Starting a Public Venture Program from Scratch

With Peter Teneriello,
Investor, The Limitless Partner
This week on Swimming with Allocators, Earnest and Alexa welcome Peter Teneriello, an experienced LP, to discuss the challenges faced by institutional LPs. Peter shares the experience of deploying millions more into venture to meet new targets at Texas Municipal Retirement System and Texas Permanent School Fund. Peter describes some of the limitations specific to institutional LPs while also advising early allocators to take their time selecting managers and highlighting opportunities in lower mid-market buyouts and growth equity. Earnest and Peter also share what they’ve gotten out of the Kauffman Fellows program from the VC and LP perspective. Dave Thornton, Co-Founder and Chief Investment Officer of Vested also talks about how their venture investment product is evolving to be more transparent and accessible for Limited Partners interested in investing in the top public venture-backed businesses.

Highlights from this week’s conversation include:

  • Peter’s background and journey Into finance (0:58)
  • Strategy of Institutional LPs (2:30)
  • Bandwidth Constraints and Time Management (5:53)
  • Lessons Learned from Early Stage Programs (8:01)
  • Criteria for Fund Managers (10:11)
  • Transition to Institutional LP and Governance Structure (12:56)
  • Challenges Faced by Institutional LPs (16:10)
  • Excitement about certain investment strategies (19:24)
  • Overview of the Kauffman Fellows program (23:04)
  • Insider Segment: Vested’s target audience and investor interest (24:32)
  • Ingredients for successful LP-VC partnership (30:45)
  • Role of limited partners in the future of venture capital (33:24)
  • Proud venture capital investment (35:49)
  • Investing with Creativity and Conviction (38:03)
  • Final thoughts and takeaways (38:50)


Peter Teneriello is a multifaceted professional with a rich background in finance and private equity. At 33, he boasts a B.B.A. from the University of Notre Dame, complemented by his participation in the Kauffman Fellows Program. His career includes significant roles at Sapient Capital, Stifel Financial Corp., and the Texas Municipal Retirement System. As a Kauffman Fellow, Peter has demonstrated a commitment to innovation and leadership in the investment field. His interests in technology and ethical considerations in AI highlight his forward-thinking approach.

Vested empowers startup employees to capitalize on their hard-earned equity, primarily by providing funding to help exercise stock options. The company’s overarching mission is to democratize access to equity, ensuring that startup employees both understand and have a real chance to tangibly benefit from the shares they’re granted.

Swimming with Allocators is a podcast that dives into the intriguing world of Venture Capital from an LP (Limited Partner) perspective. Hosts Alexa Binns and Earnest Sweat are seasoned professionals who have donned various hats in the VC ecosystem. Each episode, we explore where the future opportunities lie in the VC landscape with insights from top LPs on their investment strategies and industry experts shedding light on emerging trends and technologies. 

The information provided on this podcast does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available on this podcast are for general informational purposes only.


Earnest Sweat 00:12
Today we are speaking with Peter Teneriello, known as the limitless partner long before Alexa and I realized the world needed to hear more from the LP perspective on this podcast. Peter began sharing his perspective as an LP in his writings. Peter has worked both as an institutional p at Texas Municipal Retirement System, Texas permanent school fund and a private sector LP, will speak today about lessons learned as a limitless partner from the two perspectives, and what he’s gained from participating in the Kauffman Fellows Program, which also participates as well. Go Kaufmann, Peter, thanks for speaking with us today on swimming with alligators.

Peter Teneriello 00:54
Absolutely, yeah. Thanks. Thanks for having me.

Earnest Sweat 00:58
Alright, so first, we always like to kind of start on the origin story.

Peter Teneriello 03:32
fell into it. Again, like I like after, you know, after after that. I sold another year of college, graduated was still trying to figure out what I was going to do with my life, I felt like I was one of the only finance majors in our class that didn’t have a job lined up after after school. And I mean, to that point, I remember, I remember one of the career counselors telling me, despite my, you know, my, my average, or despite my three, four GPA, I remember him telling me like, yeah, that’s what banking is off the table. Like, don’t even bother trying. I’m like, Okay, that’s cool. So, anyways, we are always together again, like it’s, as I’m trying to, like, I’m trying to figure out what to do with my life. I know, I want to enter this finance world, this investing world in some way, shape, or form. And is, unbeknownst to me, you know, over, you know, over the years preceding this, the Texas permanent school fund, institutional endowment base here in Austin. They were building out their private markets program, and in 2012, they decided that they were going to start ramping up the size of the team as they were scaling up the program. So they, they decided they wanted to hire straight out college analyst and I just did my best to make I get crazy for them not to hire me. And that’s that’s ultimately how I, how I fell into the LP world,

Alexa Binns 05:05
you have this very unique perspective as an institutional LP. Can you share with us that story of, or what the strategy is? Is there a specifically for venture capital? Yeah,

Peter Teneriello 05:21
well to? Well, I’m gonna have to back up a couple back up a little bit goo go a bit higher than just like the venture capital lands. Or, you know, the 30,000 foot view is what a lot of people like to say. So, that, like, with institutional pools of capital, like ultimately your your, ultimately your scale and your, your, your governance, like those like that’s, that’s, that’s the tail wagging the dog, like those are ultimately going to inform how you how you invest how you tackle various asset classes, a tackle various strategies, and with pools of capital that large, like, like what we had at the permanent school fund, or where we had Texas, the Texas new sport hiring system later on. And in my career, when you’re investing 20, you know, 2530 $35 billion, that’s ultimately going to inform and decide how you tackle such a niche strategy, like early stage venture capital. You know, for us, I remember at Texas permanent, I mean, we were writing checks, let’s call them the, in the 20 to $50 million range. And, you know, in private equity and venture strategies at Texas Municipal, we had a, we had a higher minimum. I mean, granted, we had a smaller private equity team, when I joined there I was the number two on the program, but never to have two people. So it was, yeah, like we yeah, we were we were very, we were very constrained. Bandwidth wise, there were, we couldn’t, we couldn’t write checks that were, say, five or $10 million, when we had to put out $500 million in commitments a year across cross privates. And so that means that they ultimately, they ultimately pushed us into what they ultimately pushed us into the strategy that we, that we ended up carrying out and deploying with deploying check sizes. And in the 40, let’s call it the 40 to $75 million range, or actually even higher in some cases, but 40 million plus range, and tackling, and tackling and addressing the full the full venture landscape, not just not just playing in the early stage world where again, we were close to being too big to really, to really properly attack it. But again, spending a lot of time in the mid to mid to late stages of adventure. So ultimately, ultimately, the portfolio, I mean, the portfolio, we built the Texas Municipal and the end up being a multi stage multi sector approach that I mean, it did involve partnering with some partnering with a fund of funds to the early stages, but did contain it did. It did also involve direct, direct amendments to a couple released age groups and a couple mid and late stage groups

Alexa Binns 08:28
that bandwidth constraint is so I don’t think people quite think about that when they’re pitching are when they’re thinking about these pools of capital. What does that mean, from a time management perspective? Are you leaning on consultants? Do you limit the number of managers you’re even considering? You

Peter Teneriello 08:49
have to put some limits in place? I mean, in deploying, again, like back in backing into the number of commitments, the number of managers that they ultimately invest with year in and year out. Again, if you’re, if you’re deploying $500 million a year, and you have two people, I mean, 10, like 1010 investment. Yeah, and making 10 new commitments each year, like that, that puts you at a pretty, I mean, I mean, you’re like any more like much more than that. And you’re, you’re you’re going to be feeling constrained. I mean, 10 like 10 commitments, working on the same commitments, working on the diligence, the referencing the legal closing, all that all that work, if we had to do if we had to make more investments, if we’re if we were making, if we were writing smaller checks, and making more investments, then things things would have broke balls would have been drowned. The job would have been, we would have made the job much harder for ourselves. So again, like that’s why that’s why you need too. That’s why you need to, again, make fewer commitments. And write larger checks when you have when you’re not as resourced as, say, some of your other smaller peers,

Earnest Sweat 10:12
Peter, looking back at both the permanent school and municipal municipal retirement system, you were early on on both programs. And so are there any kind of lessons learned for allocators on like, when you’re in an environment like that large pool of capital and starting something new, a new private equity, New Venture Program, what you should be doing,

Peter Teneriello 10:36
when you’re at such an early stage, and I mean, in I mean, especially like texting as well, when I joined the program I was just over two years old, but it was less than 1% of the plan. Those are those early days, those early days are, I mean, they’re marked by just like trying, I mean, trying to reach your target. You’re trying to reach your allocation target, as soon as you can, again, but without breaking the team’s bandwidth and breaking the model. In hindsight, I mean, not not that there is a lower bar for putting out that capital. But again, like when, when you’re feeling the pressure to again, to reach that target, as soon as you can, I mean, yeah, like decisions, like decisions are going to be faster. In you know, if, depending on the target allocation, let’s call it look like you end up you’ll end up making, you know, saying yes to what really are more maybes. That, whereas again, like if you’re if your programs in a steady state, you I mean, you’re at you’re, you’re at your target, you can you can afford to prune much more you can afford to say hey, like, you know, we’re I mean, we’re only going to add one relationship a year, we’re gonna we’re or we’re okay, adding note, no new relationships. There’s just again, like there’s, there’s, there’s less pressure at that steady state points, but again, in the early days, but in the early days, I remember feeling that the pressure to put out capital, and if I could tell myself, if I could tell myself something several years later, it’s that some, yeah, just don’t let that pressure get to you keep the bar is as high as possible. You don’t have to mean, you don’t have to put out capital if you don’t find people that like, meet this exceptionally, exceptionally high bar.

Earnest Sweat 12:45
So go into that bar, that high bar. And how you develop that criteria. What do you think, you know, outside of the fun size, obviously, what do you think are the most important things that fund managers should present when they’re looking at these larger pools of capital?

Peter Teneriello 13:08
I mean, before even reaching that point, managers should really think hard and hard and long about whether or not to even, you know, what, whether or not to even raise money from those institutional pools of capital. Not that the fundraising from family offices or individuals is going to be easier. But again, when he went through the institutional game, that’s mean, it puts it puts you on different track, it puts you on a track that I mean, yeah, like, it’s gonna mean, the fundraising will still be a slog, but there’s, there’s just like, different expectations and different requirements around how you invest how you behave, that, that, that raising institutional money entails. It will, I mean, it will likely push you into a size bracket that when you look back several funds later, I mean, you’ll I get, I guess it’d be tough to even imagine like, you know, like, being staring off of a fun one, you know, $10 million. Now like and like fun, fun three or four and you’re now managing, you know, a $200 million fund. Yeah, it’s, yeah, it ends up you end up just getting pushed into a different game than where you started. And you have to, you have to be able to evolve your approach to investing your approach to firm building over time.

Earnest Sweat 14:39
Yeah, this makes me think of, you know, friends saying like, making that transition from an investor to a fund manager. And when you become institutional and have institutional LPs, there’s definitely a leveling up, where you have to create an actual franchise that is going to continue to go on instead of just some entity that might be gone and two or three funds. Yeah. When I think part of that, in that last response of yours, it also kind of dealt with what is actually the governance structure that I think a lot of fund managers might not understand or smaller allocators might not understand. When you’re at a TMRS. Like, can you talk to us about that governance, on structure and investing? Yeah,

Peter Teneriello 15:31
I mean, governance, in the institutional world, the governance ends up being much more important than investing itself man, it’s what will unlock the ability to invest in the most interesting opportunities. I mean, I mean, across the wall. It’s not it’s not nearly as exciting a topic as, as, I guess, you know, what, like, what types of companies are interesting where, where the markets are going, but it’s why it’s why it LP conferences, you see so many panels that are related to how they’re related to governance, they’re related to how to set up your organization, and design in a way that is going to lead to the best investment outcomes. I mean, with a TMRS, I mean, we reported to a board of trustees midway through my time, well, the first the first couple of years of my time there, we didn’t have discretion. We, any fun commitments, a new, any new fun commitment we were making needed to go before the board. For the ultimate approval, we would hold her icy meetings before then as well, if you like, like opportunities were very well vetted. Up until that point, but you still had, you still had a process where I mean, you just had a longer process, just by having to wait for board meetings to take these recommendations halfway through my time. And fortuitously, just before COVID, February 2020, we had a significant governance change there, we the Board delegated the Board delegated investment decision making authority, up into certain percent of the funds down to the investment team level. So once we had that we were able, and it also coincided with, with the private equity target being moved up from five to 10%. So I mentioned earlier about deploying $500 million a year that then became a billion plus, yeah. So with that change made and then with having more discretion around the decisions we could make, we were able to move a lot faster. We and of course, like with COVID, hitting less than a month later. I mean, I mean, we were able to capitalize on a number of opportunities that I mean, some which were in process, but others that would have been much more difficult journeys much more, just much more difficult to get done. Had we not had the discretion in those first few months of, of, of COVID times.

Alexa Binns 18:33
Are there specific challenges you see institutional LPS facing in today’s market, knowing this sort of like unique LP asset for this unique LP class.

Peter Teneriello 18:45
If you know P doesn’t have their governance, right, then again, like they’re there, they’re just not going to if they don’t have discretion, then they’re not going to be a move fast enough to begin to find those most interesting opportunities. The other I mean, I mean, one of the other issues when the other challenges I saw everyone in the industry facing was falling into the trap of having to fill up buckets that is top level at the top level of of these LPS were asset allocation is decided I mean, you’ll have Yeah, this really oversimplifying it’d be but but you’ll have your public equity bucket, you’ll have your your your fixed income bucket, your private equity bucket, real estate bucket, you have all these different buckets, that once the bucket is created, I mean, it’s I mean, it’s just like this natural. I mean, I mean, there’s this this natural natural gamification that takes place now you want to fill that now you have a net or now you have to fill that you have to staff up staff up a team to again like make these investments that To fill this bucket that again was decided at a very high level, and as time progresses may just become a less attractive area to to invest. I mean look like we mean, it was mentioned the private equity allocation doubling from five to 10%. Again, like having this pressure to, to deploy larger amounts to fill that bucket to hit that target. I, I believe we did it well, but look at a much, I mean, a much cleaner, a much better solution. And one that is just one that’s extremely difficult to implement. But the right I mean, to me, the right thing to do is to have all capital compete with each other have no asset class targets, to make like to take a more, I mean, that will take what’s been called a total portfolio approach to, to how to how or the whole portfolios run, again, like just finding really interesting opportunities on a risk adjusted basis. Yeah, figuring out how to find a way to find those like those, those lower like those low loss ratio, high return or those asymmetric strategies, and not having to worry about oh, like, what, what bucket is this going to be? Because even again, like I, again, like even even at Texas Muni, where I think we did a good job of, of, of combating that, I mean, there are definitely funds that would appear that we’d recognize, okay, like, this is really interesting. But how’s this going to fit in this bucket with this benchmark? And I know that there were a lot of other LPs that face that issue, too, to a much larger degree.

Alexa Binns 21:59
Yeah, this idea of a balanced portfolio that’s set that you’ve made your time delay from when it’s been set by the board, versus what you’re envisioning. We’re sort of flexible. Is there a bucket right now you’re most excited about that. If you were able to sort of up the percentage of asset allocation, you’d, you’d be sort of looking over there looking over here.

Peter Teneriello 22:27
I really hate to prognosticate, like top down prognosticating? I don’t I don’t want to dodge your question, though. Completely, but just like, just be clear, again, like, top down, top down macro forecasts, not my thing. Much, much more bottom up investor, I’ll say that, I’ll say that any strategies that are less reliant on leverage to get done. And in areas where fundraising has been, has really been hit hard these past several years. So I mean, let’s call it like, let’s call it like, Lower Mid market buyouts and growth equity within the private within the private world. And also, and yeah, like, yeah, like, but like those areas are ones that are capital starved, and not reliant on not relying on financial leverage to get deals done, which again, in the buyout world, you I mean, in the bio world, a lot of funds need, they need, they need leverage to get their deals done. Interest rates are super high. So the model is just that that model is really challenged now. So anyways, yeah, like that. That’d be my answer to that. I mean, there’s also been a lot of interest in private credit, over the past couple years, again, like as, as interest rates have risen, as, as yields have begun, like exploded to levels not seen in what feels like an eternity. I mean, that private credit has become something of, it’s become, to me has become a consensus play, it’s become an obvious play, and capital, capital flows have capital flows have been reflecting that. I guess we’ll see what that means for returns. But again, like if you’re going to make, I mean, if you’re going to make, you know, not like above average, or, you know, if you’re going to beat your benchmark, it’s going to require non consensus decisions and investing and again, flowing into the areas where, where all your peers are, are also playing like that’s, I mean, that’s not non consensus, by definition.

Alexa Binns 27:33
Yeah, I think that’s such a healthy reminder for the managers who are listening to this in fundraising mode, because ventures, sort of what they’re looking at 100% of the time, and to remember that you’re the people you’re having conversations with, whether they’re high net worth individuals, or, you know, Ras, etc, they they look at the world very differently than you do with it. This is one place that they could park some cash. You too, are both Kauffman fellows, and we haven’t had a chance to talk Earnest You’ve never had a chance to talk on his podcast about what that program is like. It’s great that you’re both here. What’s the Kauffman Fellows Program? And what do we know about it?

Peter Teneriello 28:19
So I mean, or either me or Earnest can answer that question, I guess. But now the Kauffman fellows it’s, it’s a two year program, meant to gather, mostly venture GPS, but also some, some, some venture LPs, and just bring them all together to better understand how everyone carries out their craft, how people build their firms, how people invest, and ultimately, ultimately help, you know, push procedure forward together when it comes to venture and, and innovation.

Earnest Sweat 28:59
Yeah, it’s amazing, I think of it as like, if B school was a place where everybody was looking to go into the same industry, yeah. And so having that collaboration, of sharing what’s going on within your perspective of or kind of like your firm, and then also seeing the macro. And then also seeing the micro within the macro of other people’s experiences is really really helpful. Now we’re going to take a quick break to speak with our sponsor. Next

Alexa Binns 29:30
up, we have our industry expert and sponsor, Dave Thornton, co-founder, CEO and chief investment officer of vested, who provides funding to exercise your stock options. Thank you so much, Dave, for joining us. So at this point, who uses vested and why

Dave Thornton 29:48
the employees of venture backed companies, the ones that are vested typically when they leave for any reason, and run into this problem where they need funding, but just to kind of provide a little bit of color on to it look into what those reasons could be. So blu ray in a business school is a common reason. Getting poached by Google or Facebook or Apple or whatever is a common reason. Going to another startup for a higher title is a common reason. In the last couple of years, but less so in the last five or six months, getting laid off was a common reason. And we saw a pretty significant uptick in deal volume. Because of that. I don’t know if you remember this. But when the private markets started to crash, and like May of 2022. Sequoia rope this winter is coming. Yeah, and cut

hatch. Now don’t wait. Yeah, all of

Dave Thornton 30:43
The founders, even of companies that were doing just great, did like belts, tightening layoffs. And so there was a pretty significant uptick in deal volume for a while. But those are the reasons that the employees will come to us. And then on the investor side, the folks that are most interested in the product that we build are the folks that have been looking for programmatic access to the venture asset class and haven’t been able to get there for whatever reason. So this breaks down kind of into two large categories. One large category is the wealth management channel, where at the end of the channel, you’ve got a bunch of high net worths that maybe can’t write the $10 million ticket that you need to get into Andreessen. Alternatively, maybe they even could, but they’re nervous about the high octane, but about the variance and returns associated with the venture asset class. And so we’re kind of like a calm, comfortable way to get into the asset class for the first time where we don’t have a huge minimum ticket requirement. In fact, we have a very low minimum ticket requirement. And we’ve got a nice diversified pool of equity so that you don’t feel like you’re taking a zero to one type shot on your first manager. The other larger category that we’re starting to develop now and it started to come down to us in the last year is larger pools of capital. So larger LPs that have wanted to put a significant amount of capital to work in venture but don’t have the infrastructure in place to do so. So in order to do that, you’ve got to have a team that’s ready to source and evaluate potentially 1000s of venture managers in a given year, and you can find the managers you like, but they may not have a vintage that’s open programmatically every year for you. So it’s not that easy to do. And we provide in this very, very large unserved market the opportunity to deploy nine and 10 figures of capital on a yearly basis into ventures in an almost index- like, high quality index, lightweight. So yeah.

Alexa Binns 32:43
And how does that work? I guess, when you’re buying in? What does the index look like? Is it because this is obviously sort of rolling, you’re accepting stock options from people on a daily basis? Yeah,

Dave Thornton 32:58
It’s an interesting question, we’re actually just about to upgrade our business model pretty significantly, which I like a lot. But historically, what we’ve done is we’ve raised committed funds, called all the capital and then deployed it into the option exercise needed that we find on the employee side. And as a result, we kind of get what we get. And we’re selective, and we’re paying attention to the companies. But you know, a given set of companies may have no employees leave in a given six months deployment period. And so we can’t guarantee representation. The pools still end up looking very unconcentrated and diversified from a stage and a stack sector perspective, but it’s a little bit spiky. One of the things that we’re contemplating going forward, and we’re hoping that I handful of the deals that we’re working on right now work out to facilitate this is taking out, think of metaphorically as warehouse and doing all the employee deals into one place, kind of a staging ground, if you will. And when we’ve done enough, and we built up enough inventory, we will look into the inventory, and we will curate a nice pristine portfolio that we can then drop into a fund. And this is something where you don’t have to take as an LP, any manager risk whatsoever, you can kind of look at it ahead of time, kick the tires, decide whether you like the way that the portfolio is constructed or not, and then just press the buy button. So I’m hoping that we can start doing that as our next set of funds, imminently.

Alexa Binns 34:25
Interesting. So you’ll know everything that you’re buying, as opposed to a blind pool of whatever pops in. Yeah, and you

Dave Thornton 34:31
can even conceivably say what you want, like I would love a Series A index stock index, like a fund or a style exposure. Yeah, well, robotics or a best of venture capital, like get me into Sequoia and Andreessen is a request that you could make.

Alexa Binns 34:45
Yeah, yeah. Is there a minimum to participate?

Dave Thornton 34:49
So, up until now, there hasn’t been a hard minimum, although our average ticket size has been in the 100 to 250,000 like Sorry, not the average ticket size but the mass of tickets have been in the 100 250,000 range. That’s probably going to continue for the next set of funds as we move forward. Call it a year or two years out from now. I’m expecting third party evaluated pricing to develop pretty well in this market, which I don’t know if that’s a widely held belief. But I, I’m seeing I’m talking to the people that are doing it right now. And I do expect that we’ll be able to start putting together registered interval funds where we could provide line level pricing, and that passes an audit and is produced by an independent third party evaluated pricing service. And if we can do that, then the minimum ticket size will go away.

Alexa Binns 35:37
Thank you so much, Dave, to start working with vested, you can please email And mentioned this podcast. And now back to our LP interview.

Alexa Binns 38:55
What are those ingredients for a successful partnership from LP to Vc? Curious how people have built relationships with you over time.

Peter Teneriello 39:21
Alignment is the most important ingredient. I mean, I was thinking about that. I was thinking about this for a while. beforehand and everything I like comes back to that a lot. I mean, line and also it’s not just a legal and economic construct. It’s I mean, it’s it’s it’s it’s this attitude, it’s either being one the LP or being either the LP or the GP and fully understanding how the other is going to act throughout. That where expectations get misaligned is where well, I mean, that’s, that’s when bad things happen. That’s when I mean, that’s when firms ultimately, ultimately shut down when LPS when an existing LP base decides that they don’t, they don’t believe this, this GP will be able to, you know, will be able to evolve and make money in the upcoming cycles. Or if they just were even if an LP doesn’t understand how that GP has made money in their most recent fund or in their more recent funds. Again, like if they’re not aligned on those expectations, then the whole thing just kind of falls apart.

Earnest Sweat 41:17
Do you think that that alignment requires you to be on the ELPAC? Or at least have someone that’s similar to you on the ELPAC?

Peter Teneriello 41:30
No, now, l packs, and in my experience, l packs, they they they don’t provide the they don’t provide the protections that they think they would or like there’s no like, there’s no there’s there’s there’s not extra benefits conferred to the LPS that that sound the ELPAC? I mean, maybe like, maybe you find out news before for other LPs, but it’s a lot. I mean, it ends up being much more work for a minimal for real, for a minimal return.

Earnest Sweat 42:11
How do you see the role of limited partners evolving in the future of venture capital? We’re seeing a lot of change. We’re seeing some consolidation, we’re seeing the bifurcation kind of like cottage industry versus acid allocators. How do LPS have a role in that?

Peter Teneriello 42:30
I? I’m not sure if I see that role changing all that often. I mean, in the private equity, and in broader private markets were private market worlds. You’ve you’ve you have seen me you have seen some giant gigantic changes over the past 15 years. That is you have seen more LPs, more institutions trying to emulate their Canadian peers, bringing co-investing and direct investments in house doing their best to basically doing their best to combat combat. Just the, you know, the expensive nature management fees. And so far, I mean, yes, again, so far institutions have, you know, I have been doing well there. I just I don’t I don’t see I don’t see institutions making those changes in the DC world. I mean, there are a couple there are a couple exceptions of me even, that even even a couple of Yeah, even a couple of institutions that basically built out their own Venn direct venture arms. But again, like, I just don’t see, I just don’t see those groups competing with competing with like, the established Gentry of the venture world. I don’t I don’t see them competing. Really. I don’t see them competing with the, you know, the, you know, the best venture investors for the most interesting companies. So I, I again, like I think that venture LPs are like they’re going to stay more passive, they are going to continue to continue backing funds and fund funds even so to a lesser degree. And they’re going to continue disintermediate or they’re there. They’re going to do their best to disintermediate but they they there’s only so far they they can go there’s only so far that they’re that they’re willing to go

Overall, is there one venture capital investment you are most proud of? And what made it what made you so proud of it, and this is a time for you to kind of pat yourself on the back if you want

Peter Teneriello 48:20
During that first year with Texas, Texas Municipal, and we were exploring ways to grow and build our venture capital portfolio. There, I mean, again, like like, we had all these challenges, you know, do your due or scale that they talked about earlier? And so, yeah, over that time, realize, okay, like, we can’t be, like getting a $5 million allocation to XYZ Seed Fund. Like, that’s, that’s not going to be that’s that that’s not gonna be interesting. Anyone that’s gonna get shot down. Well, before and I see. So new, we can do that. We did have an existing relationship with well, with Foundry Group with again, like the, you know, this high like this hybrid, direct slash fund to funds and just through discussions with with their team, we ended up we ended up creating this mean, I mean, over time, and over the course of the next several years, we created several vehicles with them. That that would allow us they’ll give us access to to be interesting funds that that were in their network the interesting funds that they themselves were were backing, but to be doing so like on a Yeah, again, like more customized or more fee advantaged basis that, you know, that would help us solve for, again, our scale and our governance challenges. If I mean I, I was really, I was really lucky to work with, to work with the team that, that, that gave me the trust to help make this make this happen and pull us together. And likewise mean there was a lot of complex legal work and in creating some of these structures. Now,

Alexa Binns 50:23
It’s a very cool opportunity. We’re building something from scratch like that. Any final thoughts for this audience of LPs and VCs?

Peter Teneriello 50:33
Touching on touching on what I mentioned earlier? Well, Chris, Chris Dubeau Smee. He’s, he’s talked a lot publicly. He’s mentioned to me before about investing with courage. And I mean, going a step further. I mean, I say again, like, let’s, let’s treat this work, like, like art, let’s invest with creativity and conviction, let’s partner with people that invest with creativity and conviction. And even though it may feel like it involves career risk, I mean, yes, it does. I’d also say, what’s the point of all this if we’re not going to take interesting risks that, you know, that move the future forward?

Earnest Sweat 51:21
Peter, thanks so much for sharing your insights, being candid, being vulnerable. I wouldn’t expect anything else from a Kauffman fellow. But thanks, man, for being us one minute with alligators.

Peter Teneriello 51:31
Yeah, Earnest Alexa, appreciate it. Yeah, this is great.

Alexa Binns 51:39
See you later, Allocator!

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The Hosts

Earnest Sweat

Earnest Sweat is the Founding Partner of Public School Ventures, a dynamic syndicate of over 600 technical operators, go-to-market specialists, and LPs. Previously, Earnest built new venture capital practices at Prologis and GreatPoint Ventures. His focus is on investing in value chaintech, specifically vertical SaaS, applied AI, middleware, and B2B marketplaces, which are poised to revolutionize foundational industries like real estate, insurance and supply chain. Earnest has sourced and led investments in companies such as Flexport, Flexe, KlearNow, and Lula Insurance.
Alexa Binns

Alexa Binns

Alexa Binns is an angel investor and LP. An experienced investor and operator, she has climbed the ranks from associate to partner at Maven, Halogen, and Spacecadet Ventures and built digital and physical products for Kaiser, Disney, and Target. Alexa has worn every hat in venture from fundraising to sitting on boards. She invests in companies with mass consumer appeal, focusing on the future of shopping, health/wellness, and media/entertainment. Key angel investments include The Flex Co, Sana Health, and Chipper Cash.

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