Dana Olsen November 07, 2016
When Bloomberg asked famed venture capitalist Marc Andreessen why he supported Democrat Hillary Clinton over Republican Donald Trump in this year’s presidential election, he said, “Is that a serious question?”
That exchange took place in June, but Silicon Valley’s political landscape hasn’t changed much since. With the conspicuous exception of Peter Thiel, who’s donated more than $1 million to Donald Trump’s campaign, the tech world is overwhelmingly financially supportive of Hillary Clinton.
Here’s a breakdown of some of the notable tech figures who've made donations during this year's election cycle.
Peter Thiel: $1.25 million
Anyone who hadn’t heard the name before this year knows it by now. Thiel is a venture capitalist who launched Founders Fund after selling PayPal in 2002 and spending a handful of years dabbling in the hedge fund business; he’s also a Facebook board member and Y Combinator part-time partner. But since he made a million-dollar-plus donation to Trump in October, he’s best known as a controversial Republican donor.
Dustin Moskovitz and his wife, Cari Tuna: $35 million
The Facebook co-founder said he and his wife were compelled to donate because they felt a Trump presidency would hurt American citizens and immigrants. When they made a $20 million donation in early September, it was one of the biggest individual contributions in the 2016 election cycle—then they dropped another $15 million (about half of which is going towards nonpartisan get-out-the-vote efforts) in October.
John Doerr: ~$600,000
Longtime Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers partner John Doerr has backed Google, Amazon, Twitter… and Hillary Clinton. His big donation to Clinton isn’t his first foray into the political arena: Doerr is a member of President Obama’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.
Sheryl Sandberg: ~$200,000
Facebook COO and Lean In author Sheryl Sandberg would reportedly be considered for Treasury secretary if Clinton heads to the White House. Sandberg has said she’d opt to stay at Facebook, but that didn’t stop her from donating six figures to a fellow feminist icon.
Brook Byers: ~$100,000
Doerr isn’t the only KPCB partner to financially stand behind the Democratic nominee. Brook Byers, a founding member of the firm, apparently shares his partner’s political views. With a 40-year-plus VC career under his belt; Byers’ resume is already impressively long, but he can tack one more thing onto the end: Democratic donor.
Meg Whitman: ~$50,000
Meg Whitman is a Hewlett-Packard executive and longtime Republican who was a leading fundraiser for Mitt Romney in 2008 before she ran for governor of California on the GOP ticket in 2010. This year, she publicly pledged her support for the Democratic nominee and donated at least $50,000 to Clinton’s campaign.
Reed Hastings: ~$40,000
Netflix co-founder and CEO Reed Hastings also serves on the board of Facebook, as well as several nonprofit and educational organizations. Earlier this year, Hastings reportedly voiced a reason for his contribution, saying “Hillary Clinton is the strong leader we need, and it’s important that Trump lose by a landslide to reject what he stands for.”
Union Square Ventures: $16,200
In a first for Union Square Ventures, the VC firm formally endorsed a presidential candidate: Hillary Clinton. “In the next few years, we need to make the necessary smart policy adjustments to ensure that the benefits of technology and innovation are shared by society as a whole,” the firm said in a blog post endorsing Clinton.
Brian Chesky: $10,000
As the co-founder and CEO of Airbnb, Brian Chesky has amassed a 10-figure fortune. In June, he joined Warren Buffett and Bill Gates’ “The Giving Pledge,” a group of billionaires committed to giving away most of their wealth. His donations to Democrats this year have made a tiny dent in that promise.
*Donation figures were compiled through a combination of secondary and primary sources