The Top 25 Power Brokers
August 25, 1997
We can all name some of the most powerful people in Silicon Valley--Intel's Andy Grove, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, and Sun Microsystems' Scott McNealy. But who are the kingmakers behind the throne? Who keeps the cogs well-oiled with the essentials: the dealmaking, the rich flow of capital, and the connections to nurture the next Netscape? Here's a look at the top 25 behind-the-scenes power brokers. For more on up-and-comers, see www.businessweek.com
JOHN ARRILLAGA, 60
As dealmaker for one of the area's top landowners, the secretive developer calls the shots when it comes to doling out precious office space. Normally, he only provides facilities to companies that can pay cash. But if Arrillaga senses a winner, as he did when Sun Microsystems and Quantum were startups, he gives lenient terms--and then collects rents as they grow.
DAVID L. BEIRNE, 33
Chairman, Ramsey/Beirne Associates
Partner, Benchmark Capital
This tireless, 6-ft. 7-in. headhunter gets the first crack at many high-profile CEO searches. Now he'll search for talent to run Benchmark-funded firms.
DANIEL H. CASE III, 40
President and CEO, Hambrecht & Quist
Since Case took the helm of H&Q in 1994, the former Rhodes Scholar has presided over a frenzied period of growth for the San Francisco investment- banking boutique. H&Q has co-managed a series of high-profile initial public stock offerings, including Netscape and Amazon.com. And now it's beefing up after raising $64 million in its own IPO. Still, as the only remaining independent San Francisco-based investment bank, H&Q must grapple with constant takeover rumors.
JOHN C. DEAN, 49
CEO, Silicon Valley Bank
Once they have a check from a venture capitalist, many entrepreneurs proceed directly to Silicon Valley Bank to open a bank account and help in setting up an accounting system. That puts Dean, who came to the Valley five years ago, at the center of the startup action.
JOHN DOERR, 46
Partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers
Dubbed the ''human hummingbird'' for his flitting among industry moguls, Doerr is perhaps the biggest power broker in Silicon Valley. He has financed such highfliers as Sun Microsystems, Netscape, and Compaq, and hobnobs with Clinton.
CHARLES FEDERMAN, 40
Chairman, Broadview Associates
Federman's Broadview had a hand in over 20 tech acquisitions worth some $2 billion last year, making it one of Silicon Valley's top mergers-and-acquisitions firms. He handles big deals, such as Hewlett-Packard's buyout of VeriFone, but specializes in small-fry takeover candidates.
JOHN C. FRY, 40
President, Fry's Electronics Inc.
Son of a grocery magnate, this publicity-shy retailer who controls the most precious shelf space in Silicon Valley. Selling everything from computer chips to potato chips, Fry's is where engineers get the gear to build prototypes--and companies find out if their latest wares have a chance of hitting it big. Sales should hit $1.2 billion in 1997.
J. WILLIAM GURLEY, 31
Partner, Hummer Winblad
Two weeks after joining Credit Suisse First Boston as a cub stock analyst in 1993, Gurley talked his way onto the hot PC beat--and got a reputation for incisive analysis of Dell Computer, Apple, and others. As Internet guru for Deutsche Morgan Grenfell in 1996, his analysis once triggered a $10 drop in Netscape shares. Now, he'll do the investing as a venture capitalist.
SUSAN W. HAMMER, 58
Mayor of San Jose
If there's any threat to Silicon Valley's tech domination, it's the increasing cost of office space. But Hammer is working on the problem. An unabashed industry backer who has been in office since 1991, she has simplified the building-permit process and cut deals to bring giants such as Adobe and Netcom to San Jose. One of her tricks for developing business ties: monthly one-on-one breakfasts with top tech execs. She also is extending the light-rail system to ease traffic and make the Valley more livable.
JOHN L. HENNESSY, 44
Dean, Stanford's School of Engineering
He helps set the Valley's research agenda by recruiting Stanford's electrical engineering and computer science faculty. No ivory-tower academic, he took a sabbatical in 1984 to commercialize his leading-edge research in RISC chips. That led to the creation of MIPS Computer.
CRAIG W. JOHNSON, 50
Chairman, Venture Law Group
The former No.2 at premier law firm Wilson Sonsini, he founded VLG in 1993 to cater to entrepreneurs--who typically trade a small equity stake in exchange for legal advice and business smarts from VLG's 60 lawyers. Clients include Yahoo!, WebTV, and others that appreciate Johnson's real-world approach: besides a no-tie dress code, VLG's lawyers don't indulge in legalese.
C. RICHARD KRAMLICH, 62
Managing Partner, New Enterprise Associates
Kramlich has been a fixture of the Valley scene for more than 25 years. His venture-capital firm, having invested in such biggies as Ascend Communications, Bay Networks, and 3Com, has one of the top records for companies going public--about one a month for the past 6 1/2 years. NEA's success has enabled Kramlich to become one of the country's leading collectors of multimedia art.
DAVID F. MARQUARDT, 48
Partner, August Capital
A Microsoft board member, he's Bill Gates's most visible representative in the Valley. That and his astute investment record--he helped finance Sun Microsystems and Compaq Computer--have made him a sought-after venture capitalist with his $100 million fund.
REGIS MCKENNA, 57
Chairman, McKenna Group
The legendary image maker behind Apple Computer and Intel, McKenna is the granddaddy of high-tech marketing. Now, when he's not penning books or advising tech companies, he sits on a half-dozen boards. He's also hosted the Clintons at his home.
ROGER MCNAMEE, 41
Partner, Integral Capital Partners
He made his name as a manager of T. Rowe Price Science & Technology Fund and now runs a Kleiner Perkins spin-off, investing in public and private companies. The No. 1 industry networker, he chats up CEOs and engineers alike, making him a sharp tech investor.
BECKY MORGAN, 58
President and CEO, Joint Venture: Silicon Valley Network
As head of this partnership of 200 Valley businesses and 25 local governments, the former California state senator spearheads such efforts as streamlining government paperwork and getting local schools Internet access. Her husband, James C. Morgan, is the CEO of chip equipment maker Applied Materials, making them a true Silicon Valley power couple.
FRANK QUATTRONE, 41
CEO, Deutsche Morgan Grenfell Technology Group
Quattrone made Morgan Stanley one of tech's top investment banks by taking companies like Netscape public. Now he's out to do the same at DMG, Deutsche Bank's 16-month-old tech group. He has already raised $54 million with the IPO of online bookseller Amazon.com.
SANFORD ROBERTSON, 66
Chairman, Robertson, Stephens
A Valley elder statesman, Robertson recently fetched $540 million from BankAmerica for his tech investment bank. Not bad, but then he backed such hits as Steve Jobs's Pixar Animation Studios and online broker E*Trade. He also moves in Clinton circles.
MASAYOSHI SON, 39
CEO, Softbank Corp.
Worth about $3.5 billion, Korean-born Son, who lives in Japan, is enroute to creating a multimedia conglomerate for the Internet Age. The top publisher of computer-related magazines, such as PC Week, he also controls the huge Comdex industry trade show and has investments worth $350 million in some 50 Net startups, including Valley-ites Yahoo! and USWeb.
LARRY W. SONSINI, 45
Partner, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati
The most sought-after lawyer in Silicon Valley for more than a decade, he's a top adviser to the likes of Apple, Sun, and Netscape. His firm churned out 126 stock offerings last year--triple that of its closest local rival. Yet the mild-mannered Sonsini manages to teach at UC-Berkeley and lecture at Stanford.
JOHN T. THOMPSON, 49
Vice-chairman, Heidrick & Struggles
Top dog in Silicon Valley for high tech's key headhunting firm, he is the one that troubled companies call to find that executive savior. He zeroed in on Raymond J. Lane to be Oracle's president and Brian L. Halla for National Semiconductor. Thompson's latest job may be the toughest: finding a replacement for Gilbert F. Amelio, who was ousted as CEO of Apple Computer in early July.
DONALD VALENTINE, 65
General partner, Sequoia Capital
He's known for being the matchmaker between Steven Jobs and A.C. ''Mike'' Markkula, who helped bankroll Apple. But Valentine has had many major-league hits--Cisco and Yahoo! He is slowly handing Sequoia's reins over to younger partners but is still respected for his hard-nosed investment philosophy, which is rare in this hype-heavy industry.
LESLIE L. VADASZ, 60
Director of business development and government relations, Intel Corp.
Intel's No.3 employee and a member of the board, Vadasz wields behind-the-scenes power as manager of the company's $500 million investment war chest. With equity stakes in some 100 companies, including CyberCash and CNET, Intel is in the same league as the Valley's top venture funds. He also hobnobs with DC policy types for Intel.
JOHN E. WARNOCK, 56
CEO and Chairman, Adobe Systems
Adobe's chief is at the vanguard of a new trend: corporate venture investing. He created Adobe Ventures in 1993, an $80 million fund with stakes in Siebel Systems and Web ''zine'' Salon Internet. This gives Warnock, who sees 50 deals a week, a peek at new technologies.
ANN WINBLAD, 46
Partner, Hummer Winblad Venture Partners
One of the few venture capitalists to invest only in software, she spotted winners Powersoft, Arbor Software, and Wind River Systems. Her technique: mega-networking. She's at industry events some four nights a week and often vacations a week each year with pal Bill Gates.
Copyright 1997, by The McGraw-Hill Companies Inc. All rights reserved.