A group of 40 investors, executives, and entrepreneurs gathered at the Carneros Inn resort in Napa Valley, Calif., in June for a two-day conference on initial public offerings. LinkedIn Chief Executive Officer Jeff Weiner, Workday Co-CEO Aneel Bhusri, and EBay CEO John Donahoe spoke. Ousted Groupon CEO Andrew Mason said his online couponer went public too early. Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer recounted her first encounters with Wall Street, according to several participants who attended the off-the-record meeting.
The conference was hosted by Greylock Partners, a venture capital firm that once would have been unknown to many in the Silicon Valley elite. Founded in Cambridge, Mass., Greylock opened its first Valley office in 1999, after missing the first dot-com boom, and it did little in its early years on the West Coast to distinguish itself. Yet in the past five years, as most venture firms have performed poorly, Greylock’s bets have yielded some of the best results in VC history. It invested early in LinkedIn, Facebook, Pandora Media, business-management software company Workday, and firewall maker Palo Alto Networks. Partners, including David Sze and LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, are now spoken of in the same breath as legendary investors John Doerr of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Michael Moritz of Sequoia Capital.