Born in Taiwan, his parents immigrated to the US when Alfred was 6. He went on to receive a bachelor’s in applied mathematics from Harvard University and a master’s in statistics from Stanford University. During his time at Harvard, he met Tony Hsieh, the future CEO of Zappos.
“Tony Hsieh likes to tell the story that in college I went downstairs to his pizza business and bought pizza pies and then went upstairs and sold it by the slice to my roommates,” he told Thought Economics. “It isn’t as predatory as it sounds. I simply wanted to get my money back, but quarters were a prized commodity for laundry, vending machines and arcade games, so I found that sometimes a quarter is worth more than a quarter.”
He started a PhD in statistics at Stanford, but he ended up leaving the program to become CFO at LinkExchange alongside Tony. The company was eventually sold to Microsoft for $265 million, Alfred’s lowest acquisition to date.
Alfred also served as the VP of finance and business development of Tellme Networks, which was acquired by Microsoft for $800 million. In 1999, Alfred and Tony co-founded Venture Frogs, an incubator and investment firm that offers consulting for private companies, including AskJeeves and Zappos.
From 2005 to 2010, Alfred was in charge of all financial, administrative, and warehouse operations at Zappos. He left to join Sequoia Capital and currently represents the firm on the boards of several of the country’s top startups, including Airbnb, DoorDash, Stella & Dot and Zipline.
“Our team mirrors the founders with whom we partner: hungry overachievers with a deep-rooted need to win,” he said when asked about the characters of great investors. “Many come from humble backgrounds. Many are immigrants. Many formed or built companies of their own before joining Sequoia. Each shares the mindset of an entrepreneur, and knows what it means to walk that path.”
His mother still wonders when he’s going to finish his PhD.Tags: Investment and Funding, Sequoia, VC