David O. Sacks
A major contributor to this article appears to have a close connection with its subject. (August 2021)
David O. Sacks
David Oliver Sacks
25 May 1972
Cape Town, South Africa
|Education||Stanford University and University of Chicago|
|Occupation||Tech entrepreneur / investor|
|Known for||Former CEO of Zenefits, Former COO of PayPal and CEO of Yammer|
David Oliver Sacks (born 25 May 1972) is an entrepreneur, and investor in internet technology firms. He is general partner of Craft Ventures, a venture capital fund he co-founded in late 2017. Previously, Sacks was the founding COO and product leader of PayPal (acquired by eBay in 2002 for $1.5 billion) and founder/CEO of Yammer (acquired by Microsoft in 2012 for $1.2 billion). In 2016, he led the turnaround of Zenefits as interim CEO. In 2017, Sacks co-founded Craft Ventures, an early-stage venture fund. His angel investments include Facebook, Uber, SpaceX, Palantir Technologies, Airbnb and Houzz. He is a co-host of the podcast All In.
Early life and education
Sacks was born in Cape Town, South Africa, and immigrated to Tennessee, United States, with his family when he was five. Though Sacks did not know he wanted to be an entrepreneur, he did not want to work a profession like his father, who was an endocrinologist. He took inspiration from his grandfather, who started a candy factory in the 1920s.
Sacks attended Memphis University School in Memphis, Tennessee. He earned his B.A. in economics from Stanford University in 1994 and received a J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School in 1998.
In 1999, Sacks left his job as a management consultant for McKinsey & Company to join e-commerce service PayPal. As PayPal's COO and product leader, he built many of the company's key teams, and was responsible for product management and design, sales and marketing, business development, international, customer service, fraud operations, and human resources functions.
During his tenure, PayPal grew payment volume from zero to $500,000 per month and revenue from zero to $240 million per year. The company introduced business accounts, and expanded into multiple currencies and over 80 countries.
In February 2002, when PayPal went public, it was one of the first IPOs after the 11 September 2001 attacks. The stock rose more than 54% the first day. In October 2002, eBay acquired PayPal for $1.5 billion.
Sacks is a member of the "PayPal Mafia"—a group of founders and early employees of PayPal who went on to found a series of other successful technology companies. They are often credited with inspiring Web 2.0 and for the re-emergence of consumer-focused Internet companies after the dot com bust of 2001.
Thank You for Smoking
Based on Christopher Buckley's 1994 novel of the same title and adapted for the screen by director Jason Reitman, Thank You for Smoking is a satirical look at the culture of spin. The cast included Aaron Eckhart, William H. Macy, Sam Elliott, Rob Lowe, Maria Bello, Katie Holmes, Adam Brody, and Robert Duvall.
Thank You for Smoking was nominated for 2 Golden Globes in 2007 for Best Picture and Best Actor in the Comedy/Musical category. The movie also won Best Screenplay at the Independent Spirit Awards, Audience Awards at both the Munich and Norwegian Film Festivals, Best First Feature at the Toronto Film Critics Association Awards, Best Adapted Screenplay at the Washington DC Film Critics Association Awards and the San Diego Film Critics Association Awards, and Top Films of the Year at the New York Film Critics Online.
In 2006, Sacks founded Geni.com, a genealogy website that enables family members to collaboratively build an online family tree. At Geni, he wanted more visibility into what was going on across the organization, so the team created a productivity tool to help employees share information. In 2008, Sacks and co-founder Adam Pisoni spun this internal communications tool into a standalone company called Yammer. Geni was acquired by MyHeritage in 2012.
In 2008, Yammer launched the first Enterprise Social Network, a secure solution for internal corporate communication and collaboration, winning the grand prize at TechCrunch50 conference. According to Social Capital, Yammer's viral approach made it among the fastest-growing Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) companies in history, exceeding eight million enterprise users in just four years. Yammer received approximately US$142 million in funding from venture capital firms such as Charles River Ventures, Founders Fund, Emergence Capital Partners, and Goldcrest Investments.
In July 2012, Microsoft acquired Yammer for $1.2 billion as a core part of its cloud/social strategy.
In December 2014, Sacks made a "major investment" in Zenefits. In January 2016, Zenefits’ Board asked him to step in as interim CEO amidst a "regulatory crisis" regarding the company's licensing compliance. Over the next year, Sacks negotiated a resolution with insurance regulators across the U.S. – receiving praise for "righting the ship". Sacks also revamped Zenefits’ product line with an initiative he named "Z2", introducing a SaaS business model. Shortly after, PC Magazine would note Zenefits had become "the best HR software on the market". Sacks was succeeded by former Ooyala CEO, Jay Fulcher.
Sacks has been investing in technology companies for twenty years. As an angel investor, his investments include Addepar, Affirm, Airbnb, Clutter, Eventbrite, Facebook, Gusto, Houzz, Intercom, Mixpanel, Opendoor, Palantir Technologies, PayPal, Postmates, ResearchGate, Scribd, Slack, SpaceX, SurveyMonkey, ThirdLove, Uber and Wish.
In late 2017, Sacks co-founded Craft Ventures and raised an initial fund of $350 million. Craft raised $1.1B in 2021, which brought total assets under management to $2B, according to a Medium post published by the company. Unicorns in Craft Ventures Fund I and Fund II include Bird, BitGo, ClickUp, Pipe, Reddit, SourceGraph and SpaceX.
The Diversity Myth
In college, Sacks was the co-author – with Peter Thiel – of the 1995 book The Diversity Myth: 'Multiculturalism' and the Politics of Intolerance at Stanford, published by The Independent Institute. The book is critical of political correctness in higher education and argues that more intellectual diversity is needed on college campuses. In 2016, Sacks apologized for parts of the book where he called date rape ‘belated regret’ .
Awards and recognition
- San Francisco Business Times 40 Under 40, David Sacks (2012)
- Workforce Management Game Changers Award, David Sacks (2011)
- San Francisco Business Times Bay Area's Most Admired CEOs (2011)
- "Meet The Yammer CEO Who Just Made Hundreds Of Millions Of Dollars Selling To Microsoft". Business Insider. 25 June 2012. Retrieved 2 June 2020.
- "eBay to Acquire PayPal-- Shared Mission Will Expand Platforms and Benefit Consumers". eBay. 8 July 2002. Archived from the original on 21 November 2017. Retrieved 8 December 2017.
- "Fostering a Culture of Dissent". The New York Times. 16 July 2011. Retrieved 2 June 2020.
- "With $1.2 Billion Yammer Buy, Microsoft's Social Enterprise Strategy Takes Shape". TechCrunch. 25 June 2012. Retrieved 8 December 2017.
- "Zenefits, a Rocket That Fell to Earth, Tries to Launch Again". The New York Times. 12 October 2016. Retrieved 8 December 2017.
- "David Sacks teams with Bill Lee to raise $350 million VC fund". Axios. 4 January 2018. Retrieved 2 June 2020.
- "Max Levchin, Keith Rabois And David Sacks Back The Uber For Carwashes, Cherry". TechCrunch. 8 November 2011. Retrieved 8 December 2017.
- "Why one of the most successful people in tech took the No. 2 job at a startup". BusinessInsider. 6 July 2016. Retrieved 8 December 2017.
- "Meet the Uber Rich". Fortune. 5 June 2015. Retrieved 8 December 2017.
- "Early Google exec got Larry Page's backing to build a start-up factory focused on saving the planet". Retrieved 27 August 2021.
- "Yammer CEO: A Voice To Be Heard". Los Angeles Times. 1 July 2012. Retrieved 2 June 2020.
- Herel, Suzanne (22 February 2012). "Meet the Boss: David Sacks, CEO of Yammer". SF Gate. Retrieved 6 November 2018.
- Heral, Suzanne (22 February 2012). "Meet the Boss: David Sacks, CEO of Yammer". SF Gate. Retrieved 27 August 2021.
- "PayPal: executive officers and directors". EDGAR. 1 March 2002.
- "Management bios". Yammer. Archived from the original on 18 July 2011. Retrieved 17 February 2011.
- Davis, Joshua. University of Chicago Magazine (Sept./Oct. 2007, Volume 100, Issue 1). Take 2.0
- "Here's Why A Former PayPal Exec Absolutely Hates Meetings". BusinessInsider. Retrieved 31 May 2018.
- "Securities and Exchange Commission S1 Filing on June 12, 2002". SEC. Retrieved 31 May 2018.
- Kane, Margaret. CNET (15 February 2002). PayPal shares make strong debut
- CNN Money (2002-07-08). eBay buys PayPal for $1.5B
- "How the 'PayPal Mafia' redefined success in Silicon Valley". TechRepublic. Retrieved 21 February 2019.
- Banks, Marcus. San Francisco Chronicle. (16 May 2008). Nonfiction review: 'Once You're Lucky'
- "FOX Searchlight: Thank You For Smoking". FOX Searchlight. 10 January 2018. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
- "Thank You For Smoking". IMDb. 10 January 2018. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
- Los Angeles Times The Envelope (2007). Globes scorecard Archived 14 March 2013 at the Wayback Machine
- Taylor, Colleen. TechCrunch. (25 June 2012). Memory Lane: Watch The Moment In 2008 When Yammer Launched As A Standalone Business
- Lynley, Matthew. Wall Street Journal (28 November 2012). MyHeritage Raises $25 Million, Acquires Geni
- "How Yammer Won Over 80% of the Fortune 500". Mashable. Retrieved 31 May 2018.
- Schonfeld, Erick. TechCrunch (10 September 2012). Yammer Takes Top Prize At TechCrunch50
- "Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) Secrets to Raising Venture Capital". Social Capital. Retrieved 31 May 2018.
- Hesseldahl, Arik. AllThingsD (29 February 2012). Yammer Lands $85 Million Funding Round From Draper Fisher Jurvetson
- Lardinois, Frederic. TechCrunch (19 July 2012). Microsoft Completes Its $1.2B Yammer Acquisition
- "Yammer founder David Sacks joins Zenefits as COO, makes 'major investment' in company". VentureBeat. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
- "Zenefits CEO Parker Conrad Resigns Amid Scandal". Forbes. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
- "Zenefits fined $62,500 by Tennessee regulators in first settlement on licensing". Reuters. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
- "Here's how Zenefits is trying to reinvent itself". PCWorld. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
- "Zenefits opens up to third-party developers and launches a suite of new HR tools". TechCrunch. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
- "Zenefits CEO on Closing the Chapter on Compliance Issues". Bloomberg Technology. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
- "BambooHR vs. Zenefits Z2: An HR Software Showdown". PCMag. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
- "Zenefits names former Ooyala CEO Jay Fulcher to succeed David Sacks". VentureBeat. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
- "David Sacks Angel List". Angel List. Retrieved 31 May 2018.
- Rao, Leena. TechCrunch (8 November 2011). Max Levchin, Keith Rabois And David Sacks Back The Uber For Carwashes, Cherry
- "David Sacks teams with Bill Lee to raise $350 million VC fund". Axios. Retrieved 31 May 2018.
- "Announcing Craft III: $1.1 Billion for SaaS and Marketplaces". Retrieved 27 August 2021.
- "14 Months, 120 Cities, $2 Billion: There's Never Been a Company Like Bird. Is the World Ready?". Retrieved 27 August 2021.
- "Productivity platform startup ClickUp raises $100M on $1B unicorn valuation". Retrieved 27 August 2021.
- "Pipe is South Florida's newest 'unicorn' after $250M fundraising round". Retrieved 27 August 2021.
- "Reddit's Valuation Doubles to $6 Billion After Funding Round". Retrieved 27 August 2021.
- "Sourcegraph raises $125M in Series D at $2.625B valuation from Andreessen Horowitz". Retrieved 27 August 2021.
- "Elon Musk's SpaceX raised $850 million, jumping valuation to about $74 billion". Retrieved 27 August 2021.
- "The Diversity Myth: Multiculturalism and Political Intolerance on Campus". The Independent Institute. Retrieved 7 June 2015.
- Swisher, Kara (24 October 2016) "Zenefits CEO David Sacks apologizes for parts of a 1996 book he co-wrote with Peter Thiel that called date rape ‘belated regret’" Recode. (Retrieved 6 November 2018).
- San Francisco Business Times (24 February 2012). 40 Under 40
- Workforce Management (2011). Game Changers Award
- San Francisco Business Times (2011). Bay Area’s Most Admired CEOs
- "Jacqueline M. Sacks (Tortorice)". Geni.com. Retrieved 17 February 2011.
- Herel, Suzanne (22 February 2012). "Meet the Boss: David Sacks, CEO of Yammer". sfgate.com. San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 25 May 2016.
- "The Way I Work". Inc Magazine. November 2011.
- "Why The PayPal "Mafia" Was So Great: Yammer CEO David Sacks Explains". Business Insider. 25 November 2011.
- "Meet the Boss". San Francisco Chronicle. 22 February 2012.
- "Game Changers". TIME. 30 March 2012.
- "VV Show #34 - David O. Sacks, Co-Founder of PayPal and Producer of Thank You For Smoking". Venture Voice.
- "The Truth About the Big Tech Cartel & Parler, David Sacks on The Rubin Report".