Benchmark (venture capital firm)
|Limited liability company|
|Headquarters||Menlo Park, California, United States
San Francisco, California, United States
Benchmark is noted for creating the first equal ownership and compensation structure for its partners. The "maverick" firm 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."
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.
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.
Benchmark has invested in more than 250 startups since its inception in 1995, including Art.com/Allposters.com, Baixing, CTERA Networks, Confluent, Cockroach, Cyanogen, Discord, Duo, Domo, Docker, Dropbox, eBay, HackerOne, Instagram, Juniper Networks, Marin Software, Minted, MySQL, New Relic, Nextdoor, OpenTable, ResearchGate, Snapchat, Stitch Fix, Twitter, Tellme Networks, Uber, Vessel, Yelp, Inc., WeWork, Zillow, and Zuora, The firm manages nearly $3 billion in committed capital and has been widely recognized for its commitment to open source. Other notable investments include AOL, 1-800-Flowers, Ebags.com, Friendster, JAMDAT, MetaCafe, Palm Computing, Seeking Alpha, ServiceSource, Xapo, and Zipcar.
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). 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.
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. 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%.
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