Warren Van Dyke "Pete" Musser (December 15, 1926 – November 25, 2019) was the chairman of the Musser Group. He was the founder of Safeguard Scientifics, a venture capital firm that invested in technology companies. At the peak of the dot-com bubble, Musser was a billionaire on paper; however, when the bubble burst, he lost almost his entire fortune.
Warren Van Dyke Musser
December 15, 1926
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, U.S.
|Died||November 25, 2019 (aged 92)|
Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, U.S.
|Occupation||Chairman of the Musser Group|
|Known for||Billionaire on paper during the dot-com bubble|
Musser was a philanthropist and The Musser Foundation has donated over $50 million to organizations including the Boy Scouts of America. Musser has served on the board of directors of the Cradle of Liberty Council. The Musser Award for Excellence in Leadership from Fox School of Business and Management at Temple University and the Musser Scout Reservation in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, are named after Musser.
Early life and educationEdit
In 1955, his company acquired Safe-Guard Corporation and in 1966, Musser's firm changed its name to Safeguard Industries. Musser invested in technology companies in Philicon Valley such as QVC, Comcast, and Novell, which resulted in a $200 million profit.
In March 1996, when Ken Fox and Walter Buckley left Safeguard Scientifics to form Internet Capital Group (later Actua Corporation), they asked Musser for $5 million in funding, but he insisted on investing $15 million. At the height of the dot-com bubble, the company had a market capitalization of almost $60 billion, making Musser a paper billionaire.
On November 29, 2000, after the burst of the dot-com bubble, to repay a loan, Musser was forced to sell 6.5 million of his shares in Safeguard Scientifics for $8.25 per share, or $53.7 million. The stock price was down over 90% from the peak of $99 per share 9 months earlier. This left him with 560,000 shares in the company.
In 2003, Musser defaulted on a $26.5 million loan from Safeguard Scientifics.
Musser's son, Craig, a renowned kaleidoscope artist under the name Van Dyke, was partnered with Bruce Darda, a New York based tech executive, at the time of his death from AIDS in 1986.
Musser spent lavishly on his residences, building his-and-hers tennis courts on his Nantucket residence and spending $100,000 on special garage doors.
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- Berenson, Alex (March 29, 2002). "Board Member Of Tyco Unit Owed Millions To 2 Executives". The New York Times.
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- Kostelni, Natalie (April 15, 2002). "Musser to step down as trustee of Brandywine". American City Business Journals.
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- "THE AIDS MEMORIAL on Instagram: "— Eric Ashworth (November 6, 1957 — July 20, 1997) was a literary agent who died of AIDS in Manhattan. He was 39 years old. . Ashworth…"". Instagram. Retrieved April 17, 2019.
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