In just over three years, four companies that Fenton invested in while at his current firm Benchmark Capital, or previous one, Accel Partners, have sold for a combined $1.6 billion. Fenton, who ranks on Forbes’ Midas List at No. 50, was an investor in JBoss Inc. (sold to Red Hat Inc. for $350 million), Zimbra Inc. (acquired by Yahoo Inc. for $350 million), and XenSource Inc. (bought by Citrix Systems Inc. for $500 million).
WSJ asks Peter Fenton about what he looks for in potential open source investment:
In open-source in general, the power lies in connecting the author of the software directly to users, eliminating the middleman, expensive sales efforts and negotiations with the upper management to get the most money possible.
If you don’t have the best product, you’re not going to make it in open-source, unlike traditional enterprise software, where customers often flock to good-enough products.