David O. Sacks

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David O. Sacks
David Oliver Sacks

(1972-05-25) May 25, 1972 (age 47)
Cape Town, South Africa
EducationStanford University and University of Chicago Law School
OccupationTech entrepreneur / investor
Known forFormer CEO of Zenefits, Former COO of PayPal and CEO of Yammer
Jacqueline Tortorice (m. 2007)

David Oliver Sacks (born May 25, 1972)[1] 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[2] (acquired by eBay in 2002 for $1.5 billion)[3] and Founder/CEO of Yammer[4] (acquired by Microsoft in 2012 for $1.2 billion).[5] In 2016, he led the turnaround of Zenefits as interim CEO.[6][7] In 2017, Sacks co-founded blockchain startup Harbor as an incubation of Craft Ventures.[8] His angel investments include Facebook, Uber, SpaceX, Palantir Technologies, Airbnb and Houzz.[9][10][11]

Early life and education[edit]

Sacks was born in Cape Town, South Africa, and immigrated to Tennessee with his family when he was 5.[12] Though Sacks didn't know he wanted to be an entrepreneur, he did not want to work a profession like his father, who was an endocrinologist. However, he took inspiration from his grandfather, who started a candy factory in the 1920s.[13]

Sacks graduated from Stanford University in 1994[14] and the University of Chicago Law School in 1998.[15]



In 1999, Sacks left his job as a management consultant for McKinsey & Company to join e-commerce service PayPal.[16] 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 $500 million/month and revenue from zero to $240 million/year.[18] The company introduced business accounts, and expanded into multiple currencies and over 80 countries.

In February 2002, PayPal went public, it was one of the first IPOs after the September 11, 2001 attacks (ABCO went Public in November 2001). The stock rose more than 54% that first day and closed at $20.09.[19] In October 2002, eBay acquired PayPal for $1.5 billion.[20]

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.[21] [22]

Thank You for Smoking[edit]

Following PayPal’s acquisition, Sacks produced and financed the hit movie Thank You For Smoking through his independent production company, Room 9 Entertainment.[23]

Based on Christopher Buckley’s acclaimed 1994 novel of the same title and adapted for the screen by director Jason Reitman, Thank You for Smoking is a satirical look at today's culture of spin. The all-star cast includes Aaron Eckhart, William H. Macy, Sam Elliott, Rob Lowe, Maria Bello, Katie Holmes, Adam Brody, and Robert Duvall.[24]

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.[25][26]


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.[27] Geni was acquired by MyHeritage in 2012.[28]


In 2008, Yammer launched the first Enterprise Social Network, a secure solution for internal corporate communication and collaboration,[29] winning the grand prize at TechCrunch50 conference.[30] According to Social Capital,[31] 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.[32]

In July 2012, Microsoft acquired Yammer for $1.2 billion as a core part of its cloud/social strategy.[33] As of May 2018, employees at over 90,000 businesses worldwide use Yammer,[34] including 85% of the Fortune 500 and a significant amount of the Global 2000.[35]


In December 2014, Sacks became a shareholder in Zenefits, making a “major investment,” according to VentureBeat.[36] In January 2016, Zenefits’ Board asked him to step in as interim CEO amidst a "regulatory crisis" regarding the company's licensing compliance.[37] Over the next year, Sacks negotiated a resolution with insurance regulators across the U.S. – receiving praise for “righting the ship.”[38] Sacks also revamped[39] Zenefits’ product line with an initiative he named “Z2,”[40][41] introducing a SaaS business model. Shortly after, PC Magazine would note Zenefits had become “the best HR software on the market.”[42] After a CEO search, Sacks handed the reigns to former Ooyala CEO, Jay Fulcher.[43]


In 2017, Sacks incubated a new startup called Harbor to enable the compliant issuance of private securities on the blockchain.[44] As founding chairman, he brought together a team of former executives who had worked with him at Yammer and Zenefits to lead the new company.


Sacks has been investing in technology companies for twenty years.[45] 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.[46][47]

In late 2017, Sacks co-founded Craft Ventures.[48] It raised an initial fund of $350 million and has invested in companies including Bird, Bitgo, Cloud9, CloudKitchens, Harbor, Lightning Labs, Multicoin Capital, and SpaceX.[48]

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.[49] The book is critical of political correctness in higher education and the consequent dilution of academic rigor. In 2016, Sacks apologized for some of his college writings.[50]

Awards and recognition[edit]

  • San Francisco Business Times 40 Under 40, David Sacks (2012)[51]
  • Workforce Management Game Changers Award, David Sacks (2011)[52]
  • San Francisco Business Times Bay Area’s Most Admired CEOs (2011)[53]

Personal life[edit]

Born in Cape Town, South Africa, Sacks immigrated with his family to the United States when he was 5 years old.[54]

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.[55][56][57]

On July 7, 2007, Sacks married Jacqueline Tortorice.[58] The couple has two daughters and one son.[59]


  1. ^ "Yammer's CEO Is About To Sell For $1 Billion To Microsoft, And Then Throw Himself An Over-The-Top Ridiculous Party". businessinsider.com. 14 June 2012. Retrieved 27 June 2012.
  2. ^ "Meet The Yammer CEO Who Just Made Hundreds Of Millions Of Dollars Selling To Microsoft". businessinsider.com. 25 June 2012. Retrieved 8 December 2017.
  3. ^ "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.
  4. ^ "Zenefits hires Yammer founder David Sacks as COO". Fortune. 10 December 2014. Retrieved 8 December 2017.
  5. ^ "With $1.2 Billion Yammer Buy, Microsoft's Social Enterprise Strategy Takes Shape". TechCrunch. 25 June 2012. Retrieved 8 December 2017.
  6. ^ "Zenefits, a Rocket That Fell to Earth, Tries to Launch Again". New York Times. 12 October 2016. Retrieved 8 December 2017.
  7. ^ "Ex-PayPal executive David Sacks explains how his new company will change crypto trading". CNBC. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
  8. ^ "David Sacks's new startup wants to make it safer for old-guard industries to jump into crypto". TechCrunch. Retrieved 31 May 2018.
  9. ^ "Max Levchin, Keith Rabois And David Sacks Back The Uber For Carwashes, Cherry". TechCrunch. 8 November 2011. Retrieved 8 December 2017.
  10. ^ "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.
  11. ^ "Meet the Uber Rich". Fortune. 5 June 2015. Retrieved 8 December 2017.
  12. ^ Guynn, Jessica (December 3, 2016). "Start-up CEO Sacks resigns; report says Trump team next". USA Today. Retrieved 6 November 2018.
  13. ^ Herel, Suzanne (February 22, 2012). "Meet the Boss: David Sacks, CEO of Yammer". SF Gate. Retrieved 6 November 2018.
  14. ^ Kantor, Jodi (December 23, 2014). "A Brand New World In Which Men Ruled". The New York Times. Retrieved 6 November 2018.
  15. ^ "Yammer, Co-Founded by David Sacks '98, Sold to Microsoft for $1.2 Billion". The University of Chicago. Retrieved 6 November 2018.
  16. ^ Thomas, Owen. Business Insider (2012-06-25). Meet The Yammer CEO Who Just Made Hundreds Of Millions Of Dollars Selling To Microsoft
  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 (2002-02-15). PayPal shares make strong debut
  20. ^ CNN Money (2002-07-080. eBay buys PayPal for $1.5B
  21. ^ "How the 'PayPal Mafia' redefined success in Silicon Valley". TechRepublic. Retrieved 21 Feb 2019.
  22. ^ Banks, Marcus. San Francisco Chronicle. (2008-05-16). Nonfiction review: 'Once You're Lucky'
  23. ^ Thomas, Owen. Business Insider (2012-06-25)/ Meet The Yammer CEO Who Just Made Hundreds Of Millions Of Dollars Selling To Microsoft
  24. ^ "FOX Searchlight: Thank You For Smoking". FOX Searchlight. 10 January 2018. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  25. ^ "IMDB: Thank You For Smoking". IMDB. 10 January 2018. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  26. ^ Los Angeles Times The Envelope (2007). Globes scorecard Archived March 14, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  27. ^ Taylor, Colleen. TechCrunch. (2012-06-25). Memory Lane: Watch The Moment In 2008 When Yammer Launched As A Standalone Business
  28. ^ Lynley, Matthew. Wall Street Journal (2012-11-28). MyHeritage Raises $25 Million, Aquires {sic} Geni
  29. ^ "How Yammer Won Over 80% of the Fortune 500". Mashable. Retrieved 31 May 2018.
  30. ^ Schonfeld, Erick. TechCrunch (2012-09-10). Yammer Takes Top Prize At TechCrunch50
  31. ^ "Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) Secrets to Raising Venture Capital". Social Capital. Retrieved 31 May 2018.
  32. ^ Hesseldahl, Arik. AllThingsD (2012-02-29). Yammer Lands $85 Million Funding Round From Draper Fisher Jurvetson
  33. ^ Lardinois, Frederic. TechCrunch (2012-07-19). Microsoft Completes Its $1.2B Yammer Acquisition
  34. ^ "How Yammer Won Over 80% of the Fortune 500". Mashable. Retrieved 31 May 2018.
  35. ^ "Why a Microsoft buy of Yammer would be good for social business". ZDNet. Retrieved 31 May 2018.
  36. ^ "Yammer founder David Sacks joins Zenefits as COO, makes 'major investment' in company". VentureBeat. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
  37. ^ "Zenefits CEO Parker Conrad Resigns Amid Scandal". Forbes. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
  38. ^ "Zenefits fined $62,500 by Tennessee regulators in first settlement on licensing". Reuters. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
  39. ^ "Here's how Zenefits is trying to reinvent itself". PCWorld. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
  40. ^ "Zenefits opens up to third-party developers and launches a suite of new HR tools". TechCrunch. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
  41. ^ "Zenefits CEO on Closing the Chapter on Compliance Issues". Bloomberg Technology. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
  42. ^ "BambooHR vs. Zenefits Z2: An HR Software Showdown". PCMag. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
  43. ^ "Zenefits names former Ooyala CEO Jay Fulcher to succeed David Sacks". VentureBeat. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
  44. ^ "Ex-PayPal executive David Sacks explains how his new company will change crypto trading". CNBC. Retrieved 31 May 2018.
  45. ^ "David Sacks Angel List". Angel List. Retrieved 31 May 2018.
  46. ^ Rao, Leena. TechCrunch (2011-11-08). Max Levchin, Keith Rabois And David Sacks Back The Uber For Carwashes, Cherry
  47. ^ https://www.zenefits.com/blog/author/dsacks/
  48. ^ a b "David Sacks teams with Bill Lee to raise $350 million VC fund". Axios. Retrieved 31 May 2018.
  49. ^ "The Diversity Myth: Multiculturalism and Political Intolerance on Campus". The Independent Institute. Retrieved June 7, 2015.
  50. ^ Swisher, Kara (October 24, 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 6-11-2018).
  51. ^ San Francisco Business Times (2012-02-24). 40 Under 40
  52. ^ Workforce Management (2011). Game Changers Award
  53. ^ San Francisco Business Times (2011). Bay Area’s Most Admired CEOs
  54. ^ Herel, Suzanne (2012-02-22). Meet the Boss, David Sacks CEO of Yammer
  55. ^ "PayPal: executive officers and directors". EDGAR. March 1, 2002.
  56. ^ "Management bios". Yammer. Archived from the original on July 18, 2011. Retrieved February 17, 2011.
  57. ^ Davis, Joshua. University of Chicago Magazine (Sept./Oct. 2007, Volume 100, Issue 1). Take 2.0
  58. ^ "Jacqueline M. Sacks (Tortorice)". Geni.com. Retrieved 2011-02-17.
  59. ^ 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]