Peter Fenton (venture capitalist)

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Peter Fenton
Peter Fenton Benchmark Capital.jpg
Peter Fenton
Born July 1972 (1972-07) (age 45)
Nationality American
Alma mater Stanford University
Occupation Venture Capitalist
Employer General Partner at Benchmark

Peter Fenton (born July 1972) is an American venture capitalist based in Silicon Valley. He is a general partner at Benchmark, a venture capital firm. Fenton has steadily worked his way up the Forbes Midas List of the 100 top technology investors, starting at no. 94 in 2007,[1] then rising to no. 62 in 2008[2] and no. 50 in 2009.[3] Fenton was ranked no. 4 when Forbes resumed publishing its Midas List in 2011 and was described as the “most productive venture capitalist on our list.”[4] In 2012, Fenton was ranked no. 5 on the Forbes Midas List[5] and was no. 2 in 2015.[6]

Education and early career[edit]

Fenton graduated with a BA in philosophy and an MBA from Stanford University, where he was elected Phi Beta Kappa and an Arjay Miller Scholar, and spent seven years as a partner with Accel Partners. He was also an early employee at Virage[7] before joining Benchmark in 2006.[8]


Fenton's investing style has been summarized as, “Wait until right before the company’s rising ‘adoption curve’ meets the declining ‘risk curve.’”[9] He serves on the board of Twitter[9] and backed Twitter when it had only 25 employees.[4] He invested early in Yelp in 2006 and sits on its board.[9]

Noted for his expertise in open source technology, Fenton has invested in JBoss (acquired by Red Hat), SpringSource (acquired by VMware) and Zimbra,[10] which was later acquired by VMware.[11] The VMware acquisition occurred on the same day that Facebook acquired FriendFeed, another company in Fenton’s portfolio.[9] He led Benchmark's investments in Wily Technology (acquired by CA Technologies), Reactivity (acquired by Cisco), Coremetrics (acquired by IBM), Xensource (acquired by Citrix), Zimbra (acquired by Yahoo!),[5] Minted,[12] and Quip (acquired by Salesforce).[13]

In addition to Twitter and Yelp, Fenton also serves on the boards of (in alphabetical order) Cockroach, Docker (formerly DotCloud), elasticsearch, Engine Yard, Hortonworks, Lithium Technologies, New Relic, Optimizely, Polyvore, Quip, Revinate, Zendesk, and Zuora.[7][14][15][16][17][18] [19][20] In December 2014, Fenton "had one of the most unusual days in venture history" when two of his investments, Hortonworks and New Relic, went public the same day.[6] In February 2014, he was awarded the TechCrunch Crunchie for Venture Capitalist of the Year. [21]


  1. ^ "The Midas List 2007". Forbes. January 25, 2007. Retrieved May 12, 2011. 
  2. ^ "The Midas List 2008". Forbes. January 24, 2008. Retrieved May 12, 2011. 
  3. ^ "The Midas List 2009". Forbes. January 29, 2009. Retrieved May 12, 2011. 
  4. ^ a b "The Midas List 2011". Forbes. April 6, 2011. Retrieved May 12, 2011. 
  5. ^ a b Geron, Tomio (2 May 2012). "The Midas List Tech's Top Investors". Forbes. Retrieved 22 August 2012. 
  6. ^ a b "Peter Fenton". Retrieved 2015-06-05. 
  7. ^ a b "Peter Fenton". CrunchBase. TechCrunch. Retrieved 22 August 2012. 
  8. ^ "The Midas List". Forbes. January 29, 2009. Retrieved May 12, 2011. 
  9. ^ a b c d Cutler, Kim-Mai (10 August 2009). "Benchmark's Peter Fenton nails both FriendFeed, SpringSource deals in one day". Venture Beat. Retrieved 22 August 2012. 
  10. ^ "Peter Fenton Has That Magic Open-Source Touch". The Wall Street Journal. August 11, 2009. Retrieved May 12, 2011. 
  11. ^ "VMware Gently Nudges Microsoft with a Zimbra". The New York Times. January 13, 2010. Retrieved May 12, 2011. 
  12. ^ "Benchmark, Marissa Mayer Put $5.5M In Stationery Design And Retail Site Minted". TechCrunch. 
  13. ^ Gannes, Liz (30 July 2013). "With $15M From Benchmark, Former Facebook CTO Bret Taylor’s Quip Aims to Take Productivity Mobile". All Things D. Retrieved 5 September 2013. 
  14. ^ Williams, Alex (19 September 2013). "DotCloud Pivots And Wins Big With Docker, The Cloud Service Now Part Of Red Hat OpenShift". TechCrunch. Retrieved 7 January 2014. 
  15. ^ Gannes, Liz (30 July 2013). "With $15M From Benchmark, Former Facebook CTO Bret Taylor’s Quip Aims to Take Productivity Mobile". All Things D. Retrieved 7 January 2014. 
  16. ^ Hoge, Patrick (25 July 2012). "Hospitality social monitor Revinate gets $14.5 million". San Francisco Business Times. Retrieved 7 January 2014. 
  17. ^ Rao, Leena (9 November 2012). "Big Data Search And Analytics Startup Elasticsearch Raises $10M From Benchmark". TechCrunch. Retrieved 9 November 2012. 
  18. ^ Metz, Cade. "How Yahoo Spawned Hadoop, the Future of Big Data". Enterprise. Wired. Retrieved 22 August 2012. 
  19. ^ Ovide, Shira (Jun 4, 2015). "CockroachDB Scampers Off With $6.3 Million to Tackle Database Shortcomings". WSJ Blogs - Digits. Retrieved 2015-06-05. 
  20. ^ Levy, Ari (5 September 2013). "Twitter Backer Fenton Poised for IPO Barrage". Bloomberg. Retrieved 10 September 2013. 
  21. ^

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