Benchmark is an American venture capital firm responsible for the early stage funding of several successful startups. In 1997, the firm invested $6.7 million in eBay, which made it worth more than $5 billion by the spring of 1999. Other high-profile investments have included or currently include Instagram, Zillow, Zipcar, Zendesk, Yelp, Demandforce, and Proofpoint as well as Ariba, Juniper Networks, Red Hat, and Twitter. Benchmark is noted for creating the first equal ownership and compensation structure for its partners. The “maverick” firm differs from most VC firms, which are named for their founders and are structured hierarchically; Benchmark is “a lean operation in which its six full-time partners share profits equally.” The Menlo Park, California-based firm announced in May 2012 it would be expanding by opening an office with more than 10,000 square feet in San Francisco’s emerging tech corridor, the Mid-Market neighborhood.
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