Execs of Harvard’s endowment visit Silicon Valley in bid to repair relationships with investors

Executives overseeing Harvard University's $51 billion endowment reportedly roamed Silicon Valley and met with deep-pocketed investors last week as the Ivy League seeks to repair its tarnished image. That's what it means.

A team from Harvard Management Company, the nation's largest university endowment, visited firms such as Sequoia Capital, Kleiner Perkins, and Andreessen Horowitz, according to . Wall Street Journal.

It is unclear whether any of the VC firms visited by HMC leaders have made donations to Harvard University itself, but in recent months many venture capitalists have viewed academia as having a pro-Palestinian bias. The magazine reported that he said he was.

For example, John Doerr, chairman of Kleiner Perkins and a Harvard graduate, ranked: forbes After cutting a $1.1 billion check to Stanford University in 2022, he made the second-largest gift ever to a U.S. school.

Harvard University recently lost an endowment of the same amount. Wealthy donors such as billionaire businessman Len Blavatnik, who has given about $270 million to the school, have accused the school of failing to discipline students who spouted anti-Semitic remarks on campus. This is because the company closed its checkbook in response to the incident.

According to the Journal, disgraced former president Claudine Gay's initial statement on Hamas attacks was also called “too weak” by some executives.

Executives from Harvard Management Company, which has the nation's largest endowment at $51 billion, made an unusual visit to Silicon Valley last week as the university seeks to restore its reputation. david mcglynn

Harvard Management Company executives also met with prolific Israeli-born investor Elad Gil during an unusual trip to Silicon Valley, the paper said.

according to pitch bookGill “counts Harvard's endowment among his LPs.” [limited partner] We used base when investing in early-stage unicorn companies, including our early bets on Pinterest, Airbnb, and financial services company Stripe.

At numerous meetings, HMC representatives discussed complaints over Harvard's commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, which critics say has gone too far in recent years.

HMC leaders also recognize that with the increasing prevalence of DEI, some students and professors feel they have to censor themselves, and that Harvard University is committed to promoting academic freedom and speech. The newspaper reported that he confirmed that he was considering policy changes to accommodate the expansion of freedoms.

HMC CEO NP “Narv” Narvekar, who took the helm in late 2016, has increased the fund’s venture investments in recent years, reportedly leading to a nearly 3% increase in the fund in fiscal 2023 alone. He is said to have contributed. Harvard University graduate

The newspaper reported that Harvard University is a direct investor in Stripe, and that its endowment leaders also met with the company's chief executive, Patrick Collinson, while in Silicon Valley.

Under the management company's current CEO, NP “Narv” Narvekar, who took the helm in late 2016, the fund has increased its exposure to venture investments in recent years, reportedly increasing its exposure to venture investments in fiscal year 2023 alone. It is said to have contributed to an increase of nearly 3% in the fund.

Nerf was also joined at most of the meetings by HMC's investment director Locke Slocum and managing director John Schuh, according to the Journal.

Mr. Hsu is reportedly in touch with similarly influential fund managers on the opposite coast, including Josh Kushner of New York's Thrive Capital.

HMC executives reportedly met with prolific Israeli-born investor Elad Gil during their visit to Silicon Valley. Sports File (via Getty Images)

Mr. Kushner, a graduate of Harvard Business School, was angry at Harvard's response to anti-Semitism on campus, according to social media posts, but was also upset by Donald Trump's He is the brother of his son-in-law Jared Kushner.

Kushner's father caused controversy by donating $2.5 million to Harvard University shortly before Kushner enrolled at the prestigious university. It is unclear whether any members of the Kushner family have donated funds to the school since then.

The fund's chairman, Paul Finnegan, who is also a member of Harvard's 12-member board, attended some of the meetings, the paper said, adding that investment giants were among the fund's executives. It is said that it is unusual for him to accompany him on the visit.

During these meetings, Harvard University executives insisted that the donations were not political and that who was named as Harvard's next president was not important, people familiar with the matter told the paper. told.

Mr. Nerf and HMC's investment chief and managing director also made pit stops at venture capital firms Sequoia Capital, Kleiner Perkins and Andreessen Horowitz. Getty Images

An HMC spokesperson declined the Post's request for comment.

“HMC is fortunate to have strong, long-term relationships with many investment managers who care deeply about higher education,” spokesperson Patrick McKiernan told Barron's.

“It is important that we collaborate and share with our partners all the ways Harvard is actively working to keep students safe and protect free speech,” McKernan added. There was no mention of the controversy plaguing the .

Harvard University initially came under fire for failing to condemn anti-Semitism on campus following Hamas' October 7 ambush on Israel. Hamas has killed thousands and the terrorist organization has taken hundreds hostage.

Specifically, more than 30 student organizations at Harvard University wrote a letter holding Israel “fully responsible” for the massacre. Harvard University President Gay at the time did not discipline anyone involved in drafting the message, instead stressing that the school “embraces our commitment to free expression.”

Controversy has plagued Harvard University since the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel led to an influx of anti-Semitism on campus and then-president Claudine Gay was criticized for failing to discipline the university. AP

The move cost the school a reported $1 billion in endowment and prompted calls for Gay to resign. The voices grew louder after the damning House testimony on anti-Semitism. In this testimony, the embattled Harvard graduate spoke to Representative Elise Stefanik (R-New York). Calling for genocide against Jews only violates Harvard rules depending on the “context.”

Gay finally resigned from his position on January 2nd, after renewed controversy after his academic work was accused of being riddled with plagiarism.

Harvard University said that despite his resignation, Gay will remain employed by the university and will be paid a salary equal to his annual salary of about $900,000 as president.

Her new role has not yet been confirmed.



Sign up to stay informed to breaking news