Cake
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    • [Steve Schramm] I was VP Engineering and General Manager at Magic, so Pierre was on my team for much of the time. In 1995, Pierre told me he was off to look for VC funding, as things at Magic weren't going anywhere and as Chris mentioned, eBay was taking off. I said that made sense and wished him good luck. Afterward, when I asked Pierre how it went and whether he was leaving, he said that he was staying because no one was interested in investing. So he continued working, and eBay continued thriving, so much so that it became profitable with no VC funding. Back in 1995, Pierre had previously been willing to sell a significant amount of ownership, possibly in excess of 50%, to obtain $5M in funding. Now that eBay was paying for itself, Pierre told me he didn't "need" the money and would only take it to accelerate growth, and only if he gave up a small amount (5%-10%) of ownership. He also told me he wasn't going to ask any of the VCs who told him "no" in 1995. Benchmark was lucky, because they didn't exist when Pierre went looking for VC backing! They jumped at the opportunity to invest in what seemed to be a sure winner, even though they only got a small piece of the action (but it was soon worth over $1B). Much later, in 2001, Benchmark recruited me to help turn around another company they had invested in but whose business model no longer made sense after the dot com crash. Andy Rachleff (Benchmark) and Marc Andreessen were my Board, and I asked Andy, "If Benchmark had existed when Pierre was looking the first time, do you think Benchmark would have invested?" Andy replied, "Probably not".