While Sequoia Capital led the first investment in LinkedIn in 2003 and is backing startup hotshots Square and
Dropbox, the firm has missed out on four of the biggies of the social Internet: Facebook, Twitter, Groupon, and Zynga.
Those companies get most of the ink and pixels, but Sequoia is going strong with enterprise companies, and for that Doug Leone, who's been with the firm since 1988, deserves a nod in 2011. Sequoia-backed Jive Software just had a successful IPO; up next could be ServiceNow, a 7-year-old cloud business that's disrupting the $14 billion IT operations market. It has 500 employees, a reported $130 million in revenue, and recently brought on the much-respected Frank Slootman as CEO.
Leone, who serves on ServiceNow's board, told me that the company has so far rebuffed investment bankers eager to take the company public and has intentionally kept a low profile. "Now it's time to make noise," he said. "It's going to be a very large company." OK, Leone. We'll be listening.