The title here is a bit misleading: yes, DST invested in Facebook in May 2009 at a relatively low, $10 billion valuation. But they were still after the 2007 investments by Li Ka-shing and Microsoft, as well as the Series A and B rounds in 2005 and 2006. And then there was “Facebook investor” Elevation Partners, who invested in Facebook with the break-even money from the Palm-HP sale.
Don’t get me wrong: large growth equity investments are useful, especially in a post-Sarbanes Oxley world. But they aren’t nearly as exciting (read: risky) as seed-stage investing. What Bloomberg and the rest of the mainstream tech media should be defining Milner for is his mini-disruption of seed-stage investing.
Milner’s Start Fund—the $150,000 convertible loan program offered to all Y Combinator startups—is incredibly savvy, and, given the 60+ company YC classes these days, might end up with him having an angel round equity stake in the next Facebook (or, at least, the next Dropbox or Airbnb). Not to mention the YC companies seem to be unilaterally on board.
Recommended reading on DST’s boss, Yuri Milner:
- How Russian Tycoon Yuri Milner Bought His Way Into Silicon Valley (Wired, November 2011)
- The Billionaire Who Friended the Web (Forbes, March 2011)
- Y Combinator’s Paul Graham On The $150K Per Start-Up Offer (WSJ, February 2011)
- YC partner Harjeet Taggar’s response to the question: “Will the Yuri Milner / SV Angel funding offer to all Y Combinator startups result in adverse selection?" (Quora, January 2011)