Don Valentine, founder of arguably one of the most successful investment firms of our age, Sequoia Capital, passed away today. Born in 1932, Valentine passed away of natural causes at the age of 87.
A statement on the Sequoia website read:
Don Valentine, founder of Sequoia Capital and one of the generation of leaders who forged Silicon Valley, died today aged 87 at his home in Woodside, California. He shaped Sequoia and left his imprint not just on his family and friends and those who worked with him, or the many philanthropic institutions that have invested with Sequoia Capital, but also on the Founders and leaders of some of the most significant technology companies of the later part of the twentieth century.
Valentine started his career with Raytheon, after majoring in chemistry from Fordham university. Once he moved to the Bay Area to work with Fairchild Semiconductor, he started investing his own money into different technology startups. A few chance meetings later, he formed a $3 Mn fund in 1974 with the support of Capital Group, investing in companies like Atari, Apple, and Cisco.
Interestingly, he choose the name Sequoia, as a nod to a species of Redwood, that is known for its resilience and longevity.
Doug Leone, billionaire venture capitalist and partner at Sequoia, said:
We are deeply saddened to share that Don Valentine passed away on October 25, 2019. Don’s life is woven into the fabric of Silicon Valley. 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. Our thoughts are with Don’s wife, Rachel, with his family, and with all those inspired by his pioneering vision and indelible impact.
Valentine, who is also credited with playing a key role in making the Silicon Valley what it is today, is survived by his wife; three children; and seven grandchildren.