Walter grew up in Geneva, Switzerland and is a dual citizen of Austria and the United States. He is an engineer and former managing partner of Summit Partners with 36 years of experience as an investor from seed through growth stage.
Walter started his VC career at the first seed venture capital firm (Crosspoint) in 1985 and then helped build one of the first growth private equity funds (Summit) in 1989. In 2013, he helped launch SignalFire as one of the first investors in the management company and in 2016 took on a more active role as executive chairman and Chief Investment Officer to help guide strategy and serve as a mentor to the investment staff.
At Summit, Walter was responsible for establishing the firm’s West Coast investment presence and growing the firm from $100 million under management to over $20 billion. He was a member of Summit’s Board and management leadership group for over 20 years, after co-leading a successful leveraged recapitalization of Summit in 1999. He started his professional career as a software engineer in the computer graphics industry.
Over his venture capital career, Walter has invested in more than 70 companies and helped more than 60 companies exit profitably for founders and investors alike. He was selected 6 times to the Forbes Midas List of top venture capital investors in the United States. He continues to be an active angel investor and has invested in such notable companies as First Republic Bank, Lyft, Palantir, Robinhood, Trade Desk and Twitter.
Walter received a BS from Oregon State University, an MS from Caltech, both in engineering, and an MBA from UCLA. He serves as a member of the Board of Trustees at Caltech and is a past director of the National Venture Capital Association.
Walter and his wife Marcia are active philanthropists having founded the Kortschak Scholars Program for Ph.D. students in computer science at Caltech and the USC Kortschak Center for Learning and Creativity at the University of Southern California. They also endowed the Division Chair in Film and Television Production at the USC Cinematic Arts.
Walter divides his time between Aspen and London. Outside of investing, he enjoys alpine ski racing and biking and will occasionally escape to his ranch on the north shore of Kauai, which has the distinction as the film location for Jurassic Park.