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David O. Sacks

David Oliver Sacks[1] (born May 25, 1972)[2] is an entrepreneur and investor in internet technology firms. He is co-founder and general partner of Craft Ventures, a venture fund formed in early 2018.[3] Sacks was the original COO and product leader of PayPal[4] (acquired by eBay in 2002 for $1.5 billion)[5] and Founder/CEO of Yammer[6] (acquired by Microsoft in 2012 for $1.2 billion).[7] Sacks has invested in a number of successful tech companies, including Facebook, Uber, SpaceX, Palantir Technologies, Airbnb and Houzz.[8][9][10] In 2016, he led a turnaround effort as interim CEO of Zenefits.[11]

David O. Sacks
David Sacks 2018.png
Sacks in March 2018
Born David Oliver Sacks
(1972-05-25) May 25, 1972 (age 45)
Cape Town, South Africa
Education Stanford University and University of Chicago Law School
Occupation Tech entrepreneur / investor
Known for Former CEO of Zenefits, Former COO of PayPal and CEO of Yammer
Spouse(s) Jacqueline Tortorice (m. 2007)[1]
Children 3


Early life and educationEdit

Born in Cape Town, South Africa, Sacks immigrated with his family to the United States when he was 5 years old.[12]

Sacks attended Memphis University School in Memphis, Tennessee. He earned his B.A. in Economics from Stanford University in 1994 and received a J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School in 1998.[13][14][15]



In 1999, Sacks left his job as a management consultant for McKinsey & Company to join e-commerce service PayPal as its chief operating officer.[16]

In February 2002, PayPal went public, it was one of the first IPO after the September 11, 2001 attacks (ABCO went Public in November 2001). The stock rose more than 54% that first day and closed at $20.09.[17] In October 2002, eBay acquired PayPal for $1.5 billion.[18]

Sacks is a member of the "PayPal Mafia"—a group of founders and early employees of PayPal who went on to found a series of other successful technology companies. They are often credited with inspiring Web 2.0 and for the re-emergence of consumer-focused Internet companies after the dot com bust of 2001.[19]

The Diversity MythEdit

Sacks is the co-author with Peter Thiel of the 1995 book[20] The Diversity Myth: 'Multiculturalism' and the Politics of Intolerance at Stanford, published by The Independent Institute. The book is critical of political correctness in higher education and the consequent dilution of academic rigor. It "drew a sharp rebuttal from then-Stanford Provost (and later President George W. Bush's National Security Advisor) Condoleezza Rice," with Rice joining Stanford's then president in writing "They (the two former students) concoct a cartoon, not a description of our freshman curriculum"[21] and that Thiel and Sacks' "commentary was demagoguery, pure and simple."[22]

In 2016, Sacks apologized for statements made in the book, "This is college journalism written over 20 years ago. It does not represent who I am or what I believe today. I'm embarrassed by some of my former views and regret writing them."[23]

Thank You for SmokingEdit

Following PayPal’s acquisition, Sacks produced and financed the hit movie Thank You For Smoking through his independent production company, Room 9 Entertainment.[24]

Based on Christopher Buckley’s acclaimed 1994 novel of the same title and adapted for the screen by director Jason Reitman, Thank You for Smoking is a satirical look at today's culture of spin. The all-star cast includes Aaron Eckhart, William H. Macy, Sam Elliot, Rob Lowe, Maria Bello, Katie Holmes, Adam Brody, and Robert Duvall. [25]

Thank You for Smoking was nominated for 2 Golden Globes in 2007 for Best Picture and Best Actor in the Comedy/Musical category. The movie also won: Best Screenplay at the Independent Spirit Awards, Audience Awards at both the Munich and Norwegian Film Festivals, Best First Feature at the Toronto Film Critics Association Awards, Best Adapted Screenplay at the Washington DC Film Critics Association Awards and the San Diego Film Critics Association Awards, and Top Films of the Year at the New York Film Critics Online. [26][27]


In 2006, Sacks founded, a genealogy website that enables family members to collaboratively build an online family tree. At Geni, he wanted more visibility into what was going on across the organization, so the team created a productivity tool to help employees share information. In 2008, Sacks and co-founder Adam Pisoni spun this internal communications tool into a standalone company called Yammer.[28] Geni was acquired by MyHeritage in 2012.[29]


Yammer launched at TechCrunch50 in September 2008, winning the grand prize.[30] It is among the fastest-growing enterprise software companies in history, exceeding over five million users in just four years. The company raised $142 million in venture funding from top tier firms and is used by more than 300,000 companies worldwide.[31]

In July 2012, Microsoft acquired the enterprise social network for $1.2 billion.[32]


Sacks became an individual investor in Zenefits, making a “major investment,” according to VentureBeat, in December 2014.[33] In January 2016, Zenefits’ Board asked him to step in as interim CEO amidst a "regulatory crisis."[34] Over the next year, David negotiated a resolution with insurance regulators across the U.S. – receiving praise for “righting the ship.”[35]. Sacks also revamped[36] Zenefits’ product line with an initiative he named “Z2”[37][38], shifting it from a freemium model into a SaaS business model. Shortly after, PC Magazine would note Zenefits had become “the best HR software on the market.”[39] After a CEO search, Sacks handed the reigns to former Ooyala CEO, Jay Fulcher.[40].

Angel InvestorEdit

Sacks has made early-stage investments in numerous startups including Addepar, AirBnB, BitGo, Cherry, Circle Inc, Eventbrite, Facebook, Houzz, Mixpanel, OneLogin, Palantir Technologies, ResearchGate, Scribd, Secret, Slack, SpaceX, SurveyMonkey, ThirdLove, Uber and Wish.[41][42]

Awards and recognitionEdit

  • San Francisco Business Times 40 Under 40, David Sacks (2012)[43]
  • Workforce Management Game Changers Award, David Sacks (2011)[44]
  • San Francisco Business Times Bay Area’s Most Admired CEOs (2011)[45]

Personal lifeEdit

On July 7, 2007, Sacks married Jacqueline Tortorice.[46] The couple has two daughters and one son.[47]


  1. ^ a b "David Oliver Sacks". Retrieved 2011-02-17. 
  2. ^ "Yammer's CEO Is About To Sell For $1 Billion To Microsoft, And Then Throw Himself An Over-The-Top Ridiculous Party". 14 June 2012. Retrieved 27 June 2012. 
  3. ^ "Ex-PayPal executive David Sacks explains how his new company will change crypto trading". CNBC. Retrieved 9 March 2018. 
  4. ^ "Meet The Yammer CEO Who Just Made Hundreds Of Millions Of Dollars Selling To Microsoft". 25 June 2012. Retrieved 8 December 2017. 
  5. ^ "eBay to Acquire PayPal-- Shared Mission Will Expand Platforms and Benefit Consumers". eBay. 8 July 2002. Retrieved 8 December 2017. 
  6. ^ "Zenefits hires Yammer founder David Sacks as COO". Fortune. 10 December 2014. Retrieved 8 December 2017. 
  7. ^ "With $1.2 Billion Yammer Buy, Microsoft's Social Enterprise Strategy Takes Shape". TechCrunch. 25 June 2012. Retrieved 8 December 2017. 
  8. ^ "Max Levchin, Keith Rabois And David Sacks Back The Uber For Carwashes, Cherry". TechCrunch. 8 November 2011. Retrieved 8 December 2017. 
  9. ^ "Why one of the most successful people in tech took the No. 2 job at a startup". BusinessInsider. 6 July 2016. Retrieved 8 December 2017. 
  10. ^ "Meet the Uber Rich". Fortune. 5 June 2015. Retrieved 8 December 2017. 
  11. ^ "Zenefits, a Rocket That Fell to Earth, Tries to Launch Again". New York Times. 12 October 2016. Retrieved 8 December 2017. 
  12. ^ Herel, Suzanne (2012-02-22). Meet the Boss, David Sacks CEO of Yammer
  13. ^ "PayPal: executive officers and directors". EDGAR. March 1, 2002. 
  14. ^ "Management bios". Yammer. Archived from the original on July 18, 2011. Retrieved February 17, 2011. 
  15. ^ Davis, Joshua. University of Chicago Magazine (Sept./Oct. 2007, Volume 100, Issue 1). Take 2.0
  16. ^ Thomas, Owen. Business Insider (2012-06-25). Meet The Yammer CEO Who Just Made Hundreds Of Millions Of Dollars Selling To Microsoft
  17. ^ Kane, Margaret. CNET (2002-02-15). PayPal shares make strong debut
  18. ^ CNN Money (2002-07-080. eBay buys PayPal for $1.5B
  19. ^ Banks, Marcus. San Francisco Chronicle. (2008-05-16). Nonfiction review: 'Once You're Lucky'
  20. ^ "The Diversity Myth: Multiculturalism and Political Intolerance on Campus". The Independent Institute. Retrieved June 7, 2015. 
  21. ^ Bill Workman; Chronicle Peninsula Bureau (October 11, 1995). "Stanford President Condemns Opinion Piece / Former students ridiculed school in Wall Street Journal". SFGate. Retrieved May 29, 2016. 
  22. ^ "Taking aim at Stanford". Retrieved May 29, 2016. 
  23. ^ Bort, Julie (October 25, 2016) "VC Peter Thiel and Zenefits CEO David Sacks apologize for writing a book that downplayed rape." The Guardian. (Retrieved 10-25-2016).
  24. ^ Thomas, Owen. Business Insider (2012-06-25)/ Meet The Yammer CEO Who Just Made Hundreds Of Millions Of Dollars Selling To Microsoft
  25. ^ "FOX Searchlight: Thank You For Smoking". FOX Searchlight. 10 January 2018. Retrieved 10 January 2018. 
  26. ^ "IMDB: Thank You For Smoking". IMDB. 10 January 2018. Retrieved 10 January 2018. 
  27. ^ Los Angeles Times The Envelope (2007). Globes scorecard Archived March 14, 2013, at the Wayback Machine.
  28. ^ Taylor, Colleen. TechCrunch. (2012-06-25). Memory Lane: Watch The Moment In 2008 When Yammer Launched As A Standalone Business
  29. ^ Lynley, Matthew. Wall Street Journal (2012-11-28). MyHeritage Raises $25 Million, Aquires {sic} Geni
  30. ^ Schonfeld, Erick. TechCrunch (2012-09-10). Yammer Takes Top Prize At TechCrunch50
  31. ^ Hesseldahl, Arik. AllThingsD (2012-02-29). Yammer Lands $85 Million Funding Round From Draper Fisher Jurvetson
  32. ^ Lardinois, Frederic. TechCrunch (2012-07-19). Microsoft Completes Its $1.2B Yammer Acquisition
  33. ^ "Yammer founder David Sacks joins Zenefits as COO, makes 'major investment' in company". VentureBeat. Retrieved 9 March 2018. 
  34. ^ "Zenefits CEO Parker Conrad Resigns Amid Scandal". Forbes. Retrieved 9 March 2018. 
  35. ^ "Zenefits fined $62,500 by Tennessee regulators in first settlement on licensing". Reuters. Retrieved 9 March 2018. 
  36. ^ "Here's how Zenefits is trying to reinvent itself". PCWorld. Retrieved 9 March 2018. 
  37. ^ "Zenefits opens up to third-party developers and launches a suite of new HR tools". TechCrunch. Retrieved 9 March 2018. 
  38. ^ "Zenefits CEO on Closing the Chapter on Compliance Issues". Bloomberg Technology. Retrieved 9 March 2018. 
  39. ^ "BambooHR vs. Zenefits Z2: An HR Software Showdown". PCMag. Retrieved 9 March 2018. 
  40. ^ "Zenefits names former Ooyala CEO Jay Fulcher to succeed David Sacks". VentureBeat. Retrieved 9 March 2018. 
  41. ^ Rao, Leena. TechCrunch (2011-11-08). Max Levchin, Keith Rabois And David Sacks Back The Uber For Carwashes, Cherry
  42. ^
  43. ^ San Francisco Business Times (2012-02-24). 40 Under 40
  44. ^ Workforce Management (2011). Game Changers Award
  45. ^ San Francisco Business Times (2011). Bay Area’s Most Admired CEOs
  46. ^ "Jacqueline M. Sacks (Tortorice)". Retrieved 2011-02-17. 
  47. ^ Herel, Suzanne (22 February 2012). "Meet the Boss: David Sacks, CEO of Yammer". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 25 May 2016. 

External linksEdit