Quick facts

Family: Divorced around 2004, 3 children

Age: 50

Residence: Woodside, CA

Breyer is a prominent Silicon Valley venture capitalist.

Wealth

Breyer made his first appearance on the Forbes 400 list of wealthiest Americans in 2011. With an estimated net worth of $1.1 billion, there are only 374 people richer than him in the US.[1] Breyer also came in first on Forbes’ “Midas List” of top tech investors in 2011. Breyer’s venture capital firm, Accel Partners, manages billions in investments, and Breyer himself was an initial investor in Facebook. He holds 11.7 million shares of Facebook stock, which could be worth about $300 million.[2] He is also a minority owner of the Boston Celtics.[3] Just this past January, Breyer rubbed elbows with fellow “power players” at the World Economic Forum in Davos,[4] where Accel Partners hosted an exclusive cocktail party featuring rare vintage California wines from 1902 to 1962.[5]

Educational and professional background

Education

Breyer holds an M.B.A. from Harvard University and a B.S. from Stanford University

Professional life

Breyer is a general partner at Accel Management Co, Inc. According to an April 2011 Forbes article, Accel currently manages $6 billion worldwide and has partners in Palo Alto, Beijing, India, and London.[6] The firm opened an office in Manhattan in January 2011.[7]

Breyer claims responsibility for the firm’s investments in over 30 consumer Internet, media, … and technology companies that have completed public offerings or successful mergers.[8] Accel made a $12.7 million investment in Facebook in 2005 as part of its Accel IX fund, which as of April 2011 was on track to become the best performing venture capital fund ever.[9] Accel is Facebook’s second largest shareholder after Mark Zuckerberg. The firm’s investment is now worth about $5 billion.[10] Breyer has been criticized for taking too much credit for the Facebook deal.[11] He also personally owns 1% of the company.[12]

Accel reportedly currently has $2 billion in “fresh capital” to invest,[13] but things were not always so sunny. In 2004, major institutional investors, including Breyer’s alma mater Harvard, dropped Accel because of its bad investments.[14]

Breyer is the son of Hungarian immigrants. His parents worked at Honeywell in Boston, and his father later worked at IDG. Breyer got his first taste of working in Silicon Valley, with a job at HP during his time at Stanford, and later working at Apple. After college, he took a job at McKinsey & Co in New York for two years before going to Harvard Business School. After graduating in 1987, he went to work for Accel.[15]

Corporate boards

Breyer has been on the Walmart board since 2001. He is the presiding independent director and serves on the Strategic Planning and Finance Committee and the Technology and eCommerce Committee.[16] Breyer and fellow Walmart board member Michele Burns have come under criticism recently from Change to Win Investment Group for their classification as independent directors despite having “significant related-party transactions that call their independence into question.”[17]

In September 2011, Breyer became a member of the board of Rupert Murdoch’s troubled News Corp.[18] He serves on the board’s Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee and the Compensation Committee.[19]

Breyer is also a Director of Dell Inc., where he is the chairman of the Leadership Development and Compensation Committee and serves on the Incubation Advisory Board.

Additionally, Breyer is on the boards of Facebook, Etsy, Brightcove, ModelN, and Legendary Pictures.[20]

In his role as a venture capitalist, Breyer has served on the boards of many of the companies his firm invests in, such as Marvel Entertainment (which was bought by Disney) and BBN Technologies (bought by Raytheon).

Political giving

Federal election contributions

Since 2006, Breyer has given about $22,000 in federal political donations. About two-thirds went to the political action committee for the National Venture Capital Association (Breyer is a former chairman of NVCA). Breyer also gave $5,000 to the political action committee for Facebook—he is on Facebook’s Board of Directors—and in 2008, he gave $2,300 to Barack Obama.[21]

Community connections

Breyer is on the Board of the Associates of the Harvard Business School, Stanford Technology Ventures Program and Technet, and is a trustee of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and of the Menlo School.  He Is also chairman of the Stanford Engineering Venture Fund.[22]

Breyer’s biography on the Accel website says that he is “passionate about contemporary art, film, wine, travel, education and environmental initiatives, and music ranging from Bach to Nirvana.”[23]


[1] http://www.forbes.com/profile/jim-breyer/

[2] http://allthingsd.com/20120206/tidbits-from-the-facebook-ipo-filing-ill-have-what-sv-vcs-marc-andreessen-and-jim-breyer-are-having/

[3] http://www.forbes.com/profile/jim-breyer/

[4] http://www.forbes.com/sites/clareoconnor/2012/01/25/davos-day-1-meet-the-billionaire-players-and-see-where-theyre-partying/

[5] http://www.cnbc.com/id/46166594

[6] Perlroth, Nicole. “The Comeback Kid.” Forbes. 25 Apr 2011.

[7] http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2011/01/12/an-early-facebook-investor-is-bullish-on-new-york/

[8] http://www.accel.com/bio/jimbreyer.php

[9] Perlroth, Nicole. “The Comeback Kid.” Forbes. 25 Apr 2011.

[10] http://www.forbes.com/profile/jim-breyer/

[11] Perlroth, Nicole. “The Comeback Kid.” Forbes. 25 Apr 2011.

[12] http://www.forbes.com/lists/midas/2011/profile/jim-breyer.html

[13] Ibid.

[14] http://www.forbes.com/2011/04/06/midas-list-11-jim-breyer-venture-capital-comeback-kid.html

[15] Perlroth, Nicole. “The Comeback Kid.” Forbes. 25 Apr 2011.

[16] http://investors.walmartstores.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=112761&p=irol-govcommcomp

[17] http://i.bnet.com/blogs/ctw-to-wmt-may-16-2011-final.pdf

[18] http://www.forbes.com/profile/jim-breyer/

[19] http://www.newscorp.com/corp_gov/bc.html

[20] http://www.forbes.com/profile/jim-breyer/

[21] Data from OpenSecrets.org.

[22] http://content.dell.com/us/en/edu/d/bios/james-breyer-bio.aspx

[23] http://www.accel.com/bio/jimbreyer.php