FORTUNE -- Oh, what could have been.
When Facebook (FB) last month agreed to buy mobile messaging company WhatsApp for approximately $19 billion, many of us noted how the deal helped solidify Sequoia Capital as the world's top venture capital firm. Not only was this the largest sale ever of a VC-backed company, but Sequoia had somehow managed to be WhatsApp's only venture capital investor. My original estimate was around a $3.4 billion payday for Sequoia, which was more than double the firm's entire fund. And now that the overall deal value has been pushed past $20 billion thanks to Facebook's rising stock price, Sequoia may actually have tripled the fund (at least on paper).
But Sequoia almost didn't get to invest at all.
Fortune has learned that, back in 2011, the firm had competition for the deal from Felicis Ventures, a micro-VC fund led by former Google (GOOG) executive Aydin Senkut.
I'm told that the WhatsApp founders only wanted to work with a single firm (something they held to over the years), and ultimately picked Sequoia in what was a very hard fought battle. Seems that Sequoia's deep pockets ($1 billion+ fund) overcame a more "flexible" term sheet from Felicis (one source suggests that the valuation was left blank).
Senkut declined to comment on the specifics of his offer, except to say that "Sequoia won that deal with grit and deserve the amazing win."
Felicis, of course, is doing fine. The firm raised $70 million for its third fund in 2012, and has invested in such companies as Climate Corp. (acquired by Monsanto), Mint (acquired by Intuit), Bonobos, Dropcam, Practice Fusion and Rovio. And, unlike most other VC firms, it at least had the insight to fight for an early investment in WhatsApp. But that doesn't mean the loss still doesn't sting a little. Or maybe a lot...
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Facebook is buying WhatsApp for $19 billion. But that's not the only important number.
FORTUNE -- Like many of you, I'm still having a hard time processing Facebook's decision to pay around $19 billion for a four year-old messaging company. In the meantime, some numbers that weren't in the press release:
That's the amount Facebook (FB) actually is paying for WhatsApp, based on today's closing stock price of $68.06 per share. MOREDan Primack - Feb 19, 2014 8:01 PM ET
VC firm Sequoia Capital has added two junior partners to its growth equity practice.
FORTUNE -- Sequoia Capital has quietly hired a pair of junior partners for its growth equity practice, Fortune has learned.
The first is Andrew Reed, who previously was a San Francisco-based tech banker with Goldman Sachs (GS). His work at Goldman included last year's IPO for RingCentral (RNG), which was a Sequoia portfolio company. Also worth noting MOREDan Primack - Feb 19, 2014 11:26 AM ET
Sand Hill Rd. stalwart is raising three new funds.
FORTUNE -- Sequoia Capital is in the midst of raising three new venture capital funds, Fortune has learned. The total amount raised is expected to top $2 billion.
The new funds are:Sequoia's sixth U.S. growth equity fund, which is expected to raise between $900 million and $1 billion. The firm's fifth U.S. growth equity fund closed in 2011 on $950 million. Sequoia Sequoia's next MORE Dan Primack - Jan 21, 2014 12:40 PM ET
Silicon Valley VC firm closes three new funds.
FORTUNE -- Sequoia Capital, the venture capital firm known for its early investments in companies like Google (GOOG) and LinkedIn (LNKD), has raised nearly $1.1 billion for new funds that will back start-ups in the U.S., China and Israel.
Here's the breakdown, based on SEC filings disclosed today:
Sequoia Capital XIV (U.S.-focused): $475 million
Sequoia Capital China: $370 million
Sequoia Capital Israel V: $227 million
Sequoia also manages MOREDan Primack - Aug 15, 2013 1:18 PM ET
Sequoia Capital's Doug Leone expands on eyebrow-raising comments made at MIT.
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 MOREDan Primack - Dec 12, 2012 11:25 AM ET
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
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