Innovation Factory Sequoia Capital (3/14)

The article below explains why investors should monitor Sequoia funded companies very closely. However, the article fails to mention Vipshop (VIPS).

ETF PM has long equity positions in Vipshop (VIPS).

Inside Sequoia Capital: Silicon Valley’s Innovation Factory

George Anders with Alex Konrad, 3/26/14

When Doug Leone arrived in Mount Vernon, N.Y. in 1968, the 11-year-old Italian immigrant didn’t have a clue. He flunked a math quiz in school because the terms “true” and “false” bewildered him. He wore unsightly slacks from Sears that invited classmates’ teasing. After school he watched McHale’s Navy alone on a black-and-white television, hoping to learn colloquial phrases that would help him fit in.

A few years later Leone began to get his bearings. “I was working on boats as a teenager, sweating like a pig during a summer job,” Leone recalls. “I could look across and see all the kids at the country club’s swimming pool. The young guys were talking to the girls. And I was saying to myself: ‘I can’t wait until I meet you in the business world. You just made your big mistake, letting me in.’ ”

Ambition. Vulnerability. Vindication. Lots of successful immigrants bottle up those feelings as they rise to prominence. They hide old slights and do their best to blend into America’s aristocracy. Not Leone. Even in his perch as a managing partner at venture firm Sequoia Capital, Leone still carries himself like a hard-luck striver, scrambling for his first decent break. “A lot of what keeps me going is fear,” he confides.

Step inside Sequoia’s spartan offices at Silicon Valley’s capital of capital, Sand Hill Road, and see what happens when a handful of hungry perfectionists like Leone band together. Start at the entryway, packed with framed copies of financing documents for 98 companies. The hit parade begins with Apple’s initial public offering in 1980; it includes the likes of Oracle, Cisco, Yahoo, Google and LinkedIn. These are Sequoia’s children. Since its founding in 1972 Sequoia has backed startups that now command a staggering $1.4 trillion of combined stock market value, equivalent to 22% of Nasdaq.

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