Online-marketing company said to tarnish Facebook investor's portfolio

Owen Thomas · 07/23/08 10:20AM

Cuddly David Sze of Greylock Partners is the star VC of Web 2.0, with investments in Digg and Facebook among his portfolio. But he has a skeleton in his investing closet, a tipster says: An online-marketing firm called SoftCoin. Valassis, the coupon-distribution giant responsible for those hated inserts in newspapers, scotched an acquisition deal at the last minute, a tipster tells us, prompting heavy layoffs at SoftCoin. Venture capitalists get antsy about holding onto companies for too long, since they need to wind up their funds and return the proceeds to investors over time. Sze invested in SoftCoin in 2002. If SoftCoin goes under, will Sze's sunny disposition take a blow? Unlikely; we fully expect Sze to continue talking up his board-observer seat at Facebook. The tip:

David Sze's unsubtle dinner companion

Owen Thomas · 06/20/08 01:35AM

Kara Swisher's camera briefly caught departing Yahoo executive Qi Lu Tuesday night smiling next to a laughing David Sze, the Greylock Partners venture capitalist who loves to talk up his seat as a board observer at Facebook. But she now admits she didn't recognize him at the time. What's the significance of Lu sitting down with Sze? Lu might be up for a job as an entrepreneur-in-residence at Greylock, or with one of Sze's portfolio companies. "I may do it again," Sze joked with Swisher, about hiring Lu's colleague as an entrepreneur-in-residence. Was that why Lu was smiling?

Jeff Weiner's new bosses laugh about his funny name

Nicholas Carlson · 06/19/08 12:20PM

Want to know how seriously venture capitalists take their entrepreneurs-in-residence, those CEO-wannabes they toss a paycheck at to keep them off the streets? Ask James Slavet and David Sze of Greylock Partners. In this clip, they get a good giggle with BoomTown's Kara Swisher over new hire Jeff Weiner's funny name. (Confused? Pronounced weener, "Weiner" is a homonym for the schoolyard word for penis.) Swisher: "This is the pair that sucked Weiner away from Yahoo. Not that it was hard." Sze: "Hah! It was enjoyable! I may do it again!"

How Jeff Weiner botched the top job at Facebook

Owen Thomas · 06/18/08 03:00PM

Yahoos are still buzzing about Jeff Weiner's departure for the world of venture capital. Before he left, many of his coworkers thought he was a shoo-in for a CEO gig at Facebook. Now that he's an entrepreneur-in-residence jointly at Accel Partners and Greylock Partners — both investors in Facebook — the conspiracy theorists have changed their patter: Weiner's just in a holding pen until Accel and Greylock can boot founder Mark Zuckerberg, install Weiner as CEO, and take the company public. "Zuck is definitely out ... it's just a matter of time. It's clear as day," one tipster writes. Clear as mud, rather. It makes sense that Yahoos, bitter at Facebook's success and eager to have one of their own deliver a comeuppance to Zuckerberg, would be circulating this rumor. But here's what they don't know about Jeff Weiner and Mark Zuckerberg.

LinkedIn needs to sex up its pitch if they want a Facebook-sized valuation

Jackson West · 06/18/08 09:00AM

LinkedIn's $1 billion valuation certainly seems low only when compared to the stratospheric $15 billion Facebook is worth on paper. One reason why is because, frankly, college kids are sexy — as the VCs in the announcement infomercial prove irrefutably, business professional who use LinkedIn are not. So if you're going to announce a new round of venture capital with a video on YouTube, why not make it a music video? The kids love music videos. Hence, Valleywag presents "The Upside" featuring Jeffrey "Sand Hizzy" Glass, David "D-Cup" Sze, David "Dollar Billz" Cowan and Mark "Make Money" Kvamme over beats from EPMD. Recognize.

T is for Twitter, which turned blogging small

Owen Thomas · 05/15/08 09:20AM

Twitter, the 140-characters at a time blogging service, was shaped by its founder's dry, understated sense of humor. The company, not to mention the service, seems to be a sort of Silicon Valley inside joke that, improbably, Ev Williams and his fellow Twitterers have managed to play on the rest of the world. For this, Sarah Lacy labels Williams a "nontrepreneur." Fittingly, Sarah Lacy gave his microcompany got a mere four pages in her new book, Once You're Lucky, Twice You're Good:

The moneymen at The Lobby

Megan McCarthy · 10/25/07 05:33PM

The venture capitalists spotted at this week's Lobby conference in Hawaii are not, we've noted, the Sand Hill Road dwellers who inflated bubbles past or present. No sign of anyone from Sequoia or Kleiner Perkins. So who is enjoying the tropical sun? Well, conference host and August Capital partner David Hornik, of course. Also photographed on the scene: Greylock's David Sze, SoftTech's Jeff Clavier, Foundation Capital's Mike Brown, Panorama Capital's Mike Jung, and Bay Partner's Eric Chin. Hats off to First Round Capital's Josh Kopelman, who is using his entrepreneurial skills to cash in during the scavenger hunt. (Photo by: bradley23)

Sergey, Facebook investor up to ... what?

Owen Thomas · 10/18/07 11:41PM

THE PALACE HOTEL, SAN FRANCISCO — Thursday evening, Google cofounder Sergey Brin strode down the main hallway of this historic hotel. Pacing him step for step was Google executive Megan Smith, part of the team negotiating a fraught deal with Facebook. A Valleywag spy camera caught the pair heading into Maxfield's for dinner with an associate from Greylock closely involved in the firm's investment in Facebook. The meeting was hastily arranged only hours after Brin participated in Google's quarterly earnings call, with Brin rushing up to San Francisco. Why the hurry?

A guide to Palo Alto hotspots

Megan McCarthy · 07/19/07 02:38AM

I found myself at home in Palo Alto the other day, involuntarily offline thanks to a wonky broadband connection. So I headed to Coupa Cafe to get caffeine and log onto its Wi-Fi hotspot. And, just maybe, overhear an entrepreneur and venture capitalist doing the Sand Hill Road mating dance. Greylock's David Sze likes to hold meetings there, as does LinkedIn founder and angel investor Reid Hoffman. But it's gotten so popular and so packed, that I wasn't able to find an empty outlet — let alone a seat. What to do?