Open main menu

Benchmark (venture capital firm)

  (Redirected from Benchmark Capital)

Benchmark is an American venture capital firm responsible for the early stage funding of numerous successful startups including Dropbox,[1] Twitter, Uber,[2] Snapchat,[3] Instagram,[4] and Discord.[5]

Limited liability company
IndustryPrivate equity
Founded1995; 24 years ago (1995)
FounderBob Kagle
Bruce Dunlevie
Andy Rachleff
Kevin Harvey
HeadquartersMenlo Park, California, United States
San Francisco, California, United States

In 1997, the firm invested $6.7 million in eBay, which made it worth more than $5 billion by the spring of 1999.[6]

Other high-profile investments include Domo,[7] New Relic,[8] Nextdoor,[9] Stitch Fix,[10] WeWork,[11] Yelp,[12] Zendesk,[13] Zillow[14] and Zipcar.[15]



Benchmark is noted for creating the first equal ownership and compensation structure for its partners.[16] The "maverick" firm[17] 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."[17] 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.[18]

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.[19]

Key peopleEdit

Benchmark Capital was founded in 1995 by four partners. Bob Kagle was a marketing expert with VC experience at Technology Venture Investors. Bruce Dunlevie also came from VC experience at Merrill Pickard Anderson & Eyre. Andy Rachleff had a background in network equipment and telecommunications. Kevin Harvey had invested in a database software company while at Merrill Pickard.[citation needed]

The firm's general partners are Matt Cohler, Peter Fenton, Bill Gurley, Mitch Lasky, Eric Vishria, Chetan Puttagunta and Sarah Tavel.[20][21][22][23][24][25][26]


Benchmark has invested in more than 250 startups[27] since its inception in 1995, including:

The firm manages nearly $3 billion in committed capital and has been widely recognized for its commitment to open source.[51] Other notable investments include AOL, 1-800-Flowers,, Friendster, JAMDAT, MetaCafe, Palm Computing, Seeking Alpha, ServiceSource, Xapo,[52] and Zipcar.[53]

Since early 2011, Benchmark has had 25 exits, including 10 IPOs and 15 mergers and acquisitions, representing a total market value of more than $55 billion (as of January 2014).[27] Over the years, by 2015 Benchmark’s eight funds have paid out $22.6 billion to investors, and its backers received a 1,000% gain—net of fees—over the past decade.[1]

By February 2013, Snapchat confirmed a $13.5 million Series A funding round led by Benchmark Capital, which valued the company at between $60 million and $70 million.[54] 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%.[55]


  1. ^ a b Konrad, Alex. "The Benchmark Way: Five Partners Who Make Other VC Firms Look Outgunned And Overstaffed". Forbes.
  2. ^ Helft, Miguel (6 June 2014). "These are the venture firms celebrating Uber's massive $18B valuation". Fortune. Retrieved 29 September 2014.
  3. ^ a b Wortham, Jenna (8 February 2013). "A Growing App Lets You See It, Then You Don't". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 May 2013.
  4. ^ Indvik, Lauren (2 February 2011). "Instagram Raises $7 Million, Hits 1.75M Members". Mashable. Mashable. Retrieved 29 September 2014.
  5. ^ Takahashi, "Fates Forever mobile game maker Hammer & Chisel raises funding from Benchmark and Tencent", Venture Beat, February 10, 2015.
  6. ^ "EBAY'S IPO RETURN IS JUST PEANUTS TO SOME". Retrieved 2012-11-16.
  7. ^ Konrad, Alex. "Domo Reveals Its Business Software, Raises $200 Million At $2 Billion Valuation". Forbes.
  8. ^ Cromwell, Schuberth. "Big winners on New Relic, Hortonworks IPOs are mostly Benchmark, Peter Fenton". Silicon Valley Business Journal.
  9. ^ Chapman, Lizette. "Valued at $1.1 Billion, Nextdoor's Pivot Appears to Be Paying Off". The Wall Street Journal.
  10. ^ Gannes, Liz. "Happy Stitch Fix Investors Pump Another Round Into Personal Shopping Startup". Re/code.
  11. ^ Alex, Konrad. "Inside The Phenomenal Rise Of WeWork". Forbes.
  12. ^ Empson, Rip. "Twitter, Yelp Board Member Peter Fenton On How Enterprise Is Learning From The Consumer Web". TechCrunch.
  13. ^ Connie, Loizos. "Benchmark's Newest Partner, Eric Vishria, On His First Year at the Powerhouse Firm". TechCrunch.
  14. ^ Jackson, Eric. "Interview With Bill Gurley: The Guy Who Backed OpenTable, Yelp, GrubHub, Twitter, Zillow And Uber". Forbes.
  15. ^ Chapman, Lizette. "For Venture Firms, Zipcar Purchase a Profitable but Disappointing Exit". Wall Street Journal.
  16. ^ Stross, Randall (2009-12-29). eBoys: The First Inside Account of Venture Capitalists at Work. Ballantine Books (May 29, 2001). p. 89. ISBN 978-0-345-42889-9.
  17. ^ a b Hempel, Jessi (11 February 2013). "Bill Gurley: The sage of Silicon Valley". Fortune. Retrieved 2 May 2013.
  18. ^ Konrad, Alex. "The Benchmark Way: Five Partners Who Make Other VC Firms Look Outgunned And Overstaffed". Forbes. Retrieved 2017-12-21.
  19. ^ Levy, Ari (25 May 2012). "Benchmark Joins Twitter in San Francisco's Startup Zone". Bloomberg. Retrieved 23 August 2012.
  20. ^ Lawler, Ryan (23 July 2014). "Rockmelt Co-Founder Eric Vishria Joins Benchmark As Its Newest Partner". TechCrunch. TechCrunch. Retrieved 29 September 2014.
  21. ^ "VentureBeat Facebook's Matt Cohler leaves for Benchmark Capital". 2008-06-19.
  22. ^ "Peter Fenton: Prominent VC, successful triathlete". 2007-05-11.
  23. ^ "Benchmark Capital hires Lasky, of Jamdat fame". 2007-03-19.
  24. ^ Loizos, Connie. "Benchmark Adds A Sixth General Partner: Scott Belsky". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2016-02-18.
  25. ^ Loizos, Connie (2017-05-09). "Benchmark just hired Sarah Tavel, the first female general partner in the firm's history". Retrieved 2017-05-11.
  26. ^ Gurley, Bill (2018-07-09). "Benchmark's Newest General Partner Chetan Puttagunta". Above the Crowd. Retrieved 2019-04-18.
  27. ^ a b "Benchmark Capital". Company Profile. CrunchBase. Retrieved 4 February 2014.
  28. ^ Lawler, Ryan. "Benchmark Backs Real-Time Data Processing Startup Confluent". Retrieved 3 December 2014.
  29. ^ Novet, Jordan. "Peter Fenton's latest investment is a database startup called Cockroach".
  30. ^ Culter, Kim-Mai. "Cyanogen Mod Raises $7M To Find A Direct-To-Consumer Route For Android Firmware".
  31. ^ Takahashi, "Fates Forever mobile game maker Hammer & Chisel raises funding from Benchmark and Tencent", Venture Beat, February 10, 2015.
  32. ^ Lawler, Ryan (22 September 2014). "Two-Factor Authentication Startup Duo Security Raises $12 Million From Benchmark". TechCrunch. TechCrunch. Retrieved 29 September 2014.
  33. ^ Lacy, Sarah. "Series A Whopper: Benchmark Invests $33M in New BI Company Domo".
  34. ^ Alex, Williams. "Docker Raises $15M For Its Open-Source Platform That Helps Developers Build Apps In The Cloud". Retrieved 18 September 2015.
  35. ^ Gage, Deborah (28 May 2014). "HackerOne Emerges With $9 Million to Root Out Software Bugs". Wall Street Journal. Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 29 September 2014.
  36. ^ Gannes, Liz. "Instagram Raises $7M Led by Benchmark".
  37. ^ "Benchmark leads series B for marin software". April 7, 2008.
  38. ^ Rao, Leena. "Cloud App Management Platform New Relic Raises $15M From DAG, Benchmark". TechCrunch. Retrieved 18 September 2015.
  39. ^ Isaac, Mike. "Nextdoor Raises $18.6M From Benchmark, Greylock in First Major Funding Round". Retrieved 18 September 2015.
  40. ^ "ResearchGate brings in strong funding round for 'scientific Facebook'". The Guardian. 2010. Retrieved 2010-08-09.
  41. ^ Loizos, Connie (13 March 2019). "Sketch, maker of popular design tools, just landed $20 million in Series A funding from Benchmark in its first outside round". TechCrunch. Archived from the original on 14 March 2019. Retrieved 15 March 2019.
  42. ^ "This Startup Wants to Be the OpenTable for Urgent Care". Fortune. Retrieved 2017-04-24.
  43. ^ Kucera, Danielle. "Stitch Fix Nabs $12 Million From Benchmark to Customize Commerce". Retrieved 18 September 2015.
  44. ^ Chapman, Lizette. "Twitter Investor Benchmark Capital Gets Smaller Taste In Potbelly IPO". Retrieved 18 September 2015.
  45. ^ Arrington, Michael. "Huge Vote Of Confidence: Uber Raises $11 Million From Benchmark Capital". Retrieved 18 September 2015.
  46. ^ "AR startup Ubiquity6 lands $27M Series B to build a more user-friendly augmented reality". TechCrunch.
  47. ^ Kafka, Peter (24 June 2014). "Jason Kilar's New Startup Has a Name, and a Whole Lot of Money". Re/code. Re/code. Retrieved 29 September 2014.
  48. ^ Kosoff, Maya. "WeWork, a startup that rents out office space to other startups, may soon be valued at $10 billion". Retrieved 18 September 2015.
  49. ^ Schonfeld, Erick (13 March 2008). "Benchmark and Benioff Put $6.5 Million Into Zuora to Create a Salesforce for Online Billing". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2 May 2013.
  50. ^ "Benchmark, Marissa Mayer Put $5.5M In Stationery Design And Retail Site Minted". TechCrunch.
  51. ^ Asay, Matt (2008-04-01). "Open-source venture investing hits an all-time high | The Open Road - CNET News". Retrieved 2012-11-16.
  52. ^ Rusli, Evelyn (13 March 2014). "Latest Bitcoin Craze? Actual Bank Vaults". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 17 March 2014.
  53. ^ "Benchmark".
  54. ^ Primack, Dan. (June 26, 2013) Snapchat's liquidity trap – The Term Sheet: Fortune's deals blogTerm Sheet. Retrieved on December 9, 2013.
  55. ^ Winkler, Rolfe (February 3, 2017), Snap IPO Will Mint Fortunes for Founders, Two Big Investors, New York City: Wall Street Journal, retrieved January 4, 2017

External linksEdit