David Aronoff today is expected to join IDG Ventures Boston, after having spent the past nine years as a general partner with Greylock. The move is described as amicable by both sides, with Aronoff maintaining Greylock-related board seats with Mazu Networks Inc., Ounce Labs Inc. and Sandburst Corp.
“My time at Greylock was a fantastic indoctrination into venture capital, but I had an overwhelming feeling that it was time to do something new, and more entrepreneurial,” explains Aronoff, who had also held talks with at least two other suitors.
His decision to pick IDG Ventures Boston rested largely on his comfort level with the firm, which has deep Greylock roots. Chip Hazard left Greylock to become IDG Ventures Boston’s second general partner in May 2002. Third general partner Jeff Bussgang signed on in January 2003, after having co-founded Greylock portfolio company UPromise Inc.
Also, founding partner Michael Greeley previously worked with Polaris Venture Partners, and had graduated from Harvard Business School (HBS) the same year as Hazard’s wife, while Aronoff and Bussgang had been friends while also schooling at HBS (graduating in 1995 and 1996, respectively).
Aronoff also liked the idea of the young firm doing pure early stage investing, and felt that his domain expertise was a good complement to existing competencies within IDG Ventures Boston. He began his pre-VC career at Bell Labs, where he developed secure network systems for Department of Defense customers.
He then co-founded the Attitude Network (acquired by TheGlobe.com) and was a senior executive with Chipcom (later acquired by 3COM). As a venture capitalist, some of Aronoff’s biggest hits have included SiTera (which was acquired by Vitesse Semiconductor in 2000 for $750 million in stock) and Xros Inc. (which Nortel acquired in 2000 for $3.35 billion in stock).
Aronoff was named to Forbes magazine’s Midas List of the top 100 venture capitalists in both 2004 and 2005 (No. 99 and No. 73, respectively).
Bill Helman, a general partner with Greylock since 1984, says that he wishes Aronoff well, adding that there are no concerns that his venerable firm is becoming a training ground for IDG Ventures Boston. “David was our fourth-oldest general partner, so we’re a pretty young firm,” Hellman says.
IDG Ventures Boston recently wrapped up fund-raising on its $180 million IDG Ventures Atlantic II vehicle, which represents the first time that any IDG Ventures office has raised capital from sources other than International Data Group Inc. IDG Ventures also has offices in Silicon Valley, London, China and Vietnam.