Friend leaves Maven in midst of fund-raising

Vanguard Ventures co-founder Jack Gill has agreed to join emerging manager Maven Venture Partners, according to sources familiar with the Silicon Valley firm. The move comes after Maven co-founding Partner Marc Friend left the firm this summer.

Jack Gill is the father of Maven co-founder Jennifer Gill Roberts. When contacted in mid-September, she declined to discuss the firm’s personnel changes, on advice from her counsel, since Maven is still in the midst of raising its inaugural fund. The target for the fund is $150 million.

Prospective LPs say that the senior Gill, who lives in Houston, Texas, will bring some gravitas to Maven, which was formed last year to invest in early stage companies that develop “applications, services and software platforms that enable mobility.”

In an email she to VCJ in August, Gill Roberts wrote: “We’ve recently added a new partner to the Maven team, a 20+ year serial entrepreneur and venture pioneer who built a top-tier early stage venture platform, delivered top quartile returns over multiple funds and whose success compliments our mobility thesis.”

She co-founded Maven with Friend and George Richard, a former telecom executive. They later added Laura Gwosden as a CFO. Gwosden was previously a CFO at ComVentures, Red Rock Ventures and Vanguard.

Friend and Gill Roberts met as co-investors in software startup Everypath Inc. At the time, Friend was with U.S. Venture Partners, while Gill Roberts was a general partner with Sevin Rosen Funds. Friend later joined Summit Partners, but both began to feel that their respective funds were growing too large to accommodate early stage investing.

The team began circulating documents earlier this year for an inaugural fund. Limited partners say they weren’t terribly impressed. Gill Roberts didn’t have many positive exits to her name, while Friend’s stronger ROI resume was partially marred by his work on the Summit Accelerator fund (even though he helped turn it around a bit before leaving).

In her email, Gill Roberts wrote that Maven’s first fund is “on track for a first close this fall.” While fund-raising, the Maven team has been actively looking at deals. “Over the past year we have diligenced 100+ deals and have funded three pioneering early stage mobility companies,” Gill Roberts wrote. She did not name the three startups.

Word of Friend’s departure from Maven began circulating in early summer. He did not respond to requests for comment. —Dan Primack