Ted Wang has spent his career helping startups make important decisions, from Facebook, to Twitter, to Dropbox to Jet. He’s done it as a partner with the law firm Fenwick & West over the last decade. Now he’s betting his skills can translate as an investor. Indeed, today, Wang joins the seed-stage venture firm Cowboy Ventures as a full-time investment partner.
Firm cofounder Aileen Lee, who remains Cowboy’s only general partner, sounded highly enthusiastic about Wang when we chatted about his new appointment yesterday. Lee and Wang met a dozen years ago at an election night party and they became fast enough friends that they’ve taken family vacations together, including in Buenos Aires, where Wang and his family were based for some time.
Beyond their friendship, she says, Wang has alerted her to companies he has found particularly interesting in the past (including a young Twitter). She has also steered numerous portfolio companies to him owing to his strong track record with startups. (As Wang himself is quick to note, founders are careful in picking both investors as well as lawyers. “In both cases, the founder is looking for who can help the most and with whom they have the best chemistry.”)
Wang also authored Series Seed Documents, a set of open-sourced financing documents posted on Github.
Asked yesterday if Wang thought he was prepared to dive right into investing, or whether there’s a learning curve to manage first, he laughed. “I always advise people going in to the industry to take their time. We’ll see if I can follow my own advice.”
Cowboy is currently managing $100 million across two funds, a $40 million debut fund and a $60 million second fund that closed in 2015. Lee, who says the firm doesn’t invest in sectors but rather founders, adds the firm is not fundraising currently
In addition to Lee and Wang, Cowboy features one associate and one talent partner.
Some of the firm’s newest investments include Seneca Systems, a young, Redwood Shores, Ca.-based company that sells software as a service to local governments and which had passed through the Y Combinator program; Brava Home, a two-year-old, still stealth home automation startup that we’d written about here; and Guild Education, a two-old, Denver-based company that’s helping larger companies provide training, college and other educational courses to their lower-level employees.
Cowboy, founded in 2012, has also seen some exits, including the sale of Dollar Shave Club to Unilever for a reported $1 billion; the sale of the nutrition coaching app Rise to One Medical for a reported $20 million; and the sale of the cloud monitoring firm Librato to SolarWinds for $40 million.