrics, traces and logs.
    Current Stage

    Growth

    Partners
      Carl Eschenbach,
      Kais Khimji
    Partnered In

    2021

  • Rockset is a real-time analytics at cloud scale.
    Current Stage

    Growth

    Partners
      Mike Vernal,
      Bogomil Balkansky,
      Carl Eschenbach
    Partnered In

    2016

  • Salt Security is a cybersecurity company focused on securing APIs.
    Current Stage

    Growth

    Partners
      Carl Eschenbach,
      Kais Khimji
    Partnered In

    2020

Enduring Companies

  • Armis is the first agentless, enterprise-class security platform for unmanaged and IoT devices.
    Current Stage

    Acquired

    Partners
      Carl Eschenbach,
      Sonya Huang,
      Kais Khimji
    Partnered In

    2015

  • Aurora delivers the benefits of self-driving technology safely and efficiently.
    Current Stage

    IPO

    Partner
      Carl Eschenbach
    Partnered In

    2019

  • Medallia offers customer experience management software.
    Current Stage

    IPO

    Partners
      Doug Leone,
      Carl Eschenbach,
      Pat Grady
    Partnered In

    2011

  • Palo Alto Networks is a global cybersecurity leader focused on the cloud.
    Current Stage

    IPO

    Partners
      Jim Goetz,
      Carl Eschenbach
    Partnered In

    2005

  • Skyhigh Networks is a cloud security software.
    Current Stage

    Acquired

    Partner
      Carl Eschenbach
    Partnered In

    2013

  • Snowflake is a data warehouse platform built for the cloud.
    Current Stage

    IPO

    Partners
      Pat Grady,
      Carl Eschenbach
    Partnered In

    2018

  • ThousandEyes provides network intelligence for the cloud.
    Current Stage

    Acquired

    Partners
      Jim Goetz,
      Carl Eschenbach
    Partnered In

    2011

  • UiPath is an AI-enhanced end-to-end automation platform.
    Current Stage

    IPO

    Partner
      Carl Eschenbach
    Partnered In

    2018

  • Viptela, now part of Cisco, is a software-defined networking solution.
    Current Stage

    Acquired

    Partners
      Bill Coughran,
      Carl Eschenbach
    Partnered In

    2012

  • Zoom brings teams together with cloud-based video communications.
    Current Stage

    IPO

    Partners
      Carl Eschenbach,
      Pat Grady
    Partnered In

    2016