Venture Capital

Former top Amazon exec Jeff Blackburn joins Bessemer Venture Partners


Amazon executive Jeff Blackburn speaks at his alma mater, Dartmouth College, in 2015. (Dartmouth/Eli Burakian Photo, used with permission.)

Longtime Amazon exec Jeff Blackburn has joined venture capital firm Bessemer Venture Partners after stepping down from the Seattle tech giant earlier this week.

Blackburn was one of Jeff Bezos’ top lieutenants for more than two decades. As first reported by GeekWire, Blackburn officially left Amazon on Tuesday.

He is one of five new partners announced by Bessemer, which also said it raised $3.3 billion across two new funds. The firm was an early backer of giants such as Pinterest, Twilio (led by former Amazon manager Jeff Lawson), PagerDuty, and others. It has 21 partners and offices in San Francisco, Silicon Valley, Boston, New York City, India, and Israel.

Blackburn will focus on early and late-stage customer-focused companies in his new role. Bessemer confirmed to GeekWire that Blackburn will continue to be based in Seattle.

“Having been part of Amazon for more than two decades, I’m excited to begin a new chapter helping customer-focused founders build breakthrough companies,” Blackburn said in a statement. “I’ve known the Bessemer team for many years and have long admired their strategic vision and success backing early-stage ventures.”

Bessemer has backed several Seattle-area startups, including Auth0, Syndio, Kaskada, and StackPulse.

Another Bessemer-Seattle connection: David Cowan, a partner at the firm, was the first venture investor in Twitch, which was acquired by Amazon for nearly $1 billion.

Bloomberg reported that Bessemer got to know Blackburn through the Twitch deal and other Amazon investments.

Blackburn just returned from a year-long sabbatical. His association with Amazon started when he was a junior investment banker at Deutsche Bank, assigned to work on the Amazon IPO. During his more than 21 years of active work at the company, Blackburn led key businesses including Amazon’s third-party sales, Prime Video, Amazon Music and Amazon Advertising, working alongside Bezos on key business initiatives.

In a company memo shared Tuesday, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos — who is stepping down as CEO later this year — wrote: “I predict that Jeff will be every bit as amazing in his new role as he’s been in all his roles at Amazon. Easy prediction.”


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