Peter Fenton (venture capitalist)


Peter Fenton
Peter Fenton Benchmark Capital.jpg
Peter Fenton
BornJuly 1972 (1972-07) (age 49)
Alma materStanford University
OccupationVenture capitalist
EmployerGeneral 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] He has been a perennial member on the Midas List since 2007.

Education and early career

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[citation needed] before joining Benchmark in 2006.[7]



Fenton's investing style has been summarized as, “Wait until right before the company’s rising ‘adoption curve’ meets the declining ‘risk curve.’”[8] He served on the board of Twitter[8] and backed Twitter when it had only 25 employees.[4] He invested early in Yelp in 2006 and sits on its board.[8]

Noted for his expertise in open source technology, Fenton has invested in JBoss (acquired by Red Hat), SpringSource (acquired by VMware) and Zimbra,[9] which was later acquired by VMware.[10] The VMware acquisition occurred on the same day that Facebook acquired FriendFeed, another company in Fenton’s portfolio.[8] 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,[11] Quip (acquired by Salesforce),[12] and Polyvore (acquired by Yahoo).[13]

In addition to Twitter and Yelp, Fenton also serves on the boards of (in alphabetical order) Cockroach Labs, Digits,[14] Docker (formerly DotCloud), Elasticsearch, Engine Yard, Hortonworks, Lithium Technologies, New Relic, Optimizely, Revinate, Zendesk, and Zuora.[15][16][17][18][19][20][21] 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.[22]


  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. ^ "The Midas List". Forbes. January 29, 2009. Retrieved May 12, 2011.
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ "Peter Fenton Has That Magic Open-Source Touch". The Wall Street Journal. August 11, 2009. Retrieved May 12, 2011.
  10. ^ "VMware Gently Nudges Microsoft with a Zimbra". The New York Times. January 13, 2010. Retrieved May 12, 2011.
  11. ^ "Benchmark, Marissa Mayer Put $5.5M In Stationery Design And Retail Site Minted". TechCrunch.
  12. ^ 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.
  13. ^ "Yahoo Paid Around $200 Million for Polyvore, a Search Engine for Fashion". Recode. Retrieved 2018-06-08.
  14. ^ Perez, Sarah (November 6, 2019). "Stealth fintech startup Digits raises $10.5 million Series A from Benchmark and others". TechCrunch.
  15. ^ 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.
  16. ^ 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.
  17. ^ Hoge, Patrick (25 July 2012). "Hospitality social monitor Revinate gets $14.5 million". San Francisco Business Times. Retrieved 7 January 2014.
  18. ^ Rao, Leena (9 November 2012). "Big Data Search And Analytics Startup Elasticsearch Raises $10M From Benchmark". TechCrunch. Retrieved 9 November 2012.
  19. ^ Metz, Cade. "How Yahoo Spawned Hadoop, the Future of Big Data". Enterprise. Wired. Retrieved 22 August 2012.
  20. ^ Ovide, Shira (Jun 4, 2015). "CockroachDB Scampers Off With $6.3 Million to Tackle Database Shortcomings". WSJ Blogs - Digits. Retrieved 2015-06-05.
  21. ^ Levy, Ari (5 September 2013). "Twitter Backer Fenton Poised for IPO Barrage". Bloomberg. Retrieved 10 September 2013.
  22. ^ "Peter Fenton Named "VC of the Year" at the Crunchies".