David O. Sacks

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David O. Sacks
David O. Sacks.jpg
Sacks in 2011
David Oliver Sacks

(1972-05-25) 25 May 1972 (age 50)
Cape Town, South Africa
EducationStanford (BA)
University of Chicago (JD)
OccupationTech entrepreneur / investor
Known forFormer CEO of Zenefits, former COO of PayPal and CEO of Yammer
Jacqueline Tortorice
(m. 2007)

David Oliver Sacks (born 25 May 1972)[1] is an entrepreneur, author, 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[1][2] and founder/CEO of Yammer.[3][4] In 2016, he became interim CEO of Zenefits for 10 months.[5] In 2017, Sacks co-founded Craft Ventures,[6] an early-stage venture fund. His angel investments include Facebook, Uber, SpaceX, Palantir Technologies and Airbnb.[7][8][9] He is a co-host of the podcast All In.[10]

Early life and education[edit]

Sacks was born in Cape Town, South Africa, and immigrated to Tennessee, United States, with his family when he was five.[11] 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.[12]

Sacks attended Memphis University School in Memphis, Tennessee. He earned his B.A. in economics from Stanford University in 1994[13] and received a J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School in 1998.[14][15][16]



In 1999, Sacks left his job as a management consultant for McKinsey & Company to join e-commerce service PayPal, which had been co-founded the year before by Max Levchin and Peter Thiel.[1] 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.[17]

During his tenure, PayPal grew payment volume from zero to $3.5 billion per year and revenue from zero to over $100 million in 2001.[18] The company introduced business accounts, and expanded into multiple currencies and over 80 countries.

PayPal had their initial public offering in February 2002. It was one of the first IPOs after the September 11 attacks. The stock rose more than 54% on the first day.[19] In October 2002, eBay acquired PayPal for $1.5 billion.[20]

Sacks is a member of the so-called "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.[21][22]

Thank You for Smoking[edit]

Following PayPal's acquisition, Sacks produced and financed the movie Thank You for Smoking through his independent production company, Room 9 Entertainment.[1]

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.[23]

Thank You for Smoking was nominated for two 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 D.C. Area 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.[24][25]


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.[26] Geni was acquired by MyHeritage in 2012.[27]


In 2008, Yammer launched the first Enterprise Social Network, a secure solution for internal corporate communication and collaboration,[28] winning the grand prize at TechCrunch50 conference.[29] According to Social Capital,[30] 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.[31]

In July 2012, Microsoft acquired Yammer for $1.2 billion as a core part of its cloud/social strategy.[32]


In December 2014, Sacks made a "major investment" in Zenefits.[33] In January 2016, Zenefits' board asked him to step in as interim CEO amidst a "regulatory crisis" regarding the company's licensing compliance.[34] Over the next year, Sacks negotiated a resolution with insurance regulators across the U.S. – receiving praise for "righting the ship".[35] Sacks also revamped[36] Zenefits' product line with an initiative he named "Z2",[37][38] introducing a SaaS business model. Shortly after, PC Magazine would note Zenefits had become "the best HR software on the market" while Buzzfeed reported the company was losing over $200 million per year.[39] [40]After just 10 months in the role, Sacks was succeeded by former Ooyala CEO, Jay Fulcher.[41]

Angel investments[edit]

Sacks has been investing in technology companies for twenty years.[42] As an angel investor, his investments include Addepar, Affirm, Airbnb, Bird, Clutter, Eventbrite, Facebook, Gusto, Houzz, Intercom, Mixpanel, Opendoor, Palantir Technologies, PayPal, Postmates, ResearchGate, Scribd, Slack, SpaceX, SurveyMonkey, ThirdLove, Uber and Wish.[43]

Craft Ventures[edit]

In late 2017, Sacks co-founded Craft Ventures and raised an initial fund of $350 million.[44] Craft raised $1.1B in 2021, which brought total assets under management to $2B, according to a Medium post published by the company.[45] Unicorns in Craft Ventures Fund I and Fund II include Bird,[46] BitGo,[citation needed] ClickUp,[47][48] Pipe,[49] Reddit,[50] SourceGraph[51] and SpaceX.[52][44]

Political views[edit]

The Diversity Myth[edit]

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.[53] The book is critical of political correctness in higher education and argues that more intellectual diversity is needed on college campuses.[53] In 2016, Sacks apologized for parts of the book including where he called date rape, 'belated regret' and questioned, 'Why is all blame placed on the man?.'.[54] According to Max Chafkin, “Sacks included a graphic description of the encounter, noting that the 17-year-old victim ‘still had the physical coordination to perform oral sex,’ and ‘presumably could have uttered the word, ‘no.’”[55]

Support for political campaigns[edit]

According to the Federal Election Commission, Sacks donated $50,000 to Republican Party candidate Mitt Romney's presidential campaign in 2012. In 2016, he donated nearly $70,000 to Democratic Party candidate Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign.[56]

In the 2022 San Francisco Board of Education recall elections of members Collins, Moliga, and Lopez, Sacks gave one of the largest contributions to support the recall.[57][58] He is also a significant booster of Republican candidates, sponsoring a spring 2022 fundraiser for GOP senate hopefuls including J. D. Vance and Blake Masters alongside his former colleague and partner Keith Rabois.[59]

Awards and recognition[edit]

Personal life[edit]

On 7 July 2007, Sacks married Jacqueline Tortorice.[63] The couple have two daughters and one son.[64]


  1. ^ a b c d "Meet The Yammer CEO Who Just Made Hundreds Of Millions Of Dollars Selling To Microsoft". Business Insider. 25 June 2012. Retrieved 2 June 2020.
  2. ^ "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.
  3. ^ "Fostering a Culture of Dissent". The New York Times. 16 July 2011. Retrieved 2 June 2020.
  4. ^ "With $1.2 Billion Yammer Buy, Microsoft's Social Enterprise Strategy Takes Shape". TechCrunch. 25 June 2012. Retrieved 8 December 2017.
  5. ^ "Zenefits, a Rocket That Fell to Earth, Tries to Launch Again". The New York Times. 12 October 2016. Retrieved 8 December 2017.
  6. ^ "David Sacks teams with Bill Lee to raise $350 million VC fund". Axios. 4 January 2018. Retrieved 2 June 2020.
  7. ^ "Max Levchin, Keith Rabois And David Sacks Back The Uber For Carwashes, Cherry". TechCrunch. 8 November 2011. Retrieved 8 December 2017.
  8. ^ "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.
  9. ^ "Meet the Uber Rich". Fortune. 5 June 2015. Retrieved 8 December 2017.
  10. ^ "Early Google exec got Larry Page's backing to build a start-up factory focused on saving the planet". CNBC. Retrieved 27 August 2021.
  11. ^ "Yammer CEO: A Voice To Be Heard". Los Angeles Times. 1 July 2012. Retrieved 2 June 2020.
  12. ^ Herel, Suzanne (22 February 2012). "Meet the Boss: David Sacks, CEO of Yammer". SF Gate. Retrieved 6 November 2018.
  13. ^ Heral, Suzanne (22 February 2012). "Meet the Boss: David Sacks, CEO of Yammer". SF Gate. Retrieved 27 August 2021.
  14. ^ "PayPal: executive officers and directors". EDGAR. 1 March 2002.
  15. ^ "Management bios". Yammer. Archived from the original on 18 July 2011. Retrieved 17 February 2011.
  16. ^ Davis, Joshua. University of Chicago Magazine (Sept./Oct. 2007, Volume 100, Issue 1). Take 2.0
  17. ^ "Here's Why A Former PayPal Exec Absolutely Hates Meetings". BusinessInsider. Retrieved 31 May 2018.
  18. ^ "Securities and Exchange Commission S1 Filing on June 12, 2002". SEC. Retrieved 31 May 2018.
  19. ^ Kane, Margaret. CNET (15 February 2002). PayPal shares make strong debut
  20. ^ CNN Money (2002-07-08). eBay buys PayPal for $1.5B
  21. ^ "How the 'PayPal Mafia' redefined success in Silicon Valley". TechRepublic. Retrieved 21 February 2019.
  22. ^ Banks, Marcus. San Francisco Chronicle. (16 May 2008). Nonfiction review: 'Once You're Lucky'
  23. ^ "FOX Searchlight: Thank You For Smoking". FOX Searchlight. 10 January 2018. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  24. ^ "Thank You For Smoking". IMDb. 10 January 2018. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  25. ^ "Globes scorecard". The Envelope. Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 14 March 2013.
  26. ^ Taylor, Colleen. TechCrunch. (25 June 2012). Memory Lane: Watch The Moment In 2008 When Yammer Launched As A Standalone Business
  27. ^ Lynley, Matthew. Wall Street Journal (28 November 2012). MyHeritage Raises $25 Million, Acquires Geni
  28. ^ "How Yammer Won Over 80% of the Fortune 500". Mashable. Retrieved 31 May 2018.
  29. ^ Schonfeld, Erick. TechCrunch (10 September 2012). Yammer Takes Top Prize At TechCrunch50
  30. ^ "Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) Secrets to Raising Venture Capital". Social Capital. Retrieved 31 May 2018.
  31. ^ Hesseldahl, Arik. AllThingsD (29 February 2012). Yammer Lands $85 Million Funding Round From Draper Fisher Jurvetson
  32. ^ Lardinois, Frederic. TechCrunch (19 July 2012). Microsoft Completes Its $1.2B Yammer Acquisition
  33. ^ "Yammer founder David Sacks joins Zenefits as COO, makes 'major investment' in company". VentureBeat. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
  34. ^ "Zenefits CEO Parker Conrad Resigns Amid Scandal". Forbes. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
  35. ^ "Zenefits fined $62,500 by Tennessee regulators in first settlement on licensing". Reuters. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
  36. ^ "Here's how Zenefits is trying to reinvent itself". PCWorld. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
  37. ^ "Zenefits opens up to third-party developers and launches a suite of new HR tools". TechCrunch. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
  38. ^ "Zenefits CEO on Closing the Chapter on Compliance Issues". Bloomberg Technology. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
  39. ^ "BambooHR vs. Zenefits Z2: An HR Software Showdown". PCMag. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
  40. ^ "Zenefits Lost $200 Million Last Year".
  41. ^ "Zenefits names former Ooyala CEO Jay Fulcher to succeed David Sacks". VentureBeat. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
  42. ^ "David Sacks Angel List". Angel List. Retrieved 31 May 2018.
  43. ^ Rao, Leena. TechCrunch (8 November 2011). Max Levchin, Keith Rabois And David Sacks Back The Uber For Carwashes, Cherry
  44. ^ a b "David Sacks teams with Bill Lee to raise $350 million VC fund". Axios. 4 January 2018. Retrieved 31 May 2018.
  45. ^ "Announcing Craft III: $1.1 Billion for SaaS and Marketplaces". Medium. 4 August 2021. Retrieved 27 August 2021.
  46. ^ "14 Months, 120 Cities, $2 Billion: There's Never Been a Company Like Bird. Is the World Ready?". Inc. 10 December 2018. Retrieved 27 August 2021.
  47. ^ "Productivity platform startup ClickUp raises $100M on $1B unicorn valuation". siliconAngle. 15 December 2020. Retrieved 27 August 2021.
  48. ^ "ClickUp Audatia Brasil".
  49. ^ "Pipe is South Florida's newest 'unicorn' after $250M fundraising round". Retrieved 27 August 2021.
  50. ^ Needleman, Sarah E. (9 February 2021). "Reddit's Valuation Doubles to $6 Billion After Funding Round". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 27 August 2021.
  51. ^ "Sourcegraph raises $125M in Series D at $2.625B valuation from Andreessen Horowitz". 14 July 2021. Retrieved 27 August 2021.
  52. ^ "Elon Musk's SpaceX raised $850 million, jumping valuation to about $74 billion". CNBC. 17 February 2021. Retrieved 27 August 2021.
  53. ^ a b "The Diversity Myth: Multiculturalism and Political Intolerance on Campus". The Independent Institute. Retrieved 7 June 2015.
  54. ^ "Zenefits CEO David Sacks apologizes for parts of a 1996 book he co-wrote with Peter Thiel that called date rape 'belated regret'". www.vox.com. Retrieved 3 November 2022.
  55. ^ "The Quiet Political Rise of David Sacks, Silicon Valley's Prophet of Urban Doom".
  56. ^ "Zenefits CEO David Sacks apologizes for parts of a 1996 book he co-wrote with Peter Thiel that called date rape 'belated regret'". www.vox.com. Retrieved 3 November 2022.
  57. ^ "Recall Measure Regarding Gabriela López | San Francisco Voter Guide". voterguide.sfelections.org. Retrieved 20 January 2022.
  58. ^ Sumida, Nami (17 January 2022). "Who is supporting the S.F. Board of Education recall? Here's what the data shows". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 20 January 2022.
  59. ^ "Take Back The Senate Invitation". twitter.com. Retrieved 13 October 2022.
  60. ^ San Francisco Business Times (24 February 2012). "40 Under 40".
  61. ^ Workforce Management (2011). "Game Changers Award".
  62. ^ San Francisco Business Times (2011). "Bay Area's Most Admired CEOs".
  63. ^ "Jacqueline M. Sacks (Tortorice)". Geni.com. Retrieved 17 February 2011.
  64. ^ Herel, Suzanne (22 February 2012). "Meet the Boss: David Sacks, CEO of Yammer". sfgate.com. San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 25 May 2016.

External links[edit]