SA connection in Yahoo, Tumblr deal

Pretoria-born Roelof Botha was involved in the funding of the social networking site that Yahoo bought this week for $1,1bn. By Duncan McLeod.

Roelof Botha

Roelof Botha

Roelof Botha, the grandson of former South African foreign affairs minister Pik Botha, was closely involved in the funding of social networking site Tumblr, which Yahoo this week agreed to buy for US$1,1bn.

Pretoria-born Botha, who served on Tumblr’s board of directors, was also a key role player in the $1,5bn, 2002 sale of e-commerce company PayPal, where he was chief financial officer.

As a partner of venture capital firm Sequoia Capital, which has provided funding over the years for household names such as Cisco, Oracle, Electronic Arts, Apple, Yahoo and Nvidia, Botha was also involved in the $1,6bn sale in 2006 of video platform YouTube to Google.

YouTube was founded by three of his former PayPal colleagues, Chad Hurley, Steven Chen and Jawed Karim.

Sequoia Capital was also a big shareholder in the New York-based Tumblr, and was involved in providing $30m of funding in 2010 that valued the start-up at about $140m. A year later, its valuation had shot up to $800m.

On Monday, Botha tweeted his congratulations to Tumblr founder David Karp, saying he was the inspiration for this blog post following their first meeting.

Botha, an avid supporter of the Blue Bulls rugby team, who grew up in Hout Bay and who matriculated with straight As, relocated to Silicon Valley in 1998, where he enrolled for an MBA at Stanford University. Before he’d graduated, he’d been appointed as PayPal’s director of corporate development, he told the Financial Mail in a 2007 interview.

As chief financial officer, he oversaw PayPal’s Nasdaq listing in 2002. He was 28 at the time. eBay bought the company five months later.

He joined Sequoia Capital in January 2003.  — (c) 2013 NewsCentral Media

Share this article

  • Tshepo Lopes Molope

    Well Done. Proud to be SA rite now.



  • Inqolobane Yesizwe

    I doubt he cares. But we are so self absorbed that we will latch on to anything just to feel ‘Proudly South African’ and that somehow we matter. In truth, we do not matter.

  • fyad

    lmao what

    this need to find some south african relevance in any major event smacks of desperation

    3 people die in boston, and 264 are injured, but he local press cares about OMG SOUTH AFRICANS WERE THERE!!!!

    now tumblr gets bought and some guy who’s not lived in south africa or worked for a local company OR BRINGING BUSINESS TO THE COUNTRY gets brought up because of his nationality

    talk about a tenuous link, it’s pathetic.

    south africans: always trying to be the token guy at a party that’s not even about them.

  • Joe Black

    Cool stuff, but Hout Bay + Blue Bull? Come one man! Aaaai man!

  • Hilton Gibson
  • Cheryl Breytenbach

    In my humble opinion, not self absorbed. Proud of the achievements of fellow South Africans who are putting SA on the map in a positive and inspirational way.

  • Cheryl Breytenbach

    ?Desperation. I do not think so. Have you never experienced the feeling of pride when someone in your school, group of friends or family achieved something worth mentioning. Don’t you feel that burst of pride to be able to say, he was in my school, that is one of my buddies, that’s my brother/sister/aunt/uncle. It is in my nature, to be proud o,f and to feel joy and happiness for anyone that I am affiliated with, – even if it is by country of birth, roots – .
    And yes, people will say “South Africans were there” because those South Africans have friends and family back home. So yes, it is logical that the press would mention that South Africans were there.
    I am no “token guy” at a party that’s not about me. I am throwing my own party of joy, pride and hope for the many South Africans that have attained success in countries all over the world. I say” way to go” to all the South Africans that have made a name for themselves.

  • Cheryl Breytenbach

    He was born in Pretoria and chose to remain loyal to the Bulls, the Team of his City of Birth. I was raised in Natal, and now live in PTA, but I have chosen to remain a proud Shark’s fan. Nothing Aaaai man about that for me.

  • Joe Black

    When in Rome…

    lol I’m really just teasing.

  • Archie Makuwa

    I wonder who is the fool who went -1 on you two… I will +1

  • Archie Makuwa



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