Venture capitalist pledges £75m to Oxford scholarship

Elizabeth Fournier
A PROMINENT British venture capitalist and his wife yesterday pledged £75m to help low-income students pay for Oxford University tuition.

Cardiff-born Michael Moritz, chairman of Silicon Valley fund Sequoia Capital, has kept up his reputation for investing in promising start-ups by contributing the first £75m to a fund that will provide up to £11,000 per year to students from low-income families.

Moritz, who joined Sequoia in 1986 after working as a journalist in Time magazine’s San Francisco office, is known for his early investments in many prominent US tech firms, with LinkedIn, PayPal and Yahoo in the firm’s current portfolio. He also sat on the board of Google until 2007, having provided $12.5m of capital to the then-fledgling internet search engine in 1999 – bagging a place on the board and a 10 per cent stake in the firm, which floated with a market cap of $23bn in 2006.

His wife, Harriet Hayman, is a US journalist and novelist.

A Christ Church, Oxford alumni, Moritz’s donation will be matched by the University, helping to build a scholarship fund worth up to £300m to support disadvantaged students through their degrees.

Moritz-Heyman Scholars, as they will be known, will also get financial support during holidays, and offered places on internship programmes to boost their career prospects.