Venture capital legend Laurance Rockefeller lost his battle with pulmonary fibrosis, passing away in his Manhattan home July 11. He was 94.
Known as Mr. Laurance-to distinguish him from his four brothers-Rockefeller began his financial career on Wall Street in the 1930s. His first major venture bet was in support of Eddie Rickenbacker, a WWI pilot who was struggling to establish Eastern Airlines as a viable business. Decades later, Rockefeller launched Venrock Associates, which would invest in such companies as Apple Computer and Intel. Venrock remains in operation today, although it no longer is solely funded by the Rockefeller family.
Rockefeller also was known for his philanthropy. He is estimated to have donated some $500 million to his alma matter, Princeton University, as well as the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and other charities.
Laurance Rockefeller was the grandson of Standard Oil founder John Rockefeller and brother of former Vice President Nelson Rockefeller. He is survived by brother David, four children, eight grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.