Roger McNamee

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Roger McNamee
Roger McNamee.png
McNamee performing at his solo acoustic show at the Sweetwater Music Hall in Mill Valley, CA on 16 Sept. 2013.
Born (1956-05-02) May 2, 1956 (age 60)
Albany, New York[1]
Nationality United States
Alma mater Yale University (B.A. 1980),[2]
Tuck School of Business (M.B.A. 1982)[3]
Occupation Businessman, venture capitalist, musician

Roger McNamee (born May 2, 1956) is an American businessman, investor, venture capitalist and musician. He is the founding partner of the venture capital firm Elevation Partners. Prior to co-founding the firm, McNamee co-founded private equity firm Silver Lake Partners and headed the T. Rowe Price Science and Technology Fund.

McNamee is also a touring musician, first as a founding member of the Flying Other Brothers, and more recently in that group's follow-on band, Moonalice. Between the two groups, McNamee estimated in April 2009 that he has played 800 shows.,[4] in an April 13, 2009 article from the San Francisco Chronicle.

Career at T. Rowe Price[edit]

McNamee joined T. Rowe Price as an analyst in 1982, after receiving his M.B.A. from the Tuck School of Business.[3]

By 1989 he was leading the firm's Science & Technology Fund, a period when the fund returned about 17% annually to investors[5] and, in a move atypical for mutual funds, he made venture capital investments in Electronic Arts (which went public in 1989) and Sybase (which had its IPO in 1991).[6]

Music career[edit]

McNamee is also a musician. He played in the band Flying Other Brothers from 1997 to 2006,[7] and now[when?] plays with the band Moonalice, using the stage persona of "Chubby Wombat Moonalice."[5] In 2014 he formed a duo with Jason Crosby called the Doobie Decibel System.[8] In 2015, The Doobie Brothers sued the band over the name.[9]

Music and technology[edit]

With Elevation Partners "perhaps best known for its early investment in Facebook," McNamee said in 2013, for him, “music and technology have converged.”

He became expert on Facebook by using it to promote ... Moonalice, and now is focusing on video by live-streaming its concerts. He says musicians and top professionals share “the almost desperate need to dive deep.” This capacity to obsess seems to unite top performers in music and other fields.[10]

McNamee is the co-writer of the Moonalice song "It's 4:20 Somewhere".[11] In August 2012 the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced that the digital logs for "It’s 4:20 Somewhere" had been acquired for its library and archives, describing the Moonalice logs as helping to "...tell the story of music’s digital revolution; specifically the rise of direct-from-artist (DFA) distribution. Moonalice is the first band without a label to achieve one million downloads of a song from its own servers, direct-from-artist. “It’s 4:20 Somewhere” has been downloaded over 4.6 million times".[12][13]

Relationship with Wikipedia[edit]

According to The New York Times, McNamee has been instrumental in arranging at least two $500,000 donations to the Wikimedia Foundation.[14][15] Roger McNamee is a member of the Wikimedia Foundation's advisory board, and acts "as a special advisor to the Executive Director on business and strategy issues."[16]


Bill Gates wrote in his book The Road Ahead: "Roger was a great sounding board for many of the ideas I wrote about".[5] Mark Zuckerberg (who met McNamee in summer 2006 at a time when Facebook reportedly had buyout offers of around $750 million) said McNamee was "emphatic" that Facebook not be sold; Zuckerberg stated he "clearly cared about building something long-term and about the impact of the things we build as opposed to just making money in the short term," advice that called "prescient": in October 2007, Facebook sold just 1.6 percent of the company to Microsoft for $240 million.[5]

Personal life[edit]

McNamee has been married to the musical theorist and singer/songwriter Ann McNamee since 1983, and with her is a co-founder of the Ndovo Foundation now known as Tembo Preserve.[17][18]


  1. ^ "Techie guy by day, rocker guy by night", a January 28, 2005 article from USA Today
  2. ^ President's Advisory Committee on Digital Yale, from the Yale University website
  3. ^ a b Tuck Investiture from a Dartmouth College website
  4. ^ "Investment pays off for late-blooming rocker"
  5. ^ a b c d "Rock Stars of Tech". December 16, 2007. Retrieved 2009-09-25. 
  6. ^ "Twitter Lures In An Unusual Backer". The Wall Street Journal. September 25, 2009. Archived from the original on September 28, 2009. Retrieved 2009-09-25.  Alternate link at MarketWatch.
  7. ^ Flying Other Brothers website
  8. ^ Berndtson, Chad. "The Art Of The Sit-In - Jason Crosby". JamBase. Retrieved 17 November 2014. 
  9. ^ Schneider, Marc (2015-07-27). "Doobie Brothers Sue Venture Capitalist's '70s Cover Band The Doobie Decibel System". Billboard. Retrieved 2015-11-09. 
  10. ^ Lipman, Joanne, "Is Music the Key to Success?" (Opinion), New York Times, October 12, 2013, p. 2. Retrieved 2014-02-06.
  11. ^ Moonalice. "It's 4:20 Somewhere". 
  12. ^ Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. "Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Announces Acquisition of Digital Logs of Moonalice's "It's 4:20 Somewhere" for Library and Archives". Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Retrieved 7 January 2013. 
  13. ^ Tuck School of Business. "The Long, Strange—and Profoundly Prescient—Trip of Roger McNamee". Retrieved 3 November 2015. 
  14. ^ "Open-Source Trouble in Wiki World", New York Times, March 17, 2008
  15. ^ "Why would someone toss $1.35m at Wikipedia?", The Register, March 18, 2008
  16. ^ Roger McNamee to Become Wikimedia Advisor January 2009
  17. ^ Greene, Rich. "Tembo Preserve representatives give education presentation to local youth". Retrieved 17 November 2014.  External link in |website= (help)
  18. ^ Daily News Business. "Tehama County supes hear plan for elephant reserve". Retrieved 26 December 2013. 

External links[edit]