A New York VC Spotlight: William Peng



William Peng has let nothing stopping him from reaching his entrepreneurship goals. As the current General partner at Red Swan Ventures, Peng has applied his “Expect nothing. Earn everything” attitude to move quickly up the ranks of the venture capitalist world in New York.

With a degree in operations research and financial engineering from Princeton University, Peng left college and entered the working world during the financial market slump. This led him to focus on entrepreneurship and would land him a position as an Analyst at RRE Ventures in 2009. By 2010 Peng was working with Drop.io as a product manager and Hot Potato as a Product Designer. Both companies were acquired by Facebook- Drop.io for over $9 Million and Hot Potato for $10 Million.

From 2011 to 2013, Peng was an investor at Raptor Ventures, a venture capital firm in New York City. He then left the company for his current position at Red Swan Ventures.

Coming from a middle class background is what Peng says has instilled in him his drive to succeed.

“While my parents did everything in their power to make sure that everything was lined up for me and that I got a good education and went to a good college, they made sure to instill values in me of appreciation. This is the intangible that cannot be recorded in grades that I will forever be grateful for,” Peng said in his ‘Shockingly Happy’ blogpost on williampeng.com.

Peng uses his knack for design, product management, and digital media to contribute to the success of the portfolio companies at Red Swan. When he isn’t working with entrepreneurs on the next great idea, he can be found photographing his adventures or making ice cream from scratch. With so many accomplishments at the early stages of his career, it’s unlikely that this will be the last we hear from William Peng.

VC Firm
General Partner at Red Swan Ventures
Previously at Raptors Ventures and RRE

Expertise areas:
Investment, product management, design, branding, analytics, digital media

Selected Investments:
Birchbox, Chloe + Isabel, Coinbase, Days by Wander, Warby Parker, Matterport, Zoomer, Wanelo, Keychain Logistics, Cover, Hailo, Buffer, Bond Street, Hinge, EverTrue, Scopely, Cambrian Genomics, SeatGeek, Building Robotics, Whistle Labs, PolicyMic, LayerVault

Blogs & Websites & Social Media:
Personal Website

Memorable Quotes
On being a millennial entrepreneur: “I think entrepreneurship is the greatest equalizer. Everyone is treated the same. If you don’t perform, you don’t succeed. You alone are responsible for your success.”

On working hard: “Expect nothing. Earn everything.”

On choosing your next investment: “If you invest only based on what is hot, you will always be a follower.”

On investment in general: “I believe it’s always about the product. Build something radical that a lot of people want, regardless of whether it’s consumer or enterprise.”

On growing up in a middle class family: “It is the greatest luxury of all to not have to worry where your next meal is coming from, whether your life is going to be in mortal danger from exogenous forces.”

On Creativity: “Most of the time, when people say they value creativity, what they really mean is that they value success.”

On Apple’s success: “Apple is one of the few companies that can destroy other companies and create opportunity all at once.”

On how he sees himself: “I don’t really see myself as an investor. I see myself as an entrepreneur in investor’s clothes.

On product placement: “Get your product as close to the market lead as possible. Especially when you’re a sub-ten employee company there should be only one product person and that should be the CEO.”

On risk: “It’s actually much easier to recognize risks than it is to believe in the vision despite those risks. It’s really hard to take a leap of faith.”

About the author: Stephanie Kariuki

Stephanie Kariuki is a Masters Journalism student at Georgetown University. She admires clever writing skills, unique perspectives and has a thirst for reading as much as possible. Stephanie graduated with Honors from The Ohio State University in 2013 with her B.A. in Journalism and a minor in International Affairs.

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