Don Valentine

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Don Valentine
Don Valentine in 2009.jpg
Valentine in 2009. Photograph by Steve Jurvetson
Born Donald T. Valentine
(1932-06-26) June 26, 1932 (age 85)
Alma mater Fordham University
Occupation Venture Capitalist

Donald T. "Don" Valentine (born June 26, 1932) is a venture capitalist who concentrates mainly on technology companies in the United States.[1] He has been called the "grandfather of Silicon Valley venture capital".[2][3] The Computer History Museum credited him as playing "a key role in the formation of a number of industries such as semiconductors, personal computers, personal computer software, digital entertainment and networking."[4]


A few years after graduating with a B.A. from Fordham University,[5] Valentine began his career as a sales engineer at Raytheon. He was in the position for less than a year before moving on to Fairchild Semiconductor, where he built up the sales force for seven years. He left and founded National Semiconductor, working as a senior sales and marketing executive.[3][6][7]

In 1972, Valentine founded venture capital firm Sequoia Capital.[3][8] Initially, the company focused on early venture investments with small, risky tech companies.[9] Sequoia's first investment was in Atari in 1975 before the company was sold for $28 million to Warner Communications.[10] Sequoia was one of the original investors of Apple Computer and Atari after Valentine met Steve Jobs when he was a line engineer for Atari,[11][12] and in 1978, Sequoia invested $150,000 in Apple Inc..[13] Sequoia Capital has also made early investments in companies including LSI Logic, Oracle Corporation, Cisco, Electronic Arts, Google, YouTube and many others.[14]

Valentine is a former Chairman of NetApp and Traiana. He has, over decades, served on the boards of many other technology companies including Apple, Atari, C-Cube, Cisco Systems, Electronic Arts, Linear Technology, LSI Logic, Microchip Technology, NetApp, Oracle, PMC-Sierra.[8][15] Valentine was featured in the documentary film Something Ventured which premiered in 2011.[16]

Personal life[edit]

Don Valentine has three children and seven grandchildren, all of whom live in the Bay Area. Don is Catholic and has a Danish grandfather.[17]


  1. ^ "Donald T. Valentine". Bloomberg Businessweek. October 3, 2014. 
  2. ^ Gilbert, Alorie (November 27, 2004). "Legendary venture capitalist looks ahead". CNET News. 
  3. ^ a b c Karlgaard, Rich (December 9, 2005). "Don Valentine, Venture Capitalist". Forbes. 
  4. ^ "Donald T. Valentine". Computer History Museum. Archived from the original on August 15, 2011. 
  5. ^ "Donald T. Valentine – Executive Bio, Compensation History, and Contacts – Equilar Atlas". Retrieved 2015-12-03. 
  6. ^ Ingram, Matthew (October 14, 2010). "Lessons From Silicon Valley VC Legend Don Valentine". Gigaom. 
  7. ^ "Donald T. Valentine | Computer History Museum". Retrieved 2015-12-03. 
  8. ^ a b "Donald T. Valentine: Executive Profile & Biography – Businessweek". Retrieved 2015-12-03. 
  9. ^ too-far/ Sequoia branches too far, Adam Lashinsky, October 23, 2009, Fortune, retrieved August 24, 2016
  10. ^ A History of Silicon Valley by Arun Rao, Cambridge: MIT Press, 2010.
  11. ^ Something Ventured' tells story of tech investors, Julian Guthrie, April 18, 2011, SFGate, retrieved March 23, 2016
  12. ^ Return to the Little Kingdom by Michael Moritz, 2009, The Overlook Press.
  13. ^ A History of Silicon Valley by Arun Rao, 2010, Cambridge: MIT Press.
  14. ^ "Donald Valentine: Executive Profile & Biography". BusinessWeek. 
  15. ^ "Sequoia Capital – Don Valentine Profile". 
  16. ^ Rao, Leena. "Something Ventured: VC Titans Don Valentine And Tom Perkins Will Take The Stage At Disrupt SF". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2015-12-04. 
  17. ^

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