Don Valentine

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Don Valentine
Don Valentine in 2009.jpg
Valentine in 2009
Born(1932-06-26)June 26, 1932
DiedOctober 25, 2019(2019-10-25) (aged 87)
Alma materFordham University
OccupationVenture Capitalist

Donald Thomas Valentine (June 26, 1932 – October 25, 2019) was an American venture capitalist who concentrated mainly on technology companies in the United States.[1] He had been referred to as 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]


Valentine grew up in the Bronx, New York, was Catholic, and came from a family with Danish background. He went to Mount Saint Michael Academy.[5] After graduating with a B.A. from Fordham University,[6] 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 joined National Semiconductor, working as a senior sales and marketing executive.[3][7][8]

In 1972, Valentine founded venture capital firm Sequoia Capital.[3][9] Initially, the company focused on early venture investments with small, risky tech companies.[10] Sequoia's first investment was in Atari in 1975 before the company was sold for $28 million to Warner Communications.[11] 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,[12][13] and in 1978, Sequoia invested $150,000 in Apple Inc.[14] Sequoia Capital has also made early investments in companies including LSI Logic, Oracle Corporation, Cisco, Electronic Arts, Google, YouTube and many others.[1]

Valentine was a chairman of NetApp and Traiana. He 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.[9][15] Valentine was featured in the documentary film Something Ventured which premiered in 2011.[16]


Valentine died on October 25, 2019, at age 87.[17] He is survived by three children and seven grandchildren who all live in the Bay Area.


  1. ^ a b "Donald T. Valentine". Bloomberg. Archived from the original on October 28, 2019. Retrieved October 27, 2019.
  2. ^ Gilbert, Alorie (November 27, 2004). "Legendary venture capitalist looks ahead". CNET News. Archived from the original on February 1, 2014. Retrieved October 7, 2011.
  3. ^ a b c Karlgaard, Rich (December 9, 2005). "Don Valentine, Venture Capitalist". Forbes. Archived from the original on September 4, 2016. Retrieved August 26, 2017.
  4. ^ "Donald T. Valentine". Computer History Museum. Archived from the original on August 15, 2011.
  5. ^ "Legends". Mount Saint Michael Academy. Retrieved October 28, 2019.
  6. ^ "Donald T. Valentine – Executive Bio, Compensation History, and Contacts – Equilar Atlas". Archived from the original on April 4, 2016. Retrieved December 3, 2015.
  7. ^ Ingram, Matthew (October 14, 2010). "Lessons From Silicon Valley VC Legend Don Valentine". Gigaom. Archived from the original on July 28, 2013. Retrieved July 24, 2013.
  8. ^ "Donald T. Valentine | Computer History Museum". Archived from the original on December 8, 2015. Retrieved December 3, 2015.
  9. ^ a b "Donald T. Valentine: Executive Profile & Biography – Businessweek". Archived from the original on January 7, 2017. Retrieved December 3, 2015.
  10. ^ too-far/ Sequoia branches too far Archived January 24, 2017, at the Wayback Machine, Adam Lashinsky, October 23, 2009, Fortune, retrieved August 24, 2016
  11. ^ A History of Silicon Valley by Arun Rao, Cambridge: MIT Press, 2010.
  12. ^ Something Ventured' tells story of tech investors Archived March 10, 2016, at the Wayback Machine, Julian Guthrie, April 18, 2011, SFGate, retrieved March 23, 2016
  13. ^ Return to the Little Kingdom by Michael Moritz, 2009, The Overlook Press.
  14. ^ A History of Silicon Valley by Arun Rao, 2010, Cambridge: MIT Press.
  15. ^ "Sequoia – Donald Valentine". Sequoia Capital. Archived from the original on October 27, 2019. Retrieved October 27, 2019.
  16. ^ Rao, Leena. "Something Ventured: VC Titans Don Valentine And Tom Perkins Will Take The Stage At Disrupt SF". TechCrunch. Archived from the original on May 28, 2016. Retrieved December 4, 2015.
  17. ^ Griffith, Erin (October 25, 2019). "Don Valentine, Founder of Sequoia Capital, Is Dead at 87". The New York Times. Archived from the original on October 28, 2019. Retrieved October 28, 2019.

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