Selling Early Is Not The Problem For Legends

Don Valentine passed away yesterday.

He was the founder of Venture Capital firm Sequoia Capital.

My friend Semil posted some factoids about Don on Twitter:

Don Valentine’s first fund was $3M in 1974, invested in Atari & Apple. That fund gave birth to Sequoia Capital.

Surprisingly, neither of them were insane outcomes for Sequoia (compared to the impact they had on the world). Sequoia was forced to sell their share in Apple early on (for $6m) because one of their LP’s needed the money to pay their taxes… and Atari got sold to Warner for $28m

In Don’s first fund, he returned four-fold in 1 year on a $600K investment in Atari and thirtyfold in 3 years on a $200K investment in Apple in the 1970s.

Don’s first $7M fund compounded at an annual rate of 51% between its launch in 1974 and its termination 6 years later.

Don’s second fund was 3x larger and grew at 71% annually between 4/1976 and 10/1983.

Talk about ‘Vision’ funds!

It is a reminder that small can be beautiful and full of alpha.

Sequoia Capital set up a site to remember Don.