Peter C. Wendell

Peter C. Wendell
Contact Info


Peter C. Wendell is the founder and a Managing Director of Sierra Ventures, a Menlo Park, California technology-oriented venture capital firm that has invested more than $1.5 billion over the past 30 years in a wide variety of successful technology companies. Mr. Wendell teaches “Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital,” a popular course at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business, with Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt. Mr. Wendell has held a faculty appointment at Stanford since 1991 and has taught more than 1,300 Stanford MBA students. Mr. Wendell has been recognized by Forbes magazine as one of the 100 best technology venture investors in the United States and named one of the 15 venture capitalists on Upside magazine’s Elite 100 list of influential U.S. leaders in technology, finance, and business.

In addition to his activities at Sierra, Mr. Wendell has a variety of other professional responsibilities. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of Merck & Co., Inc (MRK-NYSE) where he served a four-year term chairing the board’s audit committee and currently serves on the compensation and research committees. During his career he has served as a member of the corporate board of directors of more than 25 companies, including 10 U.S. public companies. Mr. Wendell also currently serves as a Senior Advisor to and as a member of the Board of Directors of WestBridge Capital Partners, an 11-year old Bangalore-based investment firm currently managing more than $1 billion invested primarily in Indian public and late-stage private companies. He also serves as the Senior Advisor to the family office entities of the Schmidt family.  Mr. Wendell serves on the Board of Managers of Living Spaces Furniture, a company founded by two of his Stanford students which is now one of the largest furniture retailers in California.

Sierra focuses its investments in early stage and emerging growth technology-related opportunities, often working with companies from their inception. Mr. Wendell has originated and managed Sierra’s early stage investments in Intuit – maker of “Quicken” software (INTU-NASD); Fatbrain (FATB-NASD; purchased by Barnes & Noble); On Assignment (ASGN-NASD); Teradata (TDC-NYSE); and KnowledgeNet (purchased by Thomson Learning). He served as Chairman of the Board of Sierra’s investment in Centex Telemanagement (CNTX-NASD; purchased by MCI). He has also helped originate and manage Sierra’s investments in a variety of healthcare service businesses including Amerigroup (AGP-NYSE, wholly owned by Well Point), Clinical Partners (purchased by Visible Genetics), Healtheon (HLTH-NASD; merged with WebMD), Intensiva Healthcare (INTN-NASD; purchased by Select Medical) and NovaMed (NOVA-NASD; purchased by Surgery Partners). Sierra was an early or originating investor in all eleven of these companies.

Mr. Wendell’s partners at Sierra Ventures have led Sierra’s investment in an even broader array of successful companies including Active Software (ASWX-NASD; purchased by WebMethods); Authentec (AUTH-NASD; purchased by Apple); ConvergeNet (Purchased by Dell); FrontBridge (purchased by Microsoft); Greenplum (Purchased by EMC); InvenSense (INVN-NASD), MakeMyTrip (MMYT-NASD); MicroMuse (MUSE-NASD; purchased by IBM); OnLink (Purchased by Siebel); Quinta (Purchased by Seagate); SourceFire (FIRE-NASD) and StrataCom (STRM-NASD; purchased by Cisco). Sierra was a major (and often originating) investor in each of these companies.

Globally, in addition to his work with WestBridge Capital Partners in India, Mr. Wendell serves as a Special Advisor to the Investment Committee of Gobi Partners, an early stage China-based technology oriented venture firm with offices in Shanghai and Beijing. Sierra Ventures is a strategic investor in Gobi along with co-investors IBM, NTT DoCoMo, the McGraw Hill Companies, and Walt Disney Company. He also advises Seedfund, an early stage India-based technology oriented venture firm with offices in Bombay and Bangalore. Sierra Ventures is a strategic investor in Seedfund along with co-investors Google, Motorola, Reliance, and others.

Prior to founding the first Sierra fund in 1982, Mr. Wendell was employed by IBM for 10 years in a variety of sales and management positions. During an educational leave from IBM, Mr. Wendell attended Harvard Business School where he received an MBA with distinction. During this time, he also worked for McKinsey & Company management consultants. Mr. Wendell holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree, magna cum laude, from Princeton University. He has received awards from both Harvard and Princeton for his leadership and service on their behalf.

Mr. Wendell is a Charter Trustee of Princeton University (term ending June, 2020) and has previously served as one of the two officers of Princeton’s Board of Trustees during his initial Charter term beginning in 2001. He has also completed a 10-year term as a member of the board of directors of the Princeton University Investment Company (Princo), the organization responsible for Princeton’s endowment. During the six years Mr. Wendell chaired the Princo board, Princo’s professional staff grew the University’s endowment from $8 billion to over $16 billion. He has also served as a long-time Trustee of ARTstor, a Mellon Foundation initiative chaired by Harvard’s former president Neil Rudenstine.

Mr. Wendell has served as an officer and member of the board of directors of the Western Association of Venture Capitalists, as a member of the venture capital committee of Stanford University’s Athletic Investment Endowment (DAPER board), as a member of the Visiting Committee at Harvard Business School, as a director of San Francisco’s Exploratorium, and on the board of St. Luke’s Parish School in San Francisco. He has received the National Venture Capital Association’s American Spirit Award for applying his business skills in a manner that has created outstanding contributions to society. He enjoys jogging, squash and lacrosse and has completed the 26-mile New York City marathon.  Mr. Wendell and his wife Lynn reside in San Francisco and have six children.

Academic Degrees

  • MBA, Harvard University, 1976
  • AB, Princeton University, 1972

Academic Appointments

  • MBA Class of 1973 Lecturer, Stanford GSB, 2014-15


Degree Courses


Many of America's most successful entrepreneurial companies have been substantially influenced by professionally managed venture capital. This relationship is examined from both the entrepreneur's and the venture capitalist's perspective. From...


Many of America's most successful entrepreneurial companies have been substantially influenced by professionally managed venture capital. This relationship is examined from both the entrepreneur's and the venture capitalist's perspective. From...

Stanford Case Studies

Daksh (A) 1999 Business Plan | E251A
Patrick Arippol, Peter Wendell2007
Daksh (B): 2002 Business Plan | E251B
Patrick Arippol, Peter Wendell2007
Buck French | E133
Janet Feldstein, Peter Wendell2002

Stanford University Affiliations