Benchmark is an American venture capital firm with a high-profile portfolio. Numerous major and highly successful startups have enjoyed early-stage funding from Benchmark, including Uber, Dropbox, Twitter, Instagram, Quora, Discord and Snapchat.
Benchmark is known for its cash injection into eBay in 1997, which increased the company’s worth to over US$5 billion in only two years.
Overview of Benchmark
Launched in 1995, Benchmark created the first profit-sharing structure that provides equal ownership and compensation for all partners, regardless of whether they are junior or senior. There is also no single person occupying an autonomous leadership role such as CEO, president or MD. Benchmark operates with six full-time partners, who share all profits and benefits equally. The founders of Benchmark are Bob Kagle, who is a marketing expert, Andy Rachleff, a network and telecommunication specialist, Bruce Dunlevie, a venture capital specialist, and Kevin Harvey who is an experienced database software investor.
Benchmark has offices in Menlo Park, California and San Francisco, California. The company makes substantial investments locally and overseas, particularly in Europe and France.
Technology company funding deals have been booming in France since 2012. By 2016 the country achieved a massive US$1.5 billion in funding to technology companies. In the same year, the French startup Zenly raised over US$22.5 million in a single season from a group of investors, with Benchmark as lead investor.
What made this deal especially interesting was that Benchmark made the investment directly into Zenly. The funding raised by Benchmark for Zenly was widely publicized in tech media, but what is not well known throughout the industry is that this was not the first major investment Benchmark made in Europe during 2016. Before backing Zenly, Benchmark had already invested US$13 million in the Berlin-based Contentful, and US$40 million into Citymapper in London.
Media coverage reports that after the backing of Zenly was received, the French company hired additional employees to raise the staff complement to 35, and began plans to open offices in San Francisco.