Sequoia Capital, one of Silicon Valley’s most notable VC firms, told investors it was hacked

Sequoia Capital
Sequoia Capital offices on Sand Hill Road in Menlo Park, Calif.

One of Silicon Valley’s oldest and most venerable VC firms was hacked.

Sequoia Capital told its investors on Friday that some personal and financial information may have been accessed by a third party after one of its employees fell victim to a successful phishing attack, according to a report in Axios Friday. 

Sequoia told investors that it has not yet seen any indication that compromised information is being traded or otherwise exploited on the dark web, Axios reported.

A Sequoia spokesperson confirmed to Insider Saturday that it had “recently experienced a cybersecurity incident” that its security team was investigating. It had also notified law enforcement and was working with outside cybersecurity experts, the firm said.

“We regret that this incident has occurred and have notified affected individuals,” A Sequoia spokesperson told Insider. “We have made considerable investments in security and will continue to do so as we work to address constantly evolving cyber threats.”

Sequoia’s investors are called limited partners, and typically include large financial institutions such as university endowments, private family wealth offices, or sovereign wealth funds, but rarely do firms share information about their investors publicly.

Sequoia Capital is one of Silicon Valley’s oldest and most successful venture capital firms with more than $38 billion in assets under management, according to Pitchbook data. The 49-year-old venture capital firm has invested in companies such as Airbnb, DoorDash, and 23andMe. It has also invested in cybersecurity companies like FireEye and Carbon Black, according to its website. 

It does not appear that the hack was connected to the Solarwinds attacks, which included a larger breach of FireEye and has impacted government agencies and large technology companies like Microsoft.

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A legendary venture-capital firm bought Airbnb shares for 1 cent each in 2009

Airbnb IPO
The Airbnb logo is displayed on the Nasdaq digital billboard in Times Square in New York on December 10, 2020.

  • Airbnb’s stock price soared to about $145 during its stock-market debut on Thursday.
  • Sequoia Capital invested $585,000 in the home-rental platform for around 58 million shares in 2009, paying about 1 cent a share, The Information reported.
  • The venture-capital fund has plowed a total of $280 million into Airbnb over the years, giving it a stake worth almost $12 billion at the close on Thursday.
  • Sequoia backed Airbnb when it had only 2,500 listings on its website; it had 5.6 million active listings at the end of September.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Airbnb’s stock price more than doubled to about $145 on Thursday, valuing the home-rental platform at north of $85 billion on its first day of trading. One of the company’s earliest backers paid just one cent a share when it invested in April 2009.

Sequoia Capital – a storied venture-capital fund that counts Apple, Google, and Instagram among its past investments – handed Airbnb a seed investment of $585,000 for around 58 million shares, according to The Information. It participated in several later funding rounds, ultimately spending about $280 million for nearly 82 million shares, which were worth close to $12 billion on Thursday.

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The return on Sequoia’s initial investment is astronomical, and its total $280 million bet has paid off handsomely too. It spent an average of $3.40 on shares worth about $145 each on Thursday – a roughly 43-fold gain.

Sequoia has been richly rewarded for recognizing the potential of Airbnb when it was less than a year old. When it first invested almost $600,000, Airbnb had 2,500 listings and 10,000 registered users, the firm said in a blog post. The platform had 5.6 million active listings and more than 4 million hosts as of September 30 this year.

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