Flex port founder Ryan Petersen joined the venture capital firm Founders Fund as a partner, as reported by Forbes early today.
Founders Fund confirmed the move to TechCrunch, which provided the following statement from General Partner Trae Stephens: “We’ve always struggled to define the quintessential Founders Fund founder. It’s clearly Ryan. We’re thrilled to welcome him to the team.”
Petersen – who resigned as CEO of Flexport last August – he himself acknowledged the move on Twitter, with a tweet says:
I joined the Founders Fund. If you are a person seeking revenge after being wronged by a former employer or investor, a French technical founder who ran away from socialism to build your company in America, or any other Christ-like figure, please get in touch.
Petersen also told TechCrunch via email: “I never thought about becoming a VC. When I moved into the role of chairman a dozen or so VC firms approached me, but I didn’t entertain anyone of them other than the Founders Fund. They agree with me in my desire to continue supporting Flexport as hard as I can and their overall philosophy of supporting founders in every way. The team here has changed the course in VC history by upending the previous model where VCs would seek to replace the founder with a more experienced CEO. Founders Funds don’t get enough credit for their role in changing the culture of more wide VC world. I’m excited to work with our portfolio founders, new and existing, to help them build and run generational companies.
Petersen founded Flexport, a logistics startup that has raised $2.4 billion in funding since its inception in 2013, according to Crunchbase. Founders Fund was an early investor in the company, which last raised in February of 2022 – a $935 million Series E led by Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) and MSD Partners that valued the company at $8 billion. The Founders Fund also participated in that round.
The new role is not a big leap for Petersen considering that over the years, he has backed as an angel investor in 100 startups, such as Rippling, Mercury, Faire, Eight Sleep, Carta and Pulley. He will be based in San Francisco and invest as a “generalist” for Founders Fund.
He wrote by email: “I am interested in new companies regardless of their stage or industry.”
Petersen and his brother, David, came up with the idea for Flexport in 2008 when they were running ImportGenius.com. Petersen then went through Y Combinator’s Winter 2013 batch. He transitioned to the role of executive chairman on March 1.
Over the years, Flexport has been praised for its successful growth despite its operations a decidedly unsexy industry. Former TechCrunch reporter Josh Constine wrote this part about how Petersen and company are advancing the war against COVID. Using its built-in cargo software, the full-service air, rail truck and ocean freight double income to $3.3 billion by 2021, moving nearly $19 billion in gross merchandise through its platform. And Petersen spoke to American Journal of Transportation in March that Flexport’s estimated revenue in 2022 is $5 billion.
Last month, TechCrunch reported on Kaitlyn Glancy, who spent more than eight years at Flexport — the last four of them as the outfit’s vice president of North America — announced that she is joining the VC world as latest partner in the venture firm Eclipse.
Interestingly, Founders Fund also reported in September that fintech startup Brex’s former chief revenue officer, Sam Blond, has become a partner of Founders Fund.
Reporter’s note: This story was updated after publication to include comments from Petersen and revised figures on the number of companies he has invested in.