Dan Levitan
Dan Levitan

It’s been quite the year for Maveron’s Dan Levitan — despite the fact that his beloved Duke Blue Devils got bounced in the first round of the NCAA men’s basketball tourney.

Even so, that’s a minor setback to what Levitan has experienced over the past several months, participating in some spectacular investments, the biggest of which was the blockbuster IPO of Seattle daily deals site Zulily.

That investment alone was enough to propel Levitan to this year’s Midas List, the annual ranking by Forbes of the top 100 venture capitalists in the world. Levitan, a 56-year-old former investment banker who founded Maveron with Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz in 1998, ranked #56 on the list.

He was one of 19 newcomers on the list this year.

In addition to Zulily, Levitan was an investor in Decide.com — purchased by eBay last year —and SeatMe — acquired by Yelp. He’s also on the board of Potbelly, the sandwich shop chain which went public last October and now has a market value of $530 million.

Levitan focuses on consumer-oriented companies, a niche strategy that has paid off big time. For example, the firm’s early investment in Zulily — an idea that was essentially hatched at Maveron’s offices — is now worth a whopping $1.3 billion. (The firm owns 22 percent of Zulily’s class B shares).

Levitan, co-founder Maveron 222Unfortunately, Levitan is the only Seattle investor to make the list this year, which is anchored at the top by some well known Silicon Valley power brokers such as Jim Goetz of Sequoia Capital (WhatsApp); Marc Andreessen of Andreessen Horowitz (Twitter); and Peter Fenton of Benchmark (Twitter).

In fact, Sequoia had the most “Midases” in its midst, placing nine investment professionals on this year’s list. That was followed by Accel, with eight partners, including HasOffers’ investor Rich Wong (#24).  Just four women — Mary Meeker of Kleiner Perkins; Ann Lamont of Oak Investment Partners; Jenny Lee of GGC Capital; and Theresia Gouw of Aspect Ventures — made the list this year.

Here’s a look at the top 10:


You can see the full list of the top 100 venture capitalists here.

UPDATE: In an email to GeekWire, Levitan noted the Midas List achievement by focusing on the “extraordinary entrepreneurs” that he’s worked alongside over the years “to build very large transformative consumer businesses.”

“A special thanks to Darrell Cavens and Mark Vadon and the teams at zulily, Potbelly, Seatme and Decide.com for letting us be part of their journey,” he wrote. “From the beginning in 1998, our goal has always been to offer entrepreneurs more than just funding. As the industry’s leading consumer-only VC firm you can count on us to continue to back great people building the next generation of enduring consumer businesses.”

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  • Been There Done That

    Why just one Seattle VC? Perhaps this helps explain why, from Levie at Box: “”We had a lot of unsuccessful pitches in Seattle in the venture capital community up there, and most of them turned us down,” Levie recalled. Part of this was down to timing.

    “If you think about it, Seattle had gone through the bubble just like everybody else, but they hadn’t come back in the same way the Valley had,” Levie explained. “The Valley was experiencing Facebook and YouTube and some very successful early companies. Seattle didn’t have it. People didn’t rely on the same sense that there was going to be this re‑emergence and renaissance again on the Internet.”
    from http://www.techrepublic.com/article/how-aaron-levie-and-his-childhood-friends-built-box-into-a-2-billion-business-without-stabbing-each-other-in-the-back/

  • Oren Etzioni

    Dan Levitan is not only a phenomenal investor, but also a strong, insightful, and supportive board member. A real Mensch!

  • Eric LeVine

    Oren, well said.

    Mazel Tov to Dan!

  • Bill Bryant

    FWIW, my firm, DFJ came in #3 in terms of number of Midas investors, with three partners (Josh Stein, Steve Jurvetson, Randy Glein) making the list. We hope to have other investors make the list in the coming years and are actively looking for new opportunities throughout the PNW.

    • Bill Bryant

      Blatant self promotion smacks of desperation…

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