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The Midas List 2014: Tech’s Top Investors

Thursday
Forbes listed midas list 2014 in Tech's Top Investors .

The new face at the top of this year’s Midas List of top venture investors owes his position to Facebook, the social platform whose 2012 IPO has propelled five investors into the top ten in the past two years.

Only this time, it’s because Facebook wrote a check—for $19 billion.

The rest of the top ten is dominated by Facebook and Twitter investors. Three-time reigning Midas List #1 Jim Breyer drops this year as he transitions to a smaller role at Accel Partners, but he still slots in at #5 with his early bet on Mark Zuckerberg’s social network. And it’s good to be Marc Andreessen, as the Andreessen Horowitz investor stays at #2 after backing both Facebook and microblogging platform Twitter, arguably the splashiest IPO of the last year. Peter Fenton of Benchmark Capital moves up three slots to #3 on this year’s list due to his early Twitter bet.


Jim Goetz

Jim Goetz, who rockets to the top of the venture capital heap this year as the only institutional backer in messaging service WhatsApp, the largest venture capital-funded exit of all time. Goetz's combined $60 million or so in three rounds to support WhatsApp epitomizes the Midas touch, and WhatsApp's $19 billion price tag in an announced sale to Facebook means Sequoia's sitting on $3 billion in Facebook stock, over twice the total of Sequoia's billion-plus 2010 fund. But Goetz's golden touch extends to the enterprise world, too, where he's had a string of public exits: Ruckus Wireless (IPO 2012), Palo Alto Networks (IPO 2012) and now Barracuda Networks (IPO 2013) and Nimble Storage (IPO 2013). Goetz is still on the board at all four billion-plus public companies, as well as at Jive Software (IPO 2011) and WhatsApp.


Marc Andreessen

Marc Andreessen's name is supersized in the small circles of Silicon Valley, as an entrepreneur, advisor, investor and now as a power tweeter. The Netscape Communications cofounder turned to investing full time alongside partner Ben Horowitz in 2009. Andreessen was a seed investor in Twitter and LinkedIn and a later-stage investor in Skype (acquired by Microsoft in 2011), Groupon (IPO 2011) and Zynga (IPO 2011). He now sits on the board at eBay, Hewlett-Packard, Facebook, Anki and Oculus VR, the maker of the groundbreaking virtual reality headset Oculus Rift. Andreessen's also guided his firm's investments in Fusion-IO (IPO 2011), Airbnb, Glam Media and Instagram. In 2014, he's somehow found the time to become something of a Twitter chat leader, engaging with his 80,000+ followers through multi-tweet arguments about topics from the future of media to the ethics of anonymous sharing apps.

Peter Fenton

One of the hottest names in venture capital, Peter Fenton jumps three spots to No. 3 on this year's Midas List following the public debut of Twitter. He backed the 140-character microblogging service when it had only 25 people and now sits on its board. At the time of the San Francisco firm's IPO in November, Benchmark Capital held a 6.7% stake. A competitive triathlete, Fenton keeps himself busy. He serves on the boards of Yelp (IPO 2011), Zendesk (on-demand customer support) and New Relic (on demand app management). In one 24-hour period in 2009, Fenton was the lead partner behind SpringSource's $420 million sale to VMWare and FriendFeed's sale to Facebook. Fenton earned his chops as a Bain consultant and worked at Accel Partners for seven years before moving to Benchmark in 2006. The firm recently moved its offices to San Francisco from the South Bay.

Peter Thiel

Early Facebook investor Peter Thiel has another huge winner with big-data consultancy Palantir Technologies, which he also cofounded. Palantir raised money in December at a $9 billion valuation, making Thiel's estimated 12% stake (the largest) worth more than $1 billion. Thiel, a cofounder of PayPal, still sits on Facebook's board but sold most of his 10% stake in the social networking company following its May 2012 IPO. His various venture firms include Founders Fund, whose stated goal is to invest in companies that it says can affect dramatic technological change. Notable investments include Airbnb, Practice Fusion and payments company Stripe. Ideological to the point of eccentricity, Thiel believes technology rarely repeats itself: "There's a sense in which technology is, by definition, non-repetitive. And every moment in technological history only happens once." As Palantir's chairman, Thiel has personally invested $40 million in the Palo Alto, Calif. firm. He firmly believes the company could be just as valuable as Facebook.

Jim Breyer

Jim Breyer lost his perch atop the Midas List but still ranks highly thanks to his early 2005 investment in Facebook (for Accel and for himself), a bet that helped make him a billionaire. More recently, Breyer helped guide public the enterprise software company Model N (IPO 2013). Just in March, Breyer told Forbes he would be playing a less active role with Accel in its new 2014 funds, instead spending more time investing through his family office, Breyer Capital. He remains active in Accel investments including e-commerce site Etsy and Hollywood production studio Legendary Entertainment. Breyer also has transitioned his board positions, swapping out Facebook, Wal-Mart and Dell in 2013 in favor of Harvard University, where he got his MBA and now serves on the governing board of the Harvard Corporation, and 21st Century Fox, one of two companies spun out from News Corporation in 2013. Breyer's also on the board at his most recent public investment, Circle Internet Financial, where he linked back up for a second time with Brightcove founder Jeremy Allaire.


More read: http://www.forbes.com/sites/alexkonrad/2014/03/26/midas-top-ten-list-for-2014/



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