|Education Yale University, Stanford Graduate School of Business|
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Greylock s david sze on investment strategy
David Sze is an entrepreneur, investor, and managing partner at the venture capital firm Greylock Partners. His areas of focus include consumer Internet and services, media convergence, wireless data, and technology-assisted marketing services.
- Greylock s david sze on investment strategy
- Greylock s david sze shares detailed lessons from his career in the studio
- Past investments
Sze personally led Greylock's investment in Facebook in early 2006 as well as investments in LinkedIn (Greylock held a 16% stake at the 2011 IPO) and Pandora (14% stake at 2011 IPO). Some current investments include Nextdoor (neighborhood social network) and Medium (the new storytelling experience founded by Ev Williams).
Sze has also been named to Forbes' prestigious Midas List multiple years in a row. In 2013, he was #10; in 2012, he was #4. Sze and Reid Hoffman also recently announced Greylock's XIV (14th) fund of $1 billion. It was announced that this fund would continue Greylock’s investment focus on consumer technology and enterprise technology companies.
While his fellow Greylock partners Aneel Bhusri and Reid Hoffman hold full-time jobs helping to run public companies, David Sze is focused solely on investing and is effectively seen as the CEO at the firm's Menlo Park, Calif.'s headquarters.
Sze served as head of product strategy at Excite and worked in product marketing at Electronic Arts and Crystal Dynamics before joining Greylock in 2000.
He holds a BA from Yale University and an MBA from Stanford University.
Greylock s david sze shares detailed lessons from his career in the studio
David's investments include Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), Revision3 (acquired by Discovery Communications), Digg (Acquired by Betaworks), LinkedIn (NYSE: LNKD), Nextdoor, Oodle (acquired by QVC), Pandora (NASDAQ: P), Path, SoftCoin (acquired by You Technology), SEVEN, SGN (acquired by MindJolt), ToyTalk, VUDU (acquired by Walmart), New Edge Networks (acquired by EarthLink) and WhoSay.
NOCpulse (Acquired by Red Hat in 2002), New Edge Networks (Acquired by EarthLink in 2006), Oodle (Acquired by QVC in 2013), Revision3 (Acquired by Discovery Communications in 2012), SGN (Acquired by MindJolt in 2011), SoftCoin (Acquired by You Technology in 2008), VUDU (Acquired by Walmart in 2010), digg (Acquired by Betaworks in 2012)
Before joining Greylock Partners in 2000, David was SVP of Product Strategy at Excite and then [email protected] As an early employee at Excite, David also held roles as GM of Excite.com and VP of Content and Programming for the Excite Network. That early product insight is what has made him a valuable and sought out partner to entrepreneurs: "That product insight scores big points with entrepreneurs: "He is crazy smart and understands product better than anyone," says one.
When David joined Greylock in 2000, he was advised to focus on enterprise investing despite a love for consumer technology. This was a focus he readily admits wasn't the right one for him: "The first couple of years, I was told I should be an enterprise investor. I went out and proved that I was a bad enterprise investor in the early 2000s. That’s probably forgotten. In 2002, 2003, it wasn’t working. I was either getting fired, or I was going to leave."
His self-proclaimed failure as an enterprise investor and his desire to focus on consumer companies is what lead to Greylock to establish a foothold in Silicon Valley. Greylock moved the firm headquarters from Boston to Silicon Valley’s Sand Hill Road—a move that Sze and his partner Aneel Bhusri are credited with: "Far from the heart of the Valley, [Sze & Bhusri] struggled to gain credibility with local startups. Some of Greylock’s East Coast partners were also skeptical, but most decided the firm’s future was out west. “We couldn’t be perceived as a venture firm in Silicon Valley where every decision had to run through the East Coast,” says partner Bill Helman. “That was death.”"
By mid-2000, Sze & Greylock established a recognizable foothold in Silicon Valley -- quickly known as a firm with an equal focus on enterprise and consumer tech. Sze led early investments in companies including Facebook, Pandora and LinkedIn in addition to Workday and Palo Alto Networks. Greylock held a 16% stake at the 2011 IPO of Facebook and a 14% stake at 2011 IPO of Pandora.
In addition to his product insights, Sze is also known for his candor and humility. He's often shared his regret on declining to invest early in Twitter, and he’s also been open about the specific reasons why he led LinkedIn's Series B investment and why he was so bullish on his now colleague and partner, Reid Hoffman. He said in a blog post, (5) “I am very enthusiastic about this opportunity. I think [LinkedIn] are well on the way to being impossible to catch in their space from network development, and they have the potential to build a much more addictive experience on top of that userbase, and to monetize it in ways that are relatively non-jarring to their users, and with large revenues and margin potential. I also think Reid is world-class in this type of business and am excited to work with him.”
His sister is artist Sarah Sze. His grandfather Szeming Sze was involved in establishing the U.N.'s World Health Organization.