Sequoia remains ‘closely tied and integrated into the Israeli ecosystem’, says partner Carl Eschenbach
The partner at the massive U.S. venture capital firm, who serves on the boards of Israeli companies of the likes of Gong, Armis, and Salt Security, will be speaking at next month’s Mind The Tech New York conference
Carl Eschenbach is a partner at Sequoia Capital investing in Series B companies and beyond. He's invested in the likes of Palo Alto Networks, Zoom, and Snowflake in the past, and also has a tight connection with Israeli companies having led Sequoia's investments, and serving on the board, of the likes of Gong, Armis, and Salt Security.
Calcalist caught up with Eschenbach ahead of his participation in Calcalist's Mind The Tech New York conference to be held in The Big Apple between November 15-17, getting his thoughts on the surge in valuations of tech companies, the difficulty in recruiting quality employees, and Sequoia's future plans in Israel.
Carl Eschenbach, partner at Sequoia Capital. Photo: AP
"I think as we've seen in the past, and we see today and we'll see in the future, technology is transforming the world that we live in," said Eschenbach. "And I think the world of startups and the amount of entrepreneurs and founders that we've seen over the last couple of years is something that will continue going forward. And I actually think that what's happened with the pandemic is that people have realized they can be anywhere, start great companies, and this has accelerated the growth in startups and entrepreneurs around the world. And I think there is plenty of capital to fund them and support them. So while there may be some companies that don't come out the other side, I think that there will be plenty of companies who will continue to drive outsize returns for their shareholders and employees because they have just great technology that is being so impactful for their customers."
Eschenbach said he would not comment on the surging valuation of tech companies, but did touch on Sequoia's investment in Wiz, which recently raised $250 million at a $6 billion valuation, less than two years since it was founded and six months after raising at a valuation of $1.7 billion. "We're super excited to be part of the company and on the board and be an early investor. You know, our mantra here at Sequoia is always to try to invest from idea to IPO and beyond. And that is the case here," he said. "As far as evaluation goes, great companies probably always get valued slightly ahead, but I have no doubt that they will grow into the past evaluation, regardless of what it is in any given round."
Sequoia folded its Israeli subsidiary back into its U.S. operations in 2016, but Eschenbach said it remains committed to the local ecosystem. "It is important to know we are active in the Israeli ecosystem. While we don't have funds there anymore, two of our partners who helped run those funds actually started their own funds and our partners with us, for example, in both Wiz and Salt. So we are very closely tied and integrated into the Israeli ecosystem, despite us not having an Israeli fund anymore," he explained.
The shortage in tech talent is a global problem, one that Eschenbach believes is reaching record levels. "The talent wars are happening at all levels, by the largest companies in the world. Both technology companies and more traditional legacy companies are fighting for talent. The large technology companies want the best talent, and they can typically pay to get it. Legacy companies have to fight to try to get the best talent, to do their digital transformation, to become a tech-enabled enterprise. And then you have the startup world and community that is really rapidly growing, and they're always fighting to get the best talent in their companies. So at every level, we are seeing a war for talent. Getting into a young company with a bright founder which is disrupting a market that has lagged in innovation is super exciting. And while, sometimes it may seem like it's risky, if you get it right with the right company, the upside reward is quite rewarding."