David T. Morgenthaler, founder of venture capital firm Morgenthaler Ventures and a past chairman of the National Venture Capital Association’s board of directors, died June 17. He was 96.
Mr. Morgenthaler founded Morgenthaler Ventures in 1968 when few venture capital firms existed, according to a memoriam on the firm’s website.
Mr. Morgenthaler was president and then chairman of the NVCA from 1977 to 1979 and received the NVCA’s first Lifetime Achievement Award.
He led the NVCA’s successful efforts to push Congress to lower the U.S. capital gains tax rates to 28% from 49% in 1978, and to amend the Employee Retirement Income Security Act to allow pension funds to invest in venture capital in 1979.
Over his 48 year career, he raised $3 billion and invested in 325 startup companies in information technology, life sciences and industrial technology including Apple Inc., Ardian and Siri Inc, which was acquired by Apple.
Mr. Morgenthaler was an adviser to private equity firm Brentwood Associates and a limited partner in money management firm Tekla Capital Management.
“To say that David Morgenthaler was a pioneer would be an incredible understatement,” said Bobby Franklin, NVCA president and CEO in a written statement. “David was much more than a pioneer; he was an icon of venture capital, (a) titan of the entrepreneurial ecosystem and champion of innovation.”
Among his philanthropic activities he funded a professorship of entrepreneurship at Carnegie Mellon University, was a founding sponsor of the Entrepreneurship Center at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, funded the Morgenthaler Fellows Program at the Cleveland Clinic and funded the David T. Morgenthaler II Fellows Program at Stanford University.
“He was widely known for his honesty, integrity and fairness, as well as his realism , pragmatism and strategic insight,” the memoriam on the firm’s website states.
He is survived by his wife, Lindsay; three children; seven grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren. His son, Gary Morgenthaler, is a partner in Morgenthaler Ventures.
Gary Morgenthaler could not be reached immediately for comment.