Ted Wang, a high-profile Silicon Valley lawyer to some of tech's most prominent companies, is leaving his legal briefs behind and joining seed-stage-focused investment firm Cowboy Ventures.
Wang has spent the last decade at Fenwick & West, where clients included Facebook, Path, Square, StumbleUpon, Twitter, Sonos and Dropbox. He becomes the first general partner at Cowboy, founded by longtime VC Aileen Lee (also known as "she who invented the term 'unicorn'" for hot startups).
With two funds raised, totaling $100 million, it has invested in the early stages of companies such as Dollar Shave Club, Brit + Co, Soma, Product Hunt and Memebox. The small firm has only two other employees — a talent partner and an associate — both of whom happen to be women.
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"So, with Ted, we are excited to bring in some diversity," joked Lee (get it? — as in, bringing in a dude).
In an interview, Lee said Wang has been both a friend and also a legal adviser (they met at an election night party in 2000).
"We have always had a great chemistry," she said. "So, when I found out he wanted to be an investor and was talking to other firms, I thought it would be the perfect fit."
Wang said he made the shift from his legal practice because he he was "not growing or learning and wanted to try something new and different." He said he talked to a number of firms, but felt that Cowboy had a more "modern" feel.
"It used to be startups had to worship at the feet of VCs, but that is not true anymore and it is important to be approachable and offer the highest value-add services," said Wang, who will be focusing on consumer tech, enterprise and so-called "third wave" startups (like healthcare), much as he did in his law practice.
While has not formed any investment hypothesis, he said his experience dealing with all the myriad of legal issues faced by startups has given him some important perspective. "If you think of startups as movie," he said, "I have seen all the movies."
I wonder which startup is "La La Land."
—By Kara Swisher, Recode.net.
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