5 questions with Jim Moran

Jim Moran was introduced late last week as the newest partner with North Bridge Venture Partners, after most recently serving as CEO of North Bridge portfolio company Convergence, which sold to Acme Packet in May.

Before that, Moran also worked at eDocs, Virtusa and CheckFree.

PE Week Editor-at-Large Dan Primack posed five questions to Moran last week while the new VC was in the midst of relocating from Columbus, Ohio, to Boston.

Q: Why move over to the dark side of venture capital?


[Laughs] I hear people call it the dark side quite often. I gave it a lot of thought and, quite frankly, think that this is a great point in time to get into the venture business. Maybe about half of the funds out there right now are going to go away, and the venture economics are going to go back to what they looked like in the early or mid-1990s.

The other important driving force is that I think I have a lot to offer entrepreneurs with game-changing technologies, because I’ve been through four successful exits in difficult economic climates.

Q: What do you bring North Bridge that it doesn’t already have?


North Bridge has a great reputation and has historically had great returns with a lot of successful folks, so I kind of see myself as additive. As the partnership has evolved, with two funds [a venture fund and a growth equity fund] raised in the past 15 months I think I can use my operational experience to go out and harvest a network that North Bridge might not yet be tied into.

Q: Convergence raised about $46 million in VC funding and sold for just over $22 million worth of Acme Packet stock. Is that successful from a VC perspective?


From a venture perspective? No, probably not. When the initial capital went in, I assume the hopes and dreams were better than that.

Q: North Bridge was only an early stage firm. Now it’s added a growth funds. How do those two things mesh?


North Bridge has always been very comfortable competing in an environment with less overall capital available, including seed stage deals. In fact, we have two seed stage companies operating in our offices right now, and two others just moved into their own offices and raised Series A rounds.

I’m on that venture side of the business, but we’re kind of joined at the hip with the growth team. Prior to joining North Bridge, I was looking at two later stage deals, as a result of my personal network. We even did due diligence on one of them here, although we didn’t end up doing it. The businesses are different, but very complimentary.

I wouldn’t want to say that we can be there cradle to grave, but maybe cradle to big liquidity event.

Q: The announcement of you joining came last week, but you began work at North Bridge two months ago. Are you near your first deal, or have we possibly seen it already?


You haven’t seen it already. I have a few things in my personal pipeline I’m managing and am doing due diligence to see if we might want to invest. I don’t want to rush anything.

I only want to work with smart people who’ll be fun and interesting to be around, and who have disruptive ideas for very big markets. That might sound a bit trite, but if there is a potential moneymaker where the team is difficult or otherwise undesirable, I just won’t do it.