Meet the 7 VC investors getting rich off of this year’s parade of 'unicorn' IPOs (LYFT, BYND, ZM)


alfred lin sequoia

  • On Monday, The We Company confidentially filed to go public and Uber kicked off its investor roadshow ahead of its public market debut. Both companies were “unicorns,” privately valued above $1 billion.
  • 2019 has already been a blockbuster year for unicorn IPOs with notable exits from rideshare company Lyft and video conferencing startup Zoom.
  • Several companies currently eyeing a public offering stayed private longer than other companies in the past, netting massive returns for investors that took early stakes at lower valuations.
  • Partners at Andreessen Horowitz, Sequoia Capital, Benchmark Capital, FirstMark, and Accel stand to make millions off of their early bets on some of this year’s biggest public debuts.
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2019 is set to make a lot of people very, very rich.

Lyft, PagerDuty, Zoom and Pinterest have all had IPOs since January. On Monday, WeWork parent The We Company confidentially filed to go public and Uber kicked off its investor roadshow ahead of its public offering expected in May.

For Silicon Valley’s venture capital firms, these IPOs are the culmination of early bets made years ago when these billion-dollar tech companies were just tiny startups with a promising idea. 

As companies stay private longer and late-stage investments balloon, it’s no secret that making the right bet early on is key. Here are just some of the venture capitalists poised to make a killing off this year’s IPO parade.

Read More: This VC is working with Stanford on a new $30 million AI fund. Here’s why he’s explicitly not looking for college dropouts like Mark Zuckerberg.

SEE ALSO: Uber is telling the world it’s just like Amazon: Here’s why the similarities are only skin-deep

Rick Heitzmann, FirstMark

Investments:   Pinterest, Airbnb

Rick Heitzman knew early on that Pinterest would be a smash hit, and invested in every round since leading a $600,000 Angel round in 2009. The company had a market cap around $15 billion as of Friday, and was Heitzmann’s second exit and first public exit, according to Crunchbase.

As founder and partner of FirstMark, Heitzman also took early stakes in Airbnb, Draft Kings, and Riot Games. Although Hieztmann got to Airbnb much later as its Series E lead, he stands to make a substantial profit if the $31 billion company goes public. Airbnb has said that it is prepared to go public in 2019 or late 2020 at the latest.

Alfred Lin, Sequoia Capital

Investments:  Uber, Airbnb

Alfred Lin will see a big payday when Uber officially goes public, rumored to be mid-May. Lin led Sequoia’s 2011 investment in Uber’s $11 million Series A funding round with a pre-money valuation of $49 million, according to Crunchbase. Uber’s most recent IPO prospectus puts a price range of $44 and $50 a share, which would value the company at $90 billion.

Lin also placed Sequoia’s bet on Airbnb, leading its $600,000 Seed Round in 2009, according to Crunchbase. The company’s most recent funding round valued it around $31 billion and is one of the most highly anticipated potential IPOs of 2019.

Andrew Braccia, Accel

Investments:  Slack

One of the biggest winners in Slack’s direct listing is Accel’s Andrew Braccia. The firm has a 24% stake in the company after leading its Seed, Series A, and Series B rounds. At its target direct listing price, Braccia and Accel stand to make nearly $3.4 billion from its 120 million shares.

Slack has raised $1.22 billion in venture capital during its life as a private company. It was most recently valued at $7.1 billion after its latest financing round in August.

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