As much time as VCs spend with our portfolio companies, it’s important to remember that our jobs are actually to see them move on to greener pastures. Of course working closely with these companies – often over several years – one can’t help but get attached to some of them. So it’s often with mixed emotion that I see companies move on to the next chapter in their lives. It’s the natural lifecycle of investing and is absolutely key to the performance of our jobs (performance which is measured solely by the amount of money we return to our LPs). Still, it’s a bummer to stop working on a daily basis with some of the great people that run these companies. Around the end of the year two companies with which I work closely were sold and I thought now would be a good time to acknowledge some of the great people who helped make these businesses successful (and whom I will miss working with). First, Xaffire was sold to Quest Software (no official announcement to point to, but the deal was closed recently and the Xaffire web site now lists them as a Quest company). I’ve referenced Dave Jilk a number of times in this blog (and he’s a frequent commenter to posts). I first met Dave when he interviewed me for my job at Mobius (he was at the time the CEO of a different portfolio company and prior to that had been an associate at Mobius). I’ve worked with Dave in varying capacities over the past 4+ years. I know I’llsee him frequently (we ski together often), but I’ll miss the day-to-day interaction with him.
In more public news, Commerce5 was sold just before the end of the year to Digital River. Commerce5 is a great example of an outstanding management team really sticking with a business through tuff times (the company is an outsource provider of e-commerce services) to create real business value. I got to know CEO Rob Hagen extremely well over the past 2 years – even staying at his house when I was out in Aliso Viejo. He, Jan Nugent, PJ Bellomo and Geoff VanHaeren are outstanding business leaders and fantastic people.
Congrats to these companies – I’ll miss them both.