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Roelof Botha

Partner Rating:

Rated 4.2 / 5.0 by 36

Partner Information:

Title:     Partner

Location:  Menlo Park, US West

Blog:      Roelof Botha

Firm Rating:

Rated 3.8 / 5.0 by 106

Firm Information:

Company:   Sequoia Capital

Type:      Medium Private VC

URL:       Firm Homepage

PERSONAL SPECIALTY: None.

FIRM DESCRIPTION: Sequoia Capital is a venture capital firm founded by Don Valentine in 1972. The firm has offices in the US, China, India and Israel. Sequoia has funded an unprecedented number of enormously successful companies including Google, Yahoo, Paypal, Electronic Arts, YouTube, NVIDIA, Cisco Systems, Oracle and Apple. Sequoia estimates that 10% of the NASDAQ’s value is made up of firms they have funded.

27
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1
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Professional Courtesy: Roelof Botha

Fund: Sequoia Capital

Posted by TeamDater on 2008-03-02

PUBLIC:

In the spirit of feedback, I emailed Roelof Botha out of the blue, after reading an article on him from Forbes a few months back. Even though he passed on taking next steps right now for investment, he was a complete gentleman, and got back to me on an incredibly timely basis. He gave me a look, and we emailed back and forth.

At the end of the day, that's all you can ask for. I think sometimes both sides forget we are all on the same team, and one is nothing without the other. Having been on our side, I think Roelof relates better than others, and I have respect for him.

PRIVATE: Members Only

16
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1
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Don't Leave a Copy of Your Slides..Unless You Want Your Competitors to Have Them

Fund: Sequoia Capital

Posted by anonymous on 2007-07-23

PRIVATE: Members Only (983 Characters)

14
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1
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A Bit Arrogant

Fund: Sequoia Capital

Posted by Anonymous on 2007-12-19

PRIVATE: Members Only (1047 Characters)

14
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3
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Be Careful These Guys Eat Their Own Young

Fund: Sequoia Capital

Posted by anonymous on 2007-07-23

PRIVATE: Members Only (826 Characters)

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0
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Similar Experience to Previous

Fund: Sequoia Capital

Posted by Anonymous on 2007-08-29

PUBLIC:

Was initially pleasantly surprised to be scheduled for a full 1.5 hours for our pitch, a luxurious time frame...however, was not at all surprised (despite rumors that there had been a crack down in this area) to find that the scheduled time did not match reality. We began 30 minutes later than scheduled, due to the late arrival of the Sequoia partner.

PRIVATE: Members Only (818 Characters)

9
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0
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Focus on Market Size

Fund: Sequoia Capital

Posted by generalist on 2008-06-14

PUBLIC:

Sequoia Capital's investment strategy is very simple - the product/service has to serve a very large market. They can fix everything else (replace management, keep developing the product, etc.) but they can not fix the market. If you want to pitch them - make sure that your story shows a huge market for your offering.

PRIVATE: Members Only (551 Characters)

9
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0
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30+ Minutes Late and Then Rushed Me

Fund: Sequoia Capital

Posted by Anonymous on 2007-12-06

PUBLIC:

The Partner that we were scheduled to meet with (through a referral) was 30+ minutes late. He rushed us through almost every pitch slide in our presentation. As he hurried out of the room after 25 minutes he kept saying, "Let's stay in touch. Let's stay in touch".

Really bad form

PRIVATE: Members Only

9
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2
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Why Work for Sequoia?

Fund: Sequoia Capital

Posted by Anonymous on 2008-01-25

PUBLIC:

I have never pitched to Sequoia. However, I am in the process of fund raising with a pretty decent idea and a beta site that has got good feedback.

From the commentators above (see below), it seems like Sequoia is a real pain to work with. I quit wherever I was working because I wanted to do my own thing. My previous work place was a typical b-school haven full of "really smart guys" who are arrogant. Sequoia seems like that. It almost seems like you work for Sequoia instead of yourself (esp. if they are going to replace you). So why would I go through it again"

Or I am reading too much into it"

Btw- Was Marc Andreeson referring to Sequoia when he said "For example, some venture firms are very entrepreneur-friendly. Others are notoriously brutal. Interestingly, financial success in the venture capital profession does not seem to be correlated to entrepreneur-friendliness."
http://blog.pmarca.com/2007/06/the_tr...

PRIVATE: Members Only (1529 Characters)

9
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Play Book

Fund: Sequoia Capital

Posted by bootstrapper on 2007-06-23

PUBLIC:

How the meetings usually go is standard among most VC. Make sure you know your market and have focus. Execution is #1 so know exactly how you have/will win customers, market share and make money.

PRIVATE: Members Only (3786 Characters)

9
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2
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Practice First

Fund: Sequoia Capital

Posted by tech_vp on 2007-05-23

PUBLIC:

A small tip. Before you take a meeting with Sequoia, practice on lesser name VC's first. We took our very first VC meeting of our fund raising exercise with them and I wish we would have done them last. VC's have a play book, they all pretty much ask the same questions. It's very nice to know what to expect before you walk in the door with these guys.

PRIVATE: Members Only

9
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0
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No Small Deals

Fund: Sequoia Capital

Posted by seller on 2007-05-08

PUBLIC:

Sequoia is a great partner, and will come to a decision quickly. One thing that sticks with them is ability to grow big. They do not want small (<$100M) exits, and will gauge founders views on this notion. Plans need to have long term view toward market building and revenue.

PRIVATE: Members Only

9
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4
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Too Much Testosterone?

Fund: Sequoia Capital

Posted by Anonymous on 2007-03-15

PRIVATE: Members Only (300 Characters)

8
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2
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Tam Investor

Fund: Sequoia Capital

Posted by bubblepopper on 2007-08-07

PUBLIC:

Sequoia is a "TAM" (Total Addressable Market) investor. Unfortunately, they view as expendable the founders and employees who take huge personal risk to help them address these markets. As an entrepreneur, I think they are the stereotype of the VC to be avoided.

To sum up:

"Knock knock."
"Who's there""
"Sequoia Capital""
"Sequoia Capital wh--"
"HIT YOUR NUMBERS!"

Having said that, they are extremely bright guys, and because they are so powerful it's easy for them to bring in their buddies for additional rounds. And to state the utterly obvious, I would love to be a Sequoia LP.

PRIVATE: Members Only (1114 Characters)

8
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1
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Very Professional, Prompt, and Quick Decision W/Feedback

Fund: Sequoia Capital

Posted by Anonymous on 2007-07-08

PUBLIC:

Met with two partners at Sequoia and was very impressed with both. Took a meeting within a few days of receiving the executive summary. They listened, ask really good questions, said they would get back in a couple of days, did, was a no, but said they were happy to provide feedback, scheduled time for it, and gave good feedback...All in all, for a rejection, could not have gone better :)

PRIVATE: Members Only

8
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Thumbs Up on Sequoia, Roelof

Fund: Sequoia Capital

Posted by dweekly on 2007-05-09

PUBLIC:

Even though our company ended up taking funding from another VC, our experience with Sequoia in general, and Roelof in particular, was extraordinarily positive. I came in half-expecting to be eaten alive, given some of the stories, but the partners were attentive listeners, kind, and gave wise and sensible feedback. I'd think with their kind of track record they'd be more standoffish, but I was pleasantly disarmed. Good guys!

PRIVATE: Members Only (161 Characters)

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Lesson Learned Only Pitch a Partner

Fund: Sequoia Capital

Posted by Anonymous on 2008-01-11

PUBLIC:

We were bounced around the firm for our initial pitch and landed on Joe Dobrenski. Lesson learned, only pitch a real player in the firm.

Joe was a nice enough guy (I suppose), but a complete waste of our time. He was really really really late and then hurried us along. No eye contact or attempt to engage in a meaningful discussion. Bolted for the door after 20 minutes.

If anyone sells Dale Carnegie classes... please call on Sequoia Capital and sell them the basic intro course on how to win friends and influence people.

PRIVATE: Members Only

7
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Funding Notes

Fund: Sequoia Capital

Posted by anon on 2007-08-09

PRIVATE: Members Only (785 Characters)

7
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0
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The Top Dogs

Fund: Sequoia Capital

Posted by Anonymous on 2007-05-26

PUBLIC:

These guys earn their reputations - good decisions fast.

PRIVATE: Members Only (447 Characters)

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0
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Great Firm

Fund: Sequoia Capital

Posted by Anonymous on 2007-03-15

PRIVATE: Members Only (187 Characters)

5
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Mr. X and Mr. Y

Fund: Sequoia Capital

Posted by opus on 2007-05-13

PUBLIC:

They have two partners for each deal -- for privacy reasons I will decline to name the two partners on our deal. Mr. X has been very responsive and straight with us, an early stage venture spawned at MIT (we have no slick MBAs or presentation yet). Mr. Y was really cool too -- unlike lesser VCs that nag about our lack of a team, these guys really focused upon the consumer experience. However, getting beyond the talk to a deal was not (yet) possible for us. Look at their track record and not at their website's claims about "very early stage" 100K deals. All their recent deals are post-Beta w/ >$3million. That said, they are very responsive and give good advice. They are actually really conservative -- they'll get in when it's a sure thing.

PRIVATE: Members Only (124 Characters)

5
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Impressive

Fund: Sequoia Capital

Posted by Anonymous on 2007-03-21

PUBLIC:

Focus is on building things that can be worth $1B or more (otherwise, not worth their time...) Bring discipline and unbeatable rolodex to the table.

PRIVATE: Members Only (155 Characters)

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The End of the VC Days is Near: Sequoia Buys a Bank

Fund: Sequoia Capital

Posted by Anonymous on 2009-10-22

PUBLIC:

At first, I was shocked to learn that Sequoia was part of a private equity consortium that bought First Republic Bank. Then, upon further thought, it's no surprise that top venture capitalists would start to abandon the venture capital model first...

-- http://bit.ly/1dwhWq

Has venture investing gotten that bad? I know that top venture funds have the authority to do all types of deals, including public market investments. It makes sense for VCs to try and make money however they can, so I get buying a publicly traded technology company or even taking some innovative traditional businesses private, like a newspaper with a good online division.

BUT, buying a bank? Where is the innovation?

PRIVATE: Members Only

4
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Similar Experience to Others

Fund: Sequoia Capital

Posted by mojojojo on 2007-12-28

PUBLIC:

Lots of meetings resulting in a suggestion to refocus the business on just a few current customers. Why would I need venture funding for that"

PRIVATE: Members Only

4
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Memories Mar the VC Maven

Fund: Sequoia Capital

Posted by anonymous on 2007-08-18

PUBLIC:

Most of the partners at Sequoia are top-drawer. But a sour apple in the barrel can make it a harder decision for seasoned entrepreneurs to choose Sequoia.

PRIVATE: Members Only (745 Characters)

4
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1
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Sequoia India Keeps It in Family

Fund: Sequoia Capital

Posted by Anonymous on 2007-08-07

PUBLIC:

Sequoia India recently committed $7M to a social netowork, MingleBox.com. The CEO of MingleBox is married to one of the Managing Directors at Sequoia Cap India. Is there a conflict of interest, you bet!

PRIVATE: Members Only