Walking through the crisp offices of Accel Partners, it would be easy to confuse Managing Partner Jim Breyer with a college intern. The 41-year-old seems to have inherited the Dick Clark gene, but the boyish-looking venture capitalist has compiled a track record that is nothing short of astonishing: He’s created about $1 billion in wealth (according to a source close to the firm) through 25-plus exits, including such notable IPOs as Foundry Networks, MacroMedia and Synopsis. That may explain why some of his younger peers refer to him as one of the “old guard.”
As part of our 2003 predictions coverage, we were looking for a single venture capitalist who could present a well-rounded perspective. Breyer was an obvious choice. He’s been a venture capitalist for the past 15 years, he has visibility into overseas venture capital through Accel’s European fund, he has perspective on the buyout market through Accel’s partnership with KKR, and he has sat on the board of Wal-Mart Stores since 2001, which gives him a window into the public markets. Plus, he has personally dealt with hot-button issues, like cutting fund size.
We met at Accel’s glass-walled offices, four stories above University Ave., a pretty, tree-lined street that runs through the downtown of upscale Palo Alto, Calif. The conversation lasted long after my Mocha coffee drink went cold, and Breyer had to get a second bottle of Calistoga for the second half. By the time we finished, the scenic view to our left had changed from wispy treetops to twinkling lights set against the winter darkness.
Subscribers can read the transcript of VCj’s sitdown with Jim Breyer in the