Michael Moritz

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Michael Moritz

Michael Moritz 2013.jpg
Moritz in 2013
Born (1954-09-12) 12 September 1954 (age 67)
Cardiff, Wales
CitizenshipUnited States[1]
EducationUniversity of Oxford (MA)
University of Pennsylvania (MBA)
OccupationPartner at Sequoia Capital[2]
Known forVenture capitalist
Spouse(s)Harriet Heyman

Sir Michael Jonathan Moritz KBE (born 12 September 1954)[3] is a Welsh billionaire venture capitalist, author and former journalist. Moritz works for Sequoia Capital and wrote the first history of Apple Inc., The Little Kingdom, and of 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[edit]

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 German Jew who fled Nazi Germany. His mother, Doris (née Rath; b. 1924), also fled Nazi Germany. Moritz attended Howardian High School in Cardiff.[8]

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.[9][10]



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.[11] 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.[11]

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.[12] Moritz's follow-up interview with Jobs on the subject led to denial of paternity on his part.[13][14][15] The issue also contained negative commentary on Jobs from other Apple employees.[11] The special issue was renamed Machine of the Year prior to publication,[14][15] celebrated The Computer[11] 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."[11] Jobs cut off all ties with Moritz after the issue was published and threatened to fire anyone who communicated with him.[11] 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".[11]

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.[16] 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.[17]

Venture capitalist[edit]

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.[9]

His internet company investments include Google, Yahoo!, Skyscanner, PayPal, Webvan, YouTube, eToys, and Zappos.[18] 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.[19] Google was one of several co-investments with John Doerr of rival venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers,[20] and the initial public offering of the company in 2004 made Moritz one of Wales' richest men.[21] 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".[22] He ranked number two on the Midas List for 2008[23] and 2009.[24]


In July 2010, Moritz was awarded an honorary fellowship from Cardiff University,[25] where his father Alfred had previously been Vice-Principal and Professor of Classics.[26]

In July 2014 he was honoured as a fellow of Aberystwyth University.[27]

In November 2014, Moritz was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.[28]

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.[29]

Personal life[edit]

Moritz lives in San Francisco with his wife, American novelist Harriet Heyman, and their two children.[9][21] He was a prominent supporter of President Barack Obama's candidacy.[citation needed] Moritz donated to the Lincoln Project, a Republican-led super PAC opposing the re-election of Donald Trump and Republican Senators who supported him.[30]

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.[31]


Moritz is a signatory of The Giving Pledge, committing himself to give away at least 50% of his wealth to charitable causes.[32][33]

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.[34]

In July 2012, it was announced that Moritz had donated £75m to Oxford University to support students from families with an annual income below £16,000.[35]

In February 2013 he gave $5 million for Juilliard School's Music Advancement Program.[36]

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.[37]

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.[38]

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".[39] Moritz later wrote an Op-Ed for the Wall Street Journal opposing a homelessness funding measure.[40]

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.[41] 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.[42]


  1. ^ a b "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. ^ "Profile: Michael Moritz". BBC News. 12 July 2012. Retrieved 13 November 2018.
  9. ^ a b c Michael Moritz's profile, LinkedIn.com.
  10. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 14 August 2014. Retrieved 6 February 2012.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^ a b c d e f g Hertzfeld, Andy. "The Little Kingdom". Folklore.org. Retrieved 28 January 2015.
  12. ^ Cocks Jay. Reported by Michael Moritz. "The Updated Book of Jobs" in Machine of the Year: The Computer Moves in. Time, 3 January 1983.
  13. ^ Cocks Jay. Reported by Michael Moritz. "The Updated Book of Jobs" in Machine of the Year: The Computer Moves in. Time, 3 January 1983:27.
  14. ^ a b Brennan, Chrisann. THE BITE IN THE APPLE: A Memoir of My Life with Steve Jobs. St. Martin's Griffin. p. ebook.
  15. ^ a b Isaacson, Walter (2011). Steve Jobs. Simon & Schuster. p. ebook.
  16. ^ http://www.overlookpress.com/return-to-the-little-kingdom.html[bare URL]
  17. ^ Moritz, Michael (2009). Return to the Little Kingdom: Steve Jobs, the Creation of Apple, and How It Changed the World. Overlook Press. p. ebook.
  18. ^ Heather Connon, "Gags-to-riches tale of the Welsh wizard who bet on YouTube", The Observer, 15 October 2006.
  19. ^ "Michael Moritz". Sequoia Capital. Retrieved 4 June 2015.
  20. ^ "Google Receives $25 Million in Equity Funding", Google press release, 7 June 1999.
  21. ^ a b "Google investor to earn £1.3bn", BBC News, 1 May 2004.
  22. ^ "Builders & Titans: Michael Moritz", Eric Schmidt, TIME, May 2007
  23. ^ "#2 Michael Moritz", Forbes.com Midas List 2008, 24 January 2008.
  24. ^ "#2 Michael Moritz", Forbes.com Midas List 2009, 29 January 2009.
  25. ^ [1][permanent dead link], Cardiff University Fellows 2010
  26. ^ "Obituaries" (PDF). Institute of Classical Studies, University of London. Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 May 2017. Retrieved 20 October 2013.
  27. ^ "Aberystwyth University – July". www.aber.ac.uk. Retrieved 28 July 2016.
  28. ^ "HKUST Holds 22nd Congregation Conferring Honorary Doctorates on Five Distinguished Academics and Community Leaders". Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. 11 July 2014.
  29. ^ "No. 60534". The London Gazette (Supplement). 15 June 2013. p. 25.
  30. ^ "Six More Billionaires Donate To The Anti-Trump Lincoln Project". 15 July 2020.
  31. ^ Malik, Om (21 May 2012). "Super VC Mike Moritz diagnosed with rare medical condition, steps back". gigaom.com. Retrieved 9 October 2018.
  32. ^ Jewish Voice New York: "Jewish Billionaires Join Group Pledging Majority of Their Wealth to Charity" by Sholom Schreiber 25 April 2005
  33. ^ Loomis, Carol J.; Miguel Helft (19 April 2012). "12 more billionaires sign on to Buffett/Gates pledge". Fortune. Retrieved 9 October 2018.
  34. ^ Guttenplan, D. D. (11 July 2012). "Oxford Gets $115 Million From Web Investor, Moritz". Retrieved 9 October 2018.
  35. ^ Coughlan, Sean (11 July 2012). "Oxford donor cuts fees for poor". BBC News. Retrieved 9 October 2018.
  36. ^ "MAP".
  37. ^ Kurtzman, Laura (24 September 2013). "Michael Moritz, Harriet Heyman Form UC's Largest Endowed Program for PhD Students". UC San Francisco.
  38. ^ "$100 million initiative enhances UChicago's commitment to lower-income students". University of Chicago News. 17 February 2016.
  39. ^ Wong, Julia Carrie (12 October 2016). "Wealthy San Francisco tech investors bankroll bid to ban homeless camps". The Guardian.
  40. ^ Michael, Moritz (28 October 2018). "Brother, Can You Spare Three Billion Dimes?". The Wall Street Journal.
  41. ^ "Booker Prize finds new funder in billionaire Sir Michael Moritz". BBC News. 28 February 2019. Retrieved 28 February 2019.
  42. ^ Flood, Alison (28 February 2019). "Booker prize: Silicon Valley billionaire takes over as new sponsor". Irish Times. Retrieved 20 July 2020.

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