Accel was founded in 1983 by Arthur Patterson and Jim Swartz. In 2000, Accel entered into a joint venture with Kohlberg Kravis Roberts to form Accel-KKR, a tech-focused private equity firm, but Accel continues to operate as an independent entity. The firm is headquartered in Palo Alto and operates out of London, India, and China. Patterson and Swartz have developed what they call the "Prepared Mind" investment philosophy, emphasizing extensive research and methodical decision making, an approach that has become their trademark in an industry that partner Sonali De Rycker describes as being driven by "emotion and instinct."
Accel invests across all stages. Notable seed and early stage investments include Dropbox, Facebook, and Slack. Accel has also provided capital to larger, more established companies that have greater financial needs as they move through later growth stages. Examples include Atlassian, DJI, and Qualtrics. The firm has invested in a number of companies that have gone public through an IPO. These include Facebook, Etsy, Arista Networks, Cloudera, Despegar, and Rovio.