FORTUNE -- Sequoia Capital partner Doug Leone made waves over the weekend, by saying at an MIT conference that "big is the enemy of great" when it comes to venture capital firms. So I rang up Leone, to get a better understanding of what he meant.
For starters, Leone explained that he was only referring to the investment side of things. In other words, he wasn't knocking firms that create large portfolio services or firm services platforms (good thing, since I hear Sequoia is in the midst of recruiting a chief marketing officer).
He added that Sequoia limits its number of investment decision-makers to between five and eight, which allows it to work quickly without sacrificing a variety of experiences. Moreover, the firm's various groups – China early-stage, U.S. early-stage, growth equity, etc. – each make decisions independently of one another (even though sometimes there is some overlap).
Leone also cleared something up about Sequoia Capital 2010, a fund that had more than $1.3 billion in commitments (according to a regulatory filing). He says it actually is three separate, independent funds: A U.S. early-stage fund with around $400 million in commitments, plus a China venture capital fund and a China growth equity fund.
Finally, I asked Leone about the following MIT comment, which raised a bunch of Silicon Valley eyebrows:
"We have co-opted seed funds. You know, Y Combinator, that was completely our money. We have secret handshakes with a whole bunch of people. Very dangerous, because word gets out that so-and-so's money is Sequoia's money, that would not be a good thing."
Leone insists to me that he only was referring to Sequoia's well-known Scouts program, and that there are "no seed investors with masks on that have Sequoia behind them." He says the financial partnership with YC was known, kind of like its current investment in Michael Arrington's CrunchFund. In other words, Sequoia isn't secretly backing any known seed funds.
It is worth noting, however, that many Sequoia partners have personal stakes in seed funds via Heritage – which is Sequoia's in-house wealth/investment management group. Word is that Heritage has directed money to the Kaszek Ventures seed fund in Latin America, Kae Capital in India and ZhenFund in China.
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VC firm Sequoia staffs up in Israel.
FORTUNE -- Peer39 founder Amiad Solomon has joined Sequoia Capital as an Israel-based venture partner, Fortune has learned.
In an email to friends and colleagues, Solomon wrote:
It's been 7 years now since we started Peer39, created a new category of 'semantic advertising' and managed to make a small dent in the ad-tech landscape. Since then I've went on and co-founded three new Internet ventures with MOREDan Primack - Sep 19, 2012 4:35 PM ET
Venture firm seeks at least $1 billion.
FORTUNE -- Sequoia Capital, the venture capital firm behind such companies as Google (GOOG) and and Yahoo (YHOO), is back in the fund-raising market, with a series of vehicles designed to raise at least $1 billion (in aggregate).
My understanding is that one fund will focus on traditional venture capital, another on growth equity and another on China. It's also possible that there's a fourth fund being MOREDan Primack - May 29, 2012 10:29 AM ET
Leading venture capitalist has "rare medical condition."
FORTUNE -- Michael Moritz, the legendary venture capitalist behind such investments as Google (GOOG), Yahoo (YHOO) and Zappos, is stepping down from day-to-day management of Sequoia Capital due to a medical condition.
In an email sent to Sequoia investors, Moritz said that he has been "diagnosed with a rare medical condition which can be managed but is incurable," adding that he feels good right now MOREDan Primack - May 21, 2012 10:55 AM ET
Big data company raises big money.
FORTUNE -- Qualtrics Labs, a 10-year-old provider of enterprise SaaS for simplifying complex research, has raised $70 million in its first-ever round of outside funding.
Accel Partners and Sequoia Capital co-led the deal, with Ryan Sweeney (Accel)and Bryan Schreier (Sequoia) joining the Qualtrics board of directors. It was the two firms' largest-ever joint investment, and also probably their biggest deal for a Utah-based company (Qualtrics is MOREDan Primack - May 15, 2012 11:04 AM ET
Mu Sigma, a profitable provider of "big data" analytics and decision-support services to large companies, today announced that it has raised $108 million in private equity funding. General Atlantic led the deal, with firm CEO Bill Ford joining the Mu Sigma board of directors. Sequoia Capital, which led a $25 million investment in Mu Sigma just eight months ago, also participated and increased its stake.
I spoke about the deal with MOREDan Primack - Dec 28, 2011 9:40 AM ET
LinkedIn went public last week, with investors falling over each other to buy shares at a market cap that now exceeds $9 billion. But it wasn't always so easy for the social network to raise money.
By Lee Hower, contributor
LinkedIn went public last week. As a shareholder and part of the founding team, I'm obviously pleased with the investor reception it has received. It's a great milestone for the company we MOREMay 26, 2011 5:00 AM ET
Humble Bundle, an innovative distributor of online games, has raised over $4.7 million in venture capital funding, according to a regulatory filing.
Sequoia Capital would seem to be the lead investor, given that Sequoia partner Alfred Lin (former CFO/COO at Zappos) is listed as the company's only outside director. I spoke very briefly yesterday with Humble Bundle co-founder John Graham, who neither confirmed nor denied Sequoia's involvement. He simply asked me MOREDan Primack - Apr 22, 2011 4:24 PM ET
Venture capital firm Sequoia Capital has broken up with the founding members of its India investment team, following a dispute over investment strategy. VC Circle first reported the news, which Fortune has since confirmed with one of Sequoia's limited partners.
"We received information about the situation just this morning," the LP said. An official statement is expected within the next 24 hours.
Sequoia moved into India back in early 2006, by "acquiring" a local MOREDan Primack - Feb 14, 2011 1:32 PM ET
Tumblr, the lightweight blogging company, has raised between $25 million and $30 million in new VC funding, Fortune has learned. The valuation is in the ballpark of $135 million.
BusinessInsider first reported on the existence of a new round last week (sans financial details), and said that Sequoia Capital was the lead investor (Update: Seems Om beat them to the first part). I'm told it was a highly competitive auction, with MOREDan Primack - Nov 19, 2010 9:58 AM ET
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