Jump to content

Michael Moritz

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Michael Moritz
Moritz in 2013
Born (1954-09-12) 12 September 1954 (age 69)
Cardiff, Wales
CitizenshipUnited States[1]
OccupationFormer Partner at Sequoia Capital[2]
Known forVenture capitalist
SpouseHarriet Heyman

Sir Michael Jonathan Moritz KBE (born 12 September 1954)[3] is a Welsh-born American billionaire venture capitalist, philanthropist, author, and former journalist. Moritz works for Sequoia Capital, wrote the first history of Apple Inc., The Little Kingdom, and authored Going for Broke: Lee Iacocca's Battle to Save Chrysler.[4] Previously, Moritz was a staff writer at Time magazine and a member of the board of directors of Google.[5] He studied at the University of Oxford and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and went on to found Technologic Partners before becoming a venture capitalist in the 1980s. Moritz was named as the No. 1 venture capitalist on the Forbes Midas List in 2006 and 2007.[6]

Early life and education


Michael Jonathan Moritz was born to a Jewish family[7] in Cardiff, Wales, on 12 September 1954. His father, Ludwig Alfred Moritz (1921–2003), was a Jew who fled Nazi Germany. A professor of Classics at Cardiff University, in the 1970s, he became its Vice Principal (Administration).[8] His mother, Doris (née Rath; 1924–2019), also fled Nazi Germany. Moritz attended Howardian High School in Cardiff.[9]

Moritz earned a bachelor's degree in history at Christ Church, Oxford, and in 1978, an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania as a Thouron scholar.[10][11]





Moritz first worked for many years as a journalist. In the early 1980s, when he was a reporter for Time, Steve Jobs contracted him to document the development of the Mac for a book he was writing about Apple.[12] According to Andy Hertzfeld, in response to the fact that a history of another computer company had been published a year earlier, Jobs said: "Mike's going to be our historian." As he was close in age to many on the development team, he seemed to be a good choice.[12]

By late 1982, Moritz was Time's San Francisco Bureau Chief and working on the special Time Person of the Year issue, which was initially supposed to be about Jobs. His research included a lengthy interview with Jobs' high school girlfriend, Chrisann Brennan, in which she discussed the history of their child, Lisa.[13] Moritz's follow-up interview with Jobs on the subject led to denial of paternity on his part.[14][15][16] The issue also contained negative commentary on Jobs from other Apple employees.[12] The special issue was renamed Machine of the Year prior to publication,[15][16] celebrated The Computer[12] and declared that "it would have been possible to single out as Man of the Year one of the engineers or entrepreneurs who masterminded this technological revolution, but no one person has clearly dominated those turbulent events. More important, such a selection would obscure the main point. TIME's Man of the Year for 1982, the greatest influence for good or evil, is not a man at all. It is a machine: the computer."[12] Jobs cut off all ties with Moritz after the issue was published and threatened to fire anyone who communicated with him.[12] According to Hertzfeld, "some of us talked with Mike again surreptitiously, as he was putting the finishing touches on his book around the time of the Mac introduction" and the resulting text, The Little Kingdom: the Private Story of Apple Computer, "remains one of the best books about Apple Computer ever written".[12]

In 2009, 25 years after The Little Kingdom, Moritz published a revised and expanded follow-up: Return to the Little Kingdom: How Apple and Steve Jobs Changed the World.[17] In the prologue to Return to the Little Kingdom, Moritz states that he was as incensed as Jobs was about the Time Magazine special issue:

Steve rightly took umbrage over his portrayal and what he saw as a grotesque betrayal of confidences, while I was equally distraught by the way in which material I had arduously gathered for a book about Apple was siphoned, filtered, and poisoned with a gossipy benzene by an editor in New York whose regular task was to chronicle the wayward world of rock-and-roll music. Steve made no secret of his anger and left a torrent of messages on the answering machine I kept in my converted earthquake cottage at the foot of San Francisco’s Potrero Hill. He, understandably, banished me from Apple and forbade anyone in his orbit to talk to me. The experience made me decide that I would never again work anywhere I could not exert a large amount of control over my own destiny or where I would be paid by the word. I finished my leave [and] published my book, The Little Kingdom: The Private Story of Apple Computer, which I felt, unlike the unfortunate magazine article, presented a balanced portrait of the young Steve Jobs.[18]

In 2015, Moritz collaborated with Alex Ferguson on his book, Leading: Learning from Life and My Years at Manchester United, which draws on Ferguson’s experience as a football manager, and provides lessons on achieving business and life success.[19]

Venture capitalist


In 1986, Moritz joined Sequoia Capital after co-authoring Going for Broke: The Chrysler Story with Barrett Seaman, Time's Detroit bureau chief. After leaving Time, Moritz co-founded Technologic Partners, a technology newsletter and conference company.[10]

His internet company investments include Google, Yahoo!, Skyscanner, PayPal, Webvan, YouTube, eToys, and Zappos.[20] He currently sits on the boards of 24/7 Customer, Earth Networks, Gamefly, HealthCentral, Green Dot Corporation, Klarna, Kayak.com, LinkedIn, Stripe and PopSugar. Moritz previously served on the boards of A123 Systems, Aricent Group, Atom Entertainment, CenterRun, eGroups, Flextronics, Google, ITA Software, Luxim, PayPal, Plaxo, Pure Digital, Saba Software, Yahoo!, and Zappos.[21] Google was one of several co-investments with John Doerr of rival venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers,[22] and the initial public offering of the company in 2004 made Moritz one of Wales' richest men.[23] His investment in Google helped him achieve the number-one listing in Forbes' "Midas List" of the top dealmakers in the technology industry in 2006 and 2007,[6] and a place on the 2007 "TIME 100".[24] He ranked number two on the Midas List for 2008[25] and 2009.[26]

In July 2023, Moritz stepped down from Sequoia after nearly four decades. He remains on the boards of Stripe, Klarna and Instacart, but Sequoia said that those seats would be replaced over time. Moritz announced that he would focus on Sequoia Heritage—a wealth-management fund that he helped launch, now independent of Sequoia Capital.[27][28]

San Francisco Standard


The San Francisco Standard is a for-profit San Francisco-centric news web site, funded by Michael Moritz, with offices in the Mission District, using Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.[29][30] Griffin Gaffney is the CEO of the SF Standard[31][32] as well as co-founder of Here/Say Media and TogetherSF,[33] Moritz-funded 501(c)4 organizations.[34][35][36] Griffin Gaffney is also a co-founder of PossibleSF.[37][38][39]



In July 2010, Moritz was awarded an honorary fellowship from Cardiff University,[40] where his father Alfred had previously been Vice-Principal and Professor of Classics.[41]

In July 2014 he was honoured as a fellow of Aberystwyth University.[42]

In November 2014, Moritz was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.[43]

Moritz was appointed Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE) in the 2013 Birthday Honours for services to promoting British economic interests and philanthropic work.[44]

Personal life


Moritz lives in San Francisco with his wife, American novelist Harriet Heyman, and their two children.[10][23] He donated to the Lincoln Project, a Republican-led super PAC opposing the re-election of Donald Trump and Republican Senators who supported him.[45] SFGate notes that he also donated $336 million into various political and social causes in San Francisco over three years.[46] These causes include organizations such as SF Parent Action, which, in 2022, advocated for a recall of members of the city’s school board, and also TogetherSF Action, which is known for anti-fentanyl ads that appeared all over San Francisco in May 2023.[46]

In May 2012, Moritz announced that he had been diagnosed with a rare, incurable medical condition and would step back from his day-to-day responsibilities at Sequoia Capital while also being elevated to the position of chairman.[47]



Moritz is a signatory of The Giving Pledge, committing himself to give away at least 50% of his wealth to charitable causes.[48][49]

In June 2008, Moritz and his wife announced a donation of US$50 million to Christ Church, his Oxford college, the largest single donation in the college's history.[50]

In July 2012, it was announced that Moritz had donated £75m to Oxford University to provide £11,000 scholarships to students from families with an annual income below £16,000.[51] The donation is the largest financial donation to an undergraduate university in European history.[52]

In February 2013 he gave $5 million for Juilliard School's Music Advancement Program.[53]

In September 2013 he and his wife gave $30 million to the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) to create the UCSF Discovery Fellows Program, the largest endowed programme for PhD students in the history of the University of California; UCSF will raise $30 million in matching funds.[54]

In February 2016 he and his wife gave $50 million to the University of Chicago (UC), benefiting the Odyssey programme, which supports lower-income students with outstanding potential; UC will raise $50 million in matching funds.[55]

In October 2016, The Guardian reported that Michael Moritz "donated $49,999 to a divisive ballot measure intended to clear San Francisco’s streets of homeless encampments, according to campaign filings".[56] Moritz later wrote an Op-Ed for the Wall Street Journal opposing a homelessness funding measure.[57]

In May 2018, Moritz donated $20 million to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the largest donation the organization has received.[58]

In 2019, it was announced that his and his wife's charity Crankstart would be sponsoring the Booker Prize for novelists for the next five years.[59] The couple did not want the name of their charity to be attached to the prize, which subsequently reverted to its old name of the Booker Prize.[60]


  1. ^ "Forbes profile: Michael Moritz". Forbes. Retrieved 11 October 2020.
  2. ^ "Michael Moritz Bio". Retrieved 14 November 2007.
  3. ^ "Michael Moritz". www.nndb.com.
  4. ^ Moritz, Michael, and Barrett Seaman. Going for Broke: Lee Iacocca's Battle to Save Chrysler. Doubleday, 1984.
  5. ^ "Michael Moritz Will Not Seek Re-Election to Google's Board of Directors", Google press release, 22 March 2007.
  6. ^ a b "#1 Michael Moritz", Forbes.com Midas List 2007, 25 January 2007.
  7. ^ "Jewish billionaire Michael Moritz gives $115 million to Oxford – Funding a scholarship program in honor of his father who escaped Nazi Germany and studied at Oxford with similar financial assistance", Times of Israel, 16 July 2012.
  8. ^ Personal knowledge of the editor, who worked with Alfred Moritz in the Registry of Cardiff University
  9. ^ "Profile: Michael Moritz". BBC News. 12 July 2012. Retrieved 13 November 2018.
  10. ^ a b c Michael Moritz's profile, LinkedIn.com.
  11. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 14 August 2014. Retrieved 6 February 2012.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  12. ^ a b c d e f g Hertzfeld, Andy. "The Little Kingdom". Folklore.org. Retrieved 28 January 2015.
  13. ^ Cocks Jay. Reported by Michael Moritz. "The Updated Book of Jobs" in Machine of the Year: The Computer Moves in. Time, 3 January 1983.
  14. ^ Cocks Jay. Reported by Michael Moritz. "The Updated Book of Jobs" in Machine of the Year: The Computer Moves in. Time, 3 January 1983:27.
  15. ^ a b Brennan, Chrisann. THE BITE IN THE APPLE: A Memoir of My Life with Steve Jobs. St. Martin's Griffin. p. ebook.
  16. ^ a b Isaacson, Walter (2011). Steve Jobs. Simon & Schuster. p. ebook.
  17. ^ "Overlookpress.com". September 2022.
  18. ^ Moritz, Michael (2009). Return to the Little Kingdom: Steve Jobs, the Creation of Apple, and How It Changed the World. Overlook Press. p. ebook.
  19. ^ Leading. 27 June 2017. ISBN 978-1-4789-3523-0.
  20. ^ Heather Connon, "Gags-to-riches tale of the Welsh wizard who bet on YouTube", The Observer, 15 October 2006.
  21. ^ "Michael Moritz". Sequoia Capital. Archived from the original on 7 June 2015. Retrieved 4 June 2015.
  22. ^ "Google Receives $25 Million in Equity Funding", Google press release, 7 June 1999.
  23. ^ a b "Google investor to earn £1.3bn", BBC News, 1 May 2004.
  24. ^ "Builders & Titans: Michael Moritz", Eric Schmidt, TIME, May 2007
  25. ^ "#2 Michael Moritz", Forbes.com Midas List 2008, 24 January 2008.
  26. ^ "#2 Michael Moritz", Forbes.com Midas List 2009, 29 January 2009.
  27. ^ Bradshaw, Tim (19 July 2023). "Michael Moritz leaves Sequoia Capital after almost 40 years". Financial Times.
  28. ^ Hu, Krystal (19 July 2023). "Sequoia Capital partner Michael Moritz to exit firm after 38 years". Reuters.
  29. ^ "About Us". The San Francisco Standard. Retrieved 17 February 2022.
  30. ^ "Flush with significance: Why reopening a BART bathroom is a very big deal". 48 hills. 3 February 2022. Retrieved 17 February 2022. As the CEO of SF Standard, the new online media company funded by billionaire venture capitalist Michael Moritz, tweeted, "Feels very on brand for a single bathroom reopening to receive this much fanfare."
  31. ^ "Griffin Gaffney". The San Francisco Standard. Retrieved 17 February 2022.
  32. ^ "Staff". The San Francisco Standard. Retrieved 17 February 2022.
  33. ^ "Griffin Gaffney - Co-Founder - TogetherSF". Apollo.io. Retrieved 17 February 2022.
  34. ^ Schleifer, Theodore (27 March 2021). "How a $25 million donation to help students got ensnared in politics". Vox. Retrieved 17 February 2022.
  35. ^ "Griffin Gaffney - CEO and Co-Founder - The San Francisco Standard". LinkedIn. Retrieved 17 February 2022. Harvard University, B.A.Social Studies; worked in Korea; Nutmeg, Product Management, 2012; LinkedIn, Associate, 2013; Stripe, Sales Team Member, 2014-2018; Humu, Account Management, 2018-2020 TogetherSF, Co-Founder, March 2020; CEO and Co-Founder, The San Francisco Standard, January 2021;
  36. ^ Selig, Kate (29 January 2021). "New venture Here/Say Media won't disclose who its donors are. Experts say that's concerning". Mission Local. Retrieved 17 February 2022.
  37. ^ "Our Mission". Possible SF. Retrieved 17 February 2022.
  38. ^ Lauerman, John (1 February 2013). "Harvard Students Forced to Withdraw in Cheating Scandal". Bloomberg. Archived from the original on 27 October 2015. Retrieved 17 February 2022. Griffin Gaffney, a Harvard senior majoring in social studies, said he's seen stronger, more detailed directives on collaboration in his course materials. "It's a paragraph or half a page rather than a sentence, and the professor always says something about it in class," he said in an interview.
  39. ^ Griffin Gaffney (Social Studies 99), "The normal gay male: Understanding the same-sex orientation disclosure." Harvard University (2013).
  40. ^ [1][permanent dead link], Cardiff University Fellows 2010
  41. ^ "Obituaries" (PDF). Institute of Classical Studies, University of London. Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 May 2017. Retrieved 20 October 2013.
  42. ^ "Aberystwyth University – July". www.aber.ac.uk. Retrieved 28 July 2016.
  43. ^ "HKUST Holds 22nd Congregation Conferring Honorary Doctorates on Five Distinguished Academics and Community Leaders". Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. 11 July 2014.
  44. ^ "No. 60534". The London Gazette (Supplement). 15 June 2013. p. 25.
  45. ^ "Six More Billionaires Donate To The Anti-Trump Lincoln Project". 15 July 2020.
  46. ^ a b "Billionaire who wants to change SF has put reported $336M into city". 11 December 2023. Archived from the original on 11 December 2023. Retrieved 13 February 2024.
  47. ^ Malik, Om (21 May 2012). "Super VC Mike Moritz diagnosed with rare medical condition, steps back". gigaom.com. Archived from the original on 22 October 2020. Retrieved 9 October 2018.
  48. ^ Jewish Voice New York: "Jewish Billionaires Join Group Pledging Majority of Their Wealth to Charity" by Sholom Schreiber 25 April 2005
  49. ^ Loomis, Carol J.; Miguel Helft (19 April 2012). "12 more billionaires sign on to Buffett/Gates pledge". Fortune. Retrieved 9 October 2018.
  50. ^ Guttenplan, D. D. (11 July 2012). "Oxford Gets $115 Million From Web Investor, Moritz". The New York Times. Retrieved 9 October 2018.
  51. ^ Coughlan, Sean (11 July 2012). "Oxford donor cuts fees for poor". BBC News. Retrieved 9 October 2018.
  52. ^ "Venture capitalist gives £75m for Oxford's poorest students". the Guardian. 11 July 2012. Retrieved 6 August 2022.
  53. ^ "MAP".
  54. ^ Kurtzman, Laura (24 September 2013). "Michael Moritz, Harriet Heyman Form UC's Largest Endowed Program for PhD Students". UC San Francisco.
  55. ^ "$100 million initiative enhances UChicago's commitment to lower-income students". University of Chicago News. 17 February 2016.
  56. ^ Wong, Julia Carrie (12 October 2016). "Wealthy San Francisco tech investors bankroll bid to ban homeless camps". The Guardian.
  57. ^ Michael, Moritz (28 October 2018). "Brother, Can You Spare Three Billion Dimes?". The Wall Street Journal.
  58. ^ Leuty, Ron (15 May 2018). "Meet the S.F. venture capitalist who just gave the ACLU its biggest gift ever". San Francisco Business Times. Retrieved 6 August 2022.
  59. ^ "Booker Prize finds new funder in billionaire Sir Michael Moritz". BBC News. 28 February 2019. Retrieved 28 February 2019.
  60. ^ Flood, Alison (28 February 2019). "Booker prize: Silicon Valley billionaire takes over as new sponsor". Irish Times. Retrieved 20 July 2020.