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Don Valentine in 2013, at TechCrunch Disrupt conference. Photo by Steve Jennings/Getty Images

Don Valentine, founder of venture capital firm Sequoia Capital, died Friday at the age of 87.

Why it matters: Valentine was one of Silicon Valley's original tech startup investors, including early bets in Apple, Atari, Cisco Systems and Oracle.

"Don’s life is woven into the fabric of Silicon Valley. He shaped Sequoia and left his imprint not just on those of us who had the privilege to work with him or the many philanthropic institutions that invested with Sequoia, but also on the founders and leaders of some of the most significant technology companies of the later part of the twentieth century."
— Doug Leone, global managing partner of Sequoia Capital

Upon founding Sequoia Capital in 1972, Valentine chose a firm name that reflected longevity, and later handed over control to Leone and Mike Moritz without asking for any compensation. The idea, Leone later told me, was that the firm and its earnings belong to those who presently run it, not those who previously did.

Valentine is survived by his wife Rachel, three children and seven grandchildren.

  • The family asks that in lieu of flowers any donations go to the Donald T. Valentine Memorial Fund at Stanford University.
  • A memorial service is still being arranged.

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