Benchmark (venture capital firm)

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Limited liability company
IndustryVenture capital
Founded1995; 23 years ago (1995)
FounderBob Kagle
Bruce Dunlevie
Andy Rachleff
Kevin Harvey
HeadquartersMenlo Park, California, United States
San Francisco, California, United States

Benchmark is an American venture capital firm responsible for the early stage funding of numerous successful startups including Dropbox,[1] Twitter, Uber,[2] Snapchat,[3] Instagram,[4] and Discord.[5]

In 1997, the firm invested $6.7 million in eBay, which made it worth more than $5 billion by the spring of 1999.[6]

Other high-profile investments include Domo,[7] New Relic,[8] Nextdoor,[9] Stitch Fix,[10] WeWork,[11] Yelp,[12] Zendesk,[13] Zillow[14] and Zipcar.[15]


Benchmark is noted for creating the first equal ownership and compensation structure for its partners.[16] The "maverick" firm[17] differs from most VC firms, which are named for their founders and are structured hierarchically; Benchmark is "a lean operation in which its six full-time partners share profits equally."[17] There is no differentiation between its "junior partners" and "senior partners," as each partner benefits equally from company profits. In addition, there is no CEO-like position held.[18]

The firm announced in May 2012 it would be expanding beyond its Menlo Park, California headquarters by opening a second headquarters with more than 10,000 square feet in San Francisco’s emerging tech corridor, the Mid-Market neighborhood.[19]

Key people[edit]

Benchmark Capital was founded in 1995 by four partners. Bob Kagle was a marketing expert with VC experience at Technology Venture Investors. Bruce Dunlevie also came from VC experience at Merrill Pickard Anderson & Eyre. Andy Rachleff had a background in network equipment and telecommunications. Kevin Harvey had invested in a database software company while at Merrill Pickard.[citation needed]

The firm's general partners are Matt Cohler, Peter Fenton, Bill Gurley, Mitch Lasky, Eric Vishria, and Sarah Tavel.[20][21][22][23][24][25]


Benchmark has invested in more than 250 startups[26] since its inception in 1995, including:

The firm manages nearly $3 billion in committed capital and has been widely recognized for its commitment to open source.[49] Other notable investments include AOL, 1-800-Flowers,, Friendster, JAMDAT, MetaCafe, Palm Computing, Seeking Alpha, ServiceSource, Xapo,[50] and Zipcar.[51]

Since early 2011, Benchmark has had 25 exits, including 10 IPOs and 15 mergers and acquisitions, representing a total market value of more than $55 billion (as of January 2014).[26] Over the years, by 2015 Benchmark’s eight funds have paid out $22.6 billion to investors, and its backers received a 1,000% gain—net of fees—over the past decade.[1]

By February 2013, Snapchat confirmed a $13.5 million Series A funding round led by Benchmark Capital, which valued the company at between $60 million and $70 million.[52] Beyond the two founders, the two biggest shareholders for the planned early 2017 Snap IPO were Benchmark and Lightspeed Venture Partners, both prior Snap investors and venture-capital firms from Silicon Valley. They held a combined stake of about 20%.[53]


  1. ^ a b Konrad, Alex. "The Benchmark Way: Five Partners Who Make Other VC Firms Look Outgunned And Overstaffed". Forbes.
  2. ^ Helft, Miguel (6 June 2014). "These are the venture firms celebrating Uber's massive $18B valuation". Fortune. Retrieved 29 September 2014.
  3. ^ a b Wortham, Jenna (8 February 2013). "A Growing App Lets You See It, Then You Don't". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 May 2013.
  4. ^ Indvik, Lauren (2 February 2011). "Instagram Raises $7 Million, Hits 1.75M Members". Mashable. Mashable. Retrieved 29 September 2014.
  5. ^ Takahashi, "Fates Forever mobile game maker Hammer & Chisel raises funding from Benchmark and Tencent", Venture Beat, February 10, 2015.
  6. ^ "EBAY'S IPO RETURN IS JUST PEANUTS TO SOME". Retrieved 2012-11-16.
  7. ^ Konrad, Alex. "Domo Reveals Its Business Software, Raises $200 Million At $2 Billion Valuation". Forbes.
  8. ^ Cromwell, Schuberth. "Big winners on New Relic, Hortonworks IPOs are mostly Benchmark, Peter Fenton". Silicon Valley Business Journal.
  9. ^ Chapman, Lizette. "Valued at $1.1 Billion, Nextdoor's Pivot Appears to Be Paying Off". The Wall Street Journal.
  10. ^ Gannes, Liz. "Happy Stitch Fix Investors Pump Another Round Into Personal Shopping Startup". Re/code.
  11. ^ Alex, Konrad. "Inside The Phenomenal Rise Of WeWork". Forbes.
  12. ^ Empson, Rip. "Twitter, Yelp Board Member Peter Fenton On How Enterprise Is Learning From The Consumer Web". TechCrunch.
  13. ^ Connie, Loizos. "Benchmark's Newest Partner, Eric Vishria, On His First Year at the Powerhouse Firm". TechCrunch.
  14. ^ Jackson, Eric. "Interview With Bill Gurley: The Guy Who Backed OpenTable, Yelp, GrubHub, Twitter, Zillow And Uber". Forbes.
  15. ^ Chapman, Lizette. "For Venture Firms, Zipcar Purchase a Profitable but Disappointing Exit". Wall Street Journal.
  16. ^ Stross, Randall (2009-12-29). eBoys: The First Inside Account of Venture Capitalists at Work. Ballantine Books (May 29, 2001). p. 89. ISBN 978-0-345-42889-9.
  17. ^ a b Hempel, Jessi (11 February 2013). "Bill Gurley: The sage of Silicon Valley". Fortune. Retrieved 2 May 2013.
  18. ^ Konrad, Alex. "The Benchmark Way: Five Partners Who Make Other VC Firms Look Outgunned And Overstaffed". Forbes. Retrieved 2017-12-21.
  19. ^ Levy, Ari (25 May 2012). "Benchmark Joins Twitter in San Francisco's Startup Zone". Bloomberg. Retrieved 23 August 2012.
  20. ^ Lawler, Ryan (23 July 2014). "Rockmelt Co-Founder Eric Vishria Joins Benchmark As Its Newest Partner". TechCrunch. TechCrunch. Retrieved 29 September 2014.
  21. ^ "VentureBeat Facebook's Matt Cohler leaves for Benchmark Capital". 2008-06-19.
  22. ^ "Peter Fenton: Prominent VC, successful triathlete". 2007-05-11.
  23. ^ "Benchmark Capital hires Lasky, of Jamdat fame". 2007-03-19.
  24. ^ Loizos, Connie. "Benchmark Adds A Sixth General Partner: Scott Belsky". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2016-02-18.
  25. ^ Loizos, Connie (2017-05-09). "Benchmark just hired Sarah Tavel, the first female general partner in the firm's history". Retrieved 2017-05-11.
  26. ^ a b "Benchmark Capital". Company Profile. CrunchBase. Retrieved 4 February 2014.
  27. ^ Lawler, Ryan. "Benchmark Backs Real-Time Data Processing Startup Confluent". Retrieved 3 December 2014.
  28. ^ Novet, Jordan. "Peter Fenton's latest investment is a database startup called Cockroach".
  29. ^ Culter, Kim-Mai. "Cyanogen Mod Raises $7M To Find A Direct-To-Consumer Route For Android Firmware".
  30. ^ Takahashi, "Fates Forever mobile game maker Hammer & Chisel raises funding from Benchmark and Tencent", Venture Beat, February 10, 2015.
  31. ^ Lawler, Ryan (22 September 2014). "Two-Factor Authentication Startup Duo Security Raises $12 Million From Benchmark". TechCrunch. TechCrunch. Retrieved 29 September 2014.
  32. ^ Lacy, Sarah. "Series A Whopper: Benchmark Invests $33M in New BI Company Domo".
  33. ^ Alex, Williams. "Docker Raises $15M For Its Open-Source Platform That Helps Developers Build Apps In The Cloud". Retrieved 18 September 2015.
  34. ^ Gage, Deborah (28 May 2014). "HackerOne Emerges With $9 Million to Root Out Software Bugs". Wall Street Journal. Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 29 September 2014.
  35. ^ Gannes, Liz. "Instagram Raises $7M Led by Benchmark".
  36. ^ "Benchmark leads series B for marin software". April 7, 2008.
  37. ^ Rao, Leena. "Cloud App Management Platform New Relic Raises $15M From DAG, Benchmark". TechCrunch. Retrieved 18 September 2015.
  38. ^ Isaac, Mike. "Nextdoor Raises $18.6M From Benchmark, Greylock in First Major Funding Round". Retrieved 18 September 2015.
  39. ^ "ResearchGate brings in strong funding round for 'scientific Facebook'". The Guardian. 2010. Retrieved 2010-08-09.
  40. ^ "This Startup Wants to Be the OpenTable for Urgent Care". Fortune. Retrieved 2017-04-24.
  41. ^ Kucera, Danielle. "Stitch Fix Nabs $12 Million From Benchmark to Customize Commerce". Retrieved 18 September 2015.
  42. ^ Chapman, Lizette. "Twitter Investor Benchmark Capital Gets Smaller Taste In Potbelly IPO". Retrieved 18 September 2015.
  43. ^ Arrington, Michael. "Huge Vote Of Confidence: Uber Raises $11 Million From Benchmark Capital". Retrieved 18 September 2015.
  44. ^ "AR startup Ubiquity6 lands $27M Series B to build a more user-friendly augmented reality". TechCrunch.
  45. ^ Kafka, Peter (24 June 2014). "Jason Kilar's New Startup Has a Name, and a Whole Lot of Money". Re/code. Re/code. Retrieved 29 September 2014.
  46. ^ Kosoff, Maya. "WeWork, a startup that rents out office space to other startups, may soon be valued at $10 billion". Retrieved 18 September 2015.
  47. ^ Schonfeld, Erick (13 March 2008). "Benchmark and Benioff Put $6.5 Million Into Zuora to Create a Salesforce for Online Billing". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2 May 2013.
  48. ^ "Benchmark, Marissa Mayer Put $5.5M In Stationery Design And Retail Site Minted". TechCrunch.
  49. ^ Asay, Matt (2008-04-01). "Open-source venture investing hits an all-time high | The Open Road - CNET News". Retrieved 2012-11-16.
  50. ^ Rusli, Evelyn (13 March 2014). "Latest Bitcoin Craze? Actual Bank Vaults". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 17 March 2014.
  51. ^ "Benchmark".
  52. ^ Primack, Dan. (June 26, 2013) Snapchat's liquidity trap – The Term Sheet: Fortune's deals blogTerm Sheet. Retrieved on December 9, 2013.
  53. ^ Winkler, Rolfe (February 3, 2017), Snap IPO Will Mint Fortunes for Founders, Two Big Investors, New York City: Wall Street Journal, retrieved January 4, 2017

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