From Founder To VC: Ilana Stern Joins Peterson Ventures As GP

Early-stage venture fund Peterson Ventures has tapped Ilana Stern, the former founder of a company it backed eight years ago, to serve as general partner of the Utah-based firm.

Stern founded San Francisco-based Weddington Way, a direct-to-consumer brand aimed at helping millennials shop for special occasions, in 2011.

At Peterson, Stern will focus on investing in companies in the consumer and enterprise sectors.

Ben Capell, general partner at Peterson Ventures, agrees, saying Stern’s ability to connect to founders on a personal level and “obsession with building products, brands and experiences with the end consumer in mind” made her a good fit for the firm.

Capell added that Stern’s appointment “was a long time in the making, sort of a 10-year interview.” Stern was a student of Joel Peterson’s (the firm’s founder) at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business and then the firm was an early investor in Weddington Way.

Peterson learned Stern was exploring venture after the firm got reference calls from some Bay Area funds she was talking to.

As an individual investor and advisor, Stern backed a number of companies that she said span the next generation of consumer brands and tech as well as the next generation of B2B businesses that will power them, something she described as “commerce infrastructure.”

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