Warren V. Musser

Biography

In 1949, as a young trainee at a Philadelphia stock brokerage firm, Warren (“Pete”) V. Musser discovered something very important about himself. “I don’t do the best taking instructions from other people,” he recalls. So he and another trainee set out on their own. “We felt we could make freer decisions by ourselves without too much supervision,” he says, noting that trainee pay was so low that they had very little to lose.

The pair set up their own securities company, and then raised $300,000 to start investing client money in the stock market. “With the little bit of money we had, I liked investing in smaller companies because we could afford it,” Musser remembers. “You’re taking a greater risk, but if you’re right, obviously you’re getting the greater reward for investors.” Out of that philosophy grew Safeguard Scientifics, which Mr. Musser founded and headed from 1953 through 2001. Fortune 500 companies such as Novell, Comcast, and QVC were all birthed from Safeguard Scientifics’ investment funds. Mr. Musser’s lifetime of support for entrepreneurship extends to the Fox School, where an endowed visiting professorship in Innovation and Entrepreneurship bears his name, as does the annual Musser Excellence in Leadership Award, the school’s highest honor. Now in its 21st year, the Musser Award recognizes individuals who personify the Fox School leadership ideal: creating exceptional accomplishments that benefit the larger community. “I’ve always felt that in entrepreneurship and innovation, you should look for a service you are an expert in,” Mr. Musser says. “Maybe it’s a service offered by a company you’re already with. You see the demand for this service as increasing, and you can supply it in a different way.”

Temple University Degree
Honorary Degree ’99, Temple University

Title & Company

  • Chairman and CEO, The Musser Group, a private equity and venture capital firm specializing in investments in incubation and buyout transactions and emerging growth companies
  • Founder of Safeguard Scientifics, a provider of capital and relevant expertise to technology-driven businesses. Under the leadership of Mr. Musser, the company had an all-star roster of clients, including three that became Fortune 500 companies: Novell, Comcast, and QVC

Temple University Awards & Affiliatons

  • Musser Award for Excellence in Leadership, 1997
  • Chairman’s Circle
  • Former Dean’s Council, Fox School of Business

What I wanted to be when I was 20 years old
A naval aviator

Best piece of advice anyone ever gave me
Go by the Golden Rule — “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”