I had no idea the bitterness still ran quite so deep. Sequoia Capital's Mike Moritz is the most powerful venture capitalist in the Valley, so strange Valley savant Peter Thiel usually suppresses his long-standing resentment. But it just popped out, in an interview with Matt Marshall: Sequoia, says Thiel, was locked out of hot startup Facebook after 'mistreating' another entrepreneur who had Moritz on his board.
The outburst is surprising. Peter Thiel, an eccentric libertarian who founded Paypal and one of the most successful hedge funds to come on the market, can't escape Sequoia Capital, Silicon Valley's leading venture capital firm. He runs in the same circles as Roelof de Botha, the Sequoia Capital partner who scored huge with an investment in Youtube before the online video service was acquired by Google for $1.65bn.
But Thiel's still resentful that Mike Moritz persuaded him in 2000 to merge Paypal with another, largely worthless, Sequoia portfolio company. He just hired Sean Parker, another entrepreneur bruised by Moritz, to find startups for Thiel's Founders Fund. Parker was thrown out of Plaxo, an online address book service at which Moritz served as a board member. When Facebook, another company that Parker co-founded and Thiel funded, came to raise its first round of venture capital, Sequoia was punished.
"Sequoia had no chance to invest," Thiel explains, "because of the way they mistreated him at Plaxo. He's been treated worse than he deserved."