Benchmark is a venture capital firm based in San Francisco that provides seed money to startups.
The firm's most successful investment was a 1997 investment of $6.7 million in eBay for 22.1% of the company. In 2011, it invested $12 million for an 11% stake in Uber, worth $7 billion in 2019.
Successful companies funded by the firm include Dropbox, Twitter, Uber, Snapchat, Instagram, Discord, Domo, New Relic, Nextdoor, Stitch Fix, WeWork, Yelp, Zendesk, Zillow and Zipcar.
Since early 2011, Benchmark has had 37 exits, including 14 IPOs and 23 mergers and acquisitions, representing a total market value of more than $60 billion. By 2015, Benchmark’s eight funds had paid out $22.6 billion to investors, and its backers received a 1,000% gain net of fees over the prior decade.
The firm manages nearly $3 billion in committed capital and has been widely recognized for its commitment to the open-source model.
Benchmark is noted for creating the first equal ownership and compensation structure for its partners. The "maverick" firm differs from most VC firms, which are named for their founders and are structured hierarchically; Benchmark is "a lean operation in which its six full-time partners share profits equally." There is no differentiation between its "junior partners" and "senior partners," as each partner benefits equally from company profits. In addition, there is no CEO-like position held.
The firm announced in May 2012 it would be expanding beyond its Menlo Park, California headquarters by opening a second headquarters with more than 10,000 square feet in San Francisco’s emerging tech corridor, the Mid-Market neighborhood.
Benchmark has invested in more than 250 startups since its inception in 1995, including:
- CTERA Networks
- Cockroach Labs
- Juniper Networks
- Marin Software
- New Relic
- Palm, Inc.
- Seeking Alpha
- Snapchat - In February 2013, Snapchat confirmed a $13.5 million Series A round of funding led by Benchmark Capital, which valued the company at between $60 million and $70 million. Beyond the two founders, the two biggest shareholders for the planned early 2017 Snap IPO were Benchmark and Lightspeed Venture Partners, both prior Snap investors and venture-capital firms from Silicon Valley. They held a combined stake of about 20%.
- Stitch Fix
- Tellme Networks
- Yelp, Inc.
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