20VC: 27 Years of Investing Lessons of Picking Founders, Price Discipline, Reserves and Selling Positions | Can Seed Investors Compete with Multi-Stage Venture Firms | Why Returns Will Not Worsen Moving Forward with Peter Wagner, Founder @Wing

Posted on 6th March 2024 by Harry

Peter Wagner is a Founding Partner of Wing. Peter has led investments in dozens of early-stage companies including Snowflake, Gong, Pinecone, and many others which have gone on to complete IPO’s or successful acquisitions. Prior to founding Wing, Peter spent an incredible 14 years at Accel, starting as an associate in 1996 and scaling to Managing Partner, before leaving to start Wing.

In Today’s Episode with Peter Wagner We Discuss:

1. From Associate to Managing Partner to Founding Partner:

  • How did Peter first make his way into the world of venture as an associate at Accel?
  • How important does Peter believe it is to have early hits in your career as an investor?
  • What is the biggest mistake Peter sees young VCs make today?

2. The Venture Market: What Happens Now:

  • Does Peter agree with Roger Ehrenberg that venture returns will worsen moving forward?
  • How does Peter answer the question of how large asset management venture firms co-exist in a world of boutique seed players also?
  • Does Peter agree with Doug Leone that “venture has transitioned from a high-margin boutique business to a low-margin, commoditized industry?

3. Investing Lessons from 27 Years and Countless IPOs:

  • What have been some of Peter’s single biggest investing lessons from 27 years in venture?
  • Why is Peter so skeptical of capital-intensive businesses? Will defense and climate startups suffer the same fate as clean tech did in the 2000s?
  • How does Peter reflect on his own relationship to price? When does it matter? When does it not?
  • What have been Peter’s biggest lessons on when to sell positions vs when to hold?
  • What has been Peter’s biggest miss? How did it impact his mindset?

4. Building a Firm from Nothing:

  • How was the fundraise process when leaving the Accel machine and raising with Wing?
  • What have been the single hardest elements of building Wing? What did he not expect?
  • What advice does Peter have for someone wanting to start their firm today?

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