Certain locations can play such an integral role in a business that their names represent an entire industry.
The stock market has Wall Street. The entertainment industry has Hollywood and Broadway. Lobbyists even have K Street in Washington D.C.
When it comes to venture capital and private equity firms, there’s Sand Hill Road. This stretch of roadway serves as the home to firms that have funded some of the largest tech companies in the market. Considered the “Wall Street of the West Coast,” Sand Hill Road is where ambitious founders have connected with funding partners for decades.
With multiple firms that have billions of dollars at their disposal all existing in one place, the stories about Sand Hill Road can border on myth. One story involves a pair of founders standing on the road's median with a cardboard sign that read, “Funding Needed,” according to The Business Journals.
They not only went viral for their ingenuity but booked some important meetings.
This larger-than-life reputation has made Sand Hill Road the focus of a podcast, a Wall Street Journal best-seller and the setting of multiple movies and television shows, most notably HBO’s Silicon Valley.
Sand Hill Road’s History
Sand Hill Road is a 5.6 mile stretch of roadway that cuts straight through Palo Alto, Menlo Park and Woodside. This proximity to Silicon Valley made it the perfect location for venture capital firms to establish or expand their presence and build relationships with promising and successful companies in the area.
The origins of Sand Hill Road has two stories— one connected to tech, one not. One traces back to a path for cows that was first paved in the late 1800s. The other comes much later in 1972 when the first venture capital firms started to break ground.
“I visited Stanford University in high school with [Stanford’s former head of real estate] Tom Ford, in 1969,” Grant Heidrich, a former partner at the Mayfield Fund, told Wired in 2017. “We’re bumping along a dirt road—Highway 280 was not even complete at the time—and Tom points up to this hill covered with briars and weeds and says, ‘I have a vision. This will become one of the most sought-after places to work, because it’s right between San Jose and San Francisco and has access to Stanford.’”
As time went on, more firms settled along Sand Hill Road and invested in some of the most prominent and successful companies to come out of the Bay Area in the past 50 years, including Facebook, Amazon, Google and many others.
Sand Hill Road Venture Capital Firms To Know
- Redpoint Ventures
- Greylock Partners
- Sequoia Capital
- GGV Capital
- Menlo Ventures
- Battery Ventures
Sand Hill Road Venture Capital Firms
The number of venture capital firms in the market has grown in conjunction with the tech industry’s rise to prominence. Many of the firms on Sand Hill Road have been in existence for close to 50 years, but some are newer additions that took advantage of a rare opening to settle in. Either way, they’re all looking to invest in the next best thing.
Check out the leading venture capital firms that call Sand Hill Road home.
What they do: Whether a company is looking to take on an existing industry or create a totally new one, Redpoint Ventures is looking to partner with them. The firm manages $4 billion and has invested in more than 465 companies across all stages of growth. It’s also seen partners through 140 IPOs and mergers and acquisitions as of 2020. Redpoint has additional offices in San Francisco, Beijing and Shanghai.
What they do: Greylock Partners primarily focuses on partnering with companies that are looking to disrupt the software industry. As examples, it led the Series B round of funding for both LinkedIn and Facebook, Series A funding for Airbnb and helped Workday CEO Aneel Bhursi incubate the company. To date, Greylock has more than $3.5 billion under management and has seen more than 175 IPOs since its founding in 1965.
What they do: New Enterprise Associates is one of the largest venture capital firms in the world with $20 billion in committed capital in 2020. It primarily focuses on the technology and healthcare industries and has helped build close to 600 successful businesses in the two areas resulting in more than 220 IPOs and 370 acquisitions. Other offices can be found in Washington D.C., Boston, San Francisco and New York.
What they do: To date, Kleiner Perkins has invested more than $10 billion into hundreds of companies across the technology and life science spaces. As of 2020, the firm had recently launched its nineteenth venture fund, which devotes $700 million to early-stage companies. Past and current partners are Ring, Spotify, Google, Amazon and UiPath.
What they do: Sequoia Capital has helped a long list of some of the most recognizable companies in the market get started. As a matter of fact, Sequoia-backed companies represent more than 20 percent of NASDAQ’s value and have a total public market value of more than $3.3 trillion. Today, most of the money Sequoia invests is on behalf of nonprofit organizations and schools.
What they do: Andreessen Horowitz, also known as “a16z,” was founded in 2009 by Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz and focuses its investments in the consumer, enterprise, bio/healthcare, crypto and fintech spaces. As of 2020, the firm manages $10 billion in assets. As a “stage agnostic” firm, a16z is willing to partner with companies at every growth stage.
What they do: Based in Boston with an office on Sand Hill Road, Battery Ventures has 36 years of experience working with more than 300 companies. Their partners primarily come from the application software, consumer-internet, and mobile services and industrial technology industries. Battery has a total of six offices around the world looking to partner with companies of all sizes.
Who they work with: Wag, Marketo, Wayfair, LogRocket and Bonfire.
What they do: Khosla Ventures was founded by Vinod Khosla and currently has more than $5 billion under management. The firm partners with companies in the consumer, enterprise, education, advertising, financial services, health, big data, sustainable energy and robotics industries, among others. Khosla primarily looks to work with companies venturing into new markets with innovative ideas that will make a lasting impact.
Who they work with: Okta, At-Bay, DoorDash, Karius, Inc. Catch, BioConsortia and Fundera.
What they do: Highland Capital Partners currently manages $3.5 billion in assets and claims partnerships with more than 280 companies, 129 acquisitions and 46 IPOs since its founding in the late 1980s. In late 2019, the firm added two additional offices in New York and San Francisco to accompany its existing properties in Palo Alto and Cambridge. Highland looks to partner with companies in education, fintech, media cybersecurity and other industries.
Who they work with: Harry’s, Malwarebytes, Freshly, LevelUp, WhyHotel and Lovepop.
What they do: The Mayfield Fund leans on more than 50 years of experience to help its partners, which are typically in their early stages of growth—such as Series A or Series B—with occasional exceptions. In late 2019, Mayfield closed on $750 million in new capital across two venture capital funds, which brings the firm’s assets to $2.5 billion. Mayfield has invested in more than 500 companies to date which has resulted in 117 IPOS and 200 mergers or acquisitions.
Who they work with: CloudSimple, Elastica, Grove Collaborative, HashiCorp, Lyft, Mammoth Biosciences and Marketo.
What they do: Outside of Silicon Valley, GGV Capital has offices in San Francisco, Shanghai and Beijing. Its $6.2 billion in capital is divided across 13 funds that support businesses in consumer retail, digital, cloud and frontier technology. While GGV is open to working with global leaders, it especially targets local companies.
Who they work with: Affirm, Bitsight, Gladly, Hello Chuxing, Houzz, Namely, Peloton, Slack and Square.
What they do: Named after the city it’s located in, Menlo Ventures invests in businesses from the mobile, enterprise storage, communications and consumer industries. The firm’s vast portfolio includes 70 companies and a resulting 100 mergers and acquisitions, which comes out to $4 billion in assets. The firm’s latest $450 million fund is called Menlo Ventures XIV as of 2020.
Who they work with: Uber, Televav, Coraid, Acme Packet, Fab, Tumblr and Roku.
What they do: Unlike venture capital firms that look to get in on the ground floor, Institutional Venture Partners (IVP) takes the opposite approach. It focuses on later-stage tech and media companies and uses advisors’ expertise to help them evolve. IVP was founded with $22 million, which grew into $7 billion 35 years later due to partnerships with more than 400 companies and 114 IPOs.
What they do: Silver Lake Partners primarily partners with tech companies that are already leaders in their respective markets. With this specific focus in mind, Silver Lake currently has $39 billion invested and 100 investment professionals on staff to manage it across offices in New York, London, Hong Kong and Tokyo. As of 2020, Silver Lake’s partners collectively generate more than $204 billion of revenue annually and employ more than 356,000 people around the world.
Who they work with: Motorola, Skype, NASDAQ, Symantec and Ancestry.
What they do: Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) is one of the largest venture capital and private equity firms in the market, with $218 billion under management as of December 2019 from 106 portfolio companies who employ a total of 753,000 people around the world. KKR’s services include helping companies go public, underwriting new deals and more. In January of 2020, KKR closed a $2.2 billion fund dedicated to growth equity investment opportunities in North America, Europe and Israel.
Who they work with: Epic Games, FanDuel, Hyperion, Lyft, Sonos, Ultimate Fighting Championship, and Emeral Media.
What they do: The Northern Light Venture Capital firm was founded in 2005 and quickly became a major player in the venture capital space. To date, it’s invested in more than 200 companies in the media, advanced technology and healthcare industries with close to $4.5 billion under management. Partners come from the U.S., Europe and Asia, with a growing share of the Chinese market.
What they do: DCM Ventures focuses on partnering with early- to mid-stage companies in the mobile, consumer internet, software and services industries. As of 2020, the firm has $4 billion under management and has invested in more than 300 technology companies across the U.S. and Asia since 1996. Offices are located in Silicon Valley, Beijing and Tokyo.
Who they work with: Pawp, Blind, Lime, hims and Musely.
What they do: More than 350 companies in the enterprise and consumer sectors have had the pleasure of being supported by Lightspeed Venture Partners since its founding. Of those companies, a third have either successfully reached the IPO stage or been acquired. Lightspeed specifically focuses on companies that work in the enterprise, consumer, big data, bitcoin, enterprise technology, fintech, cloud solutions, e-commerce, storage, software-as-a-service and information technology industries.
Who they work with: Snap, Nest, Nutanix, AppDynamics, MuleSoft, OYO, Guardant, StitchFix and GrubHub.
Sand Hill Road Jobs and Events
The venture capital firms on Sand Hill Road have collectively invested hundreds of billions of dollars into companies around the world of all sizes. Many of them are looking to hire the most talented professionals around in a variety of roles. To keep up with any openings at any of the listed firms, or their partner companies, feel free to check out our job board! Be sure to also keep an eye on Built In San Francisco for news and events in the area.