Don Valentine

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Don Valentine
Don Valentine in 2009.jpg
Valentine in 2009. Photograph by Steve Jurvetson
Donald T. Valentine

(1932-06-26) June 26, 1932 (age 87)
Alma materFordham University
OccupationVenture Capitalist

Donald T. "Don" Valentine (born June 26, 1932) is an American 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 joined 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 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 December 3, 2015.
  6. ^ Ingram, Matthew (October 14, 2010). "Lessons From Silicon Valley VC Legend Don Valentine". Gigaom.
  7. ^ "Donald T. Valentine | Computer History Museum". Retrieved December 3, 2015.
  8. ^ a b "Donald T. Valentine: Executive Profile & Biography – Businessweek". Retrieved December 3, 2015.
  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 December 4, 2015.
  17. ^

External links[edit]