Meet the world’s best venture capitalists including this South African

 ·19 Apr 2017
Roelof Botha

Forbes has published its 16th annual Midas List, featuring the top 100 venture capitalists from around the world.

The list is based on qualifying deals with at least a $200 million exit (IPOs or mergers & acquisitions) or rounds that value a company above $400 million in the last five years.

James Goetz of Sequoia Capital remains on top of the list for a fifth straight year, thanks to his investment in WhatsApp Messenger – bought by Facebook in 2014 for $22 billion and used by more than 1.2 billion people.

The Sequoia veteran turned his $60 million combined bet on WhatsApp into $3 billion when Facebook acquired the company, according to Forbes.

In January 2017 however, Goetz announced he was stepping back from his role to “pay it forward” to a new generation. His shoes have been filled by South African native Roelof Botha, who is 34th on the 2017 list.

“As the former CFO of PayPal, he still has a soft spot for payments companies,” Forbes said. “Botha steered Sequoia’s investment in public mobile payments firm Square, where he’s still on the board, and helped orchestrate the sale of Xoom (IPO 2013) to PayPal for $890 million.”

Botha became chief financial officer at PayPal while earning his M.B.A. at Stanford University. He negotiated PayPal’s sale to eBay for $1.5 billion and then jumped ship to Sequoia Capital.

It noted that the South African’s portfolio also ranges from database companies like MongoDB to the genetic testing company Natera, which went public in 2015.

Botha was also an early backer of YouTube, which Google acquired for $1.65 billion.

According to Forbes, Botha’s most notable deal at Sequoia, is Square Inc, the listed mobile payment company headed up by co-founder and CEO of Twitter, Jack Dorsey.

Read: These are the richest billionaires in South Africa in 2017

Still under his watch are billion-dollar private ticketing site, Eventbrite, troubled wearables firm Jawbone and Unity, a leading virtual reality platform.

Botha has said he ended up at PayPal in part by chance. He came to the US in 1998, right after an emerging markets currency crisis that caused him to lose 40% of his savings overnight. In need of a job, he joined PayPal.

According to Forbes, the 2017 Midas List contains 20 billionaires.

Top 10 venture capitalists

# Name Company Notable Deal
1 Jim Goetz Sequoia Capital WhatsApp
2 Chris Sacca Lowercase Capital Uber
3 Peter Fenton Benchmark Docker
4 Steve Anderson Baseline Ventures Instagram
5 Brian Singerman Founders Fund Stemcentrx
6 Mary Meeker KPCB Airbnb
7 Bill Gurley Benchmark Uber
8 Carl Gordon Orbimed Advisors Acerta
9 Douglas Leone Sequoia Capital ServiceNow
10 Jim Breyer Breyer Capital Facebook


Read: South African among the top venture capitalists in the world

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