Episode 06: Peter Rowan, Angel Investor & Angel in Residence at Sultan Ventures and XLR8UH


Peter discusses ad agencies in New York, learning Russian, Investing in Redbox, and negotiating tactics

Veteran Angel investor Peter Rowan sits down to discuss all of his experiences on his journey from Russian History major to Corporate Vice President at Coinstar. Peter is currently an Angel in Residence for Sultan Ventures where he works with portfolio companies actively through mentorship and advisory roles. Peter has a BA in in Russian History from Cornell University, an MA in International Policy Studies and an MBA from Monterey Institute of International Studies.

During his tenure at Coinstar, the company grew from $150 million to $1.3 billion in revenue, entered new lines of business and introduced innovative growth initiatives like its DVD kiosks, money transfer, and e-payment programs. At Coinstar, Peter led more than 20 acquisitions, investments and divestitures, including its investment in Redbox.


Books mentioned

Inner Circle by Peter Rowan

The Lizard Cage by Karen Connelly

Authors mentioned

Isabel Allende

Podcasts mentioned

Roman Mars – Episode 194 “Bone Records”

Steve Blank

Entrepreneurs mentioned

Jason Tanzer

Greg Meyer

Companies mentioned



2:51 – Why Peter decided to major in Russian Studies

4:45 – Studying abroad at Leningrad State University

7:25 – Interesting experiences that occurred from speaking Russian

9:02 – Russian fluency coming in handy at Coinstar

10:12 – Peter’s first job out of college

13:00 – Peter’s introduction to business

14:50 – Citizens sneaking vinyls into the USSR in the 50’s

16:30 – Trying to sneak a painting out of Russia

19:11 – Peter’s transition into writing and the inspiration for his book Inner Circle

22:50 – Peter’s writing process

27:28 – Working in New York at T3media

30:18 – Giving up the city life and selling

33:20 – Becoming the head of new ventures at Coinstar

37:21 – Coinstar’s transition into DVD’s

42:20 – The effectiveness of the Coinstar machines

47:01 – How Coinstar became the owners of Redbox

49:35 – How Peter convinced the Coinstar executives that Redbox was a good investment

53:23 – A couple entrepreneurs that Peter admires

55:54 – Tips for entrepreneurs in the negotiating process

1:02:25 – The power of No

1:05:25 – What Peter looks for when deciding whether to invest in a company or not

1:10:52 – Susan Yamada’s question for Peter

1:14:46 – Rapid fire Q&A: Favorite thing about Hawaii, favorite place to run, favorite blog or podcast, best book you’ve recently read, startup founder that you admire, final tips for entrepreneurs

1:20:00 – Bonus talks