Venture capitalists don’t usually become widely known celebrities, although a few do achieve the status of celebrity. Others start out as celebrities and become known for their astute investing in various sectors. Ashton Kutcher comes to mind. Still others, such as Warren Buffett, are the stuff of legend for investment prowess and down home wisdom. Angel investors and venture capitalists come from all over and have fascinating and varied backgrounds. Here is a look at some of the all-time top investors.
Marc Andreessen has one of the highest profiles among angel investors. Andreessen was one of the founders of Netscape Communications, which introduce the browser that made the Internet accessible to regular people who were not technologists. He is a founding partner in Andreessen Horowitz, one of the most prolific and widely respected Silicon Valley investment firms. Andreessen Horowitz’s investments include Airbnb, Asana, Box, Bump, Coho Data, Digital Ocean, Facebook, Fusion IO, Groupon, Jawbone, Oculus, Pindrop, Pinterest, Platfora, Rockmelt, Shapeways, Skype and a host of other prominent technology firms.
Peter Thiel is the cofounder of PayPal and an early investor in Facebook, so he knows his way around technology. Born in 1967 in Frankfurt, Germany, he was raised in California. Thiel attended Stanford University and Stanford Law School. His current net worth is over $2.2 billion.
Perhaps the most telling anecdote about Thiel is that he handed unknown and unproven Mark Zuckerberg $500,000 to fund Facebook because he believed in Zuckerberg. He also runs a “20 under 20” project to encourage promising young people to start a company.
Fred Wilson is a managing partner at Union Square Ventures, which he started in 2004. The fund has holdings in Disqus, Canvas, HeyZap, Zynga and Twitter, among others, and he is on the board of Etsy. While he’s not against investing in technology or social media, his criteria include bot a large network and engaged users. He also checks out a company’s social media presence before committing.
Naval Ravikant is the founder of AngelList, a social media site whose mission is to connect startups with investors and investors with each other. The site makes money by taking a carry on all profits from the syndicate. He is the managing partner at Hit Forge and a well-known investor.
Ravikant’s investments include Twitter, FourSquare, Docverse, Mixer labs, Jambbol, SnapLogic, PlanCast, Stack Overflow, Heyzap and Disqus.
Chris Sacca is the founding and managing director of Lowercase Capital. His top angel investments range from Heroku, Facebook, Twitter, Kickstarter, Optimizely, Twilio and Uber. He also has a phenomenal reputation as being an advisor and mentor for many startups across the country.
Chris graduate from Georgetown University Law Center, and worked at Speedera Networks and Google before getting into major angel investments.
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