The VC Who’s Seen It All Before

JEFF JORDAN has had his ups and downs as an operating executive in Hollywood and Silicon Valley. Now those decades of experience are making him a sought-after mentor for young entrepreneurs as a venture capitalist. Here’s how what Jordan learned at Disney, eBay, and OpenTable is helping founders at Airbnb, Pinterest, and Instacart.

WEARING A LONG-SLEEVE BLACK SHIRT, blue shorts, a knee brace on his right leg (basketball injury), and a backpack filled with water bottles and an emergency water-filtration straw (don’t ask), Jeff Jordan appears from behind a line of trees. Lean bordering on gaunt, with closely cropped black hair, Jordan has already hiked 40 minutes in the woods before arriving for a scheduled walk-and-talk on a trail near his home in Portola Valley, Calif. “Sorry,” he says. “I wake up really early.”

Jordan, who is 60, savors his alone time in the morning. Office hours are at the nearby venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, where he meets with entrepreneurs, listens to pitches, and decides which of these prospects are worthy of the firm’s backing. But in the wee hours, he typically sets out alone. “I have to be an extrovert at work. So to recover, I just walk through the hills,” he says, before making the shocking confession, at least in the type A world of Silicon Valley VCs, that he’s “right on the introvert-extrovert line.” Says Jordan: “It’s the only thing in my day I do that’s solitary. Everything else is meeting after meeting after meeting.”

Fortunately for Jordan and his partners, his enervating face time has proved fruitful. On behalf of Andreessen Horowitz, Jordan invested early in what are now some of the hottest companies in tech, including home-sharing giant Airbnb, grocery delivery company Instacart, and the hobbyist site Pinterest. The firm’s bet on Pinterest

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from Fortune

Fortune3 min readPolitics
Milking Oats For China
China wants more milk, but the planet needs fewer cows. Why oat and other plant milks could be the solution.
Fortune3 min readTech
The Corporate Fortress
Cyberattacks are a constant threat to American business. Is “hacking back” a viable solution? Or is picking up the telephone the secret to securing companies?
Fortune5 min read
Soaring Or Sinking With A Super-app
China’s dominant messaging and social media app WeChat helped turn Tencent into a blockbuster stock. But the company’s reliance on WeChat could hurt investors down the road.