Sequoia Capital founder Don Valentine Dies at 87

One of the leading American venture capitalists who centered largely on technology companies in Silicon Valley.

Donald T. Valentine the founder of Sequoia Capital died in his home in Woodside, California at the age of 87 of natural causes.

As a tribute to Valentine, Sequoia posted calling him as “one of a generation of leaders who forged Silicon Valley.”

He gave almost 40 years of his life working in Silicon Valley, and Sequoia Capital, which is extensively credited with cementing California’s Bay Area as the tech powerhouse that it is today. 

Valentine majored in Chemistry at Fordham University. He moved to San Francisco to work for Fairchild Semiconductor that is one of the earliest tech start-ups that eventually developed into computing giants Intel, Advanced Micro Devices, and National Semiconductor. Later Valentine joined National Semiconductor as founding Vice President of Sales and Marketing. While Valentine was at National he started doing small personal investments in a range of young technology companies.

In 1972 he founded his first venture fund that facilitates Sequoia Capital to be one of the most successful and stable venture firms in Silicon Valley.

Don Valentine founded Sequoia in 1972, before the terms ‘Silicon Valley’ and ‘venture capital’ had been coined.

He has invested in many major technology companies such as; Atari in 1975 which was his first investment and wrote a cheque of $150,000 to founders of Apple Computers Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak in 1978.

Sequoia Capital has been a notable feature in Silicon Valley tech history. This organization has supported some of the industry’s biggest companies which include Oracle, Cisco, Microchip Technology, Linear Technology, and Network Appliance, also incubated several most important companies, such as Electronic Arts and Sierra Semiconductor.

Here is a tribute video by Sequoia Capital to its founder:

Valentine gave charge of the business to Doug Leone and Michael Moritz in the mid-1990s and managed a really smooth transition. Even though he was still active in the firm he hardly intervened with the new leadership.

Leone said in a statement: 

“Don’s life is woven into the fabric of Silicon Valley.” 

He also said, “He shaped Sequoia and left his imprint not just on those of us who had the privilege to work with him or the many philanthropic institutions that invested with Sequoia, but also on the founders and leaders of some of the most significant technology companies of the later part of the twentieth century.”

Valentine is survived by his wife, three children, and seven grandchildren, according to the firm’s tribute.

Featured image: TechCrunch

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