Don Valentine

Don Valentine

American businessman, venture capitalist
Country: USA

  1. Don Valentine - The Grandfather of Venture Capital in Silicon Valley
  2. Early Life and Education
  3. California Dream
  4. Early Career
  5. Founding National Semiconductor and Fairchild Semiconductor
  6. Sequoia Capital and Investments
  7. Later Career and Personal Life

Don Valentine - The Grandfather of Venture Capital in Silicon Valley

Don Valentine is an American businessman and influential venture capitalist, primarily focused on technology entrepreneurship in the United States. He is often referred to as the "Grandfather of Venture Capital in Silicon Valley" and is credited with playing a key role in shaping various industries, including semiconductor manufacturing, personal computers, PC software, digital entertainment, and networking.

Don Valentine

Early Life and Education

Don Valentine was born in 1933 and grew up in a suburb of New York City. His father worked as a driver and a small employee in the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, a truck drivers' union. In 1950, he graduated from the private all-boys Mount St. Michael Academy in the Bronx, New York. It is likely that during his time at school, he learned not to fear difficulties and to look towards the future, as the school's motto "Ad Astra per aspera" or "Through hardships to the stars" suggests.

Don Valentine

California Dream

Valentine's service in the army brought him to California in the early 1950s, where he discovered the absence of snowstorms on the roads. He decided to stay in California permanently and never return to New York. After earning his bachelor's degree from Fordham University in New York, he embarked on a career in the technology field.

Early Career

After his military service, Valentine worked in various divisions of Sylvania Electric, a company specializing in electron tubes, semiconductors, and related products. Eventually, he found himself in the sales department. Convinced that the future of the United States lay in technology, Valentine began seeking opportunities for developing a similar business in California.

Founding National Semiconductor and Fairchild Semiconductor

In 1959, Valentine played a crucial role in the founding of the innovative semiconductor company, National Semiconductor. He also held positions as the head of sales and marketing at Fairchild Semiconductor for seven years, where he hired young professionals like Jerry Sanders, Jack Gifford, Mike Markkula, and many others who later became industry leaders. During the early 1960s, the company experienced tremendous growth. Valentine also attended a management course at the UCLA Business School during this time.

Sequoia Capital and Investments

In 1972, Valentine founded Sequoia Capital, a venture capital firm that remains successful to this day. As one of the main investors, Valentine played a significant role in the success of companies such as Apple Computer, Atari, LSI Logic, Oracle Corporation, Cisco, Electronic Arts, Google, YouTube, and more. Sequoia Capital has invested in over 600 companies under Valentine's leadership.

Later Career and Personal Life

Valentine has served on the boards of various technology companies, including NetApp and Traiana. He was also the Vice Chairman of Cisco's board from 1996 to 2005. Valentine is married and has three sons and seven grandchildren, all of whom reside in the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition to his primary business activities, he lectures at top business schools in the United States, teaching courses to master's and doctoral degree candidates.