Facebook's acquisition of WhatsApp tops the list of Sequoia Capital's largest M&A or IPO exits in the last five years. The firm has shown a striking ability to get into its homerun exits early.

Sequoia Capital – those guys are good.

There was just a single venture capital investor behind WhatsApp’s monster $19 billion acquisition by Facebook. And that firm as you’ve probably heard by now or seen on Twitter if you follow anyone in tech was Sequoia Capital.

Led by Jim Goetz, Sequoia first invested an $8M Series A into Mountain View-based WhatsApp in April 2011. And today, that extremely prescient bet has turned out to be one of the firm’s largest exits and the largest VC-backed M&A of all time.

Side note: From a capital efficiency standpoint, the exit did not top Emergence Capital Partners-backed Veeva Systems by ‘value creation.’ But in terms of Sequoia’s top recent exits by valuation at the time of exit, WhatsApp is a grand slam.

Of course, it should be noted that several of the firm’s IPO exits since 2009 i.e. Linkedin, FireEye have risen immensely in value since. And Sequoia may see several other homeruns in 2014 as the venture firm also holds stakes in 10 other private companies valued at $1B or more including Square, Jawbone and AirBnB.

The chart below highlights Sequoia Capital’s recent top 10 M&A or IPO exits (since 2009) and its ability to get into top exits early. It is one of the few Unicorn VCs we’d previously identified.


See all of Sequoia Capital’s exit and financing activity in the CB Insights Venture Capital Database. Sign up free below.