People in the news, May 28, 2007

Levandov to head Boston office of Avalon

La Jolla, Calif.-based Avalon Ventures has hired Rich Levandov as general partner and plans to open a satellite office in Boston, PE Week has learned. A formal announcement will likely wait until Avalon finishes raising its eighth fund.

Levandov is still listed as a general partner of Masthead Venture Partners. Prior to co-founding Masthead in 1997, he was a partner with Softbank Technology Ventures and, before that, was vice president of business development for AOL and co-founder of Phoenix Technologies.

Levandov did not respond to requests for comment. He sits on the board of such companies as Liquid Machines, NewsGator Technologies and Tremor Network.

Tirabassi joins M/C

Salvatore Tirabassi

has joined M/C Venture Partners as a partner. Last year, M/C raised $550 million for fund VI, which invests in communications services and related technologies. Tirabassi was with Dolphin Equity Partners for the previous seven years. His board seats at Dolphin included Airband, Epic Cycle, Gomez, MaxPreps, SilverCarrot, The Guild, Vercuity and VitalStream.

Quaker adds Oliva

Adele Cirone Oliva

has joined Quaker BioVentures as a partner, with a focus on life sciences opportunities in the Mid-Atlantic region. The move is effective next month, at which point Oliva will leave her post as co-head of U.S. health care for Apax Partners.

Norwest garners Gainer in operating role

Jeffrey Gainer has joined Norwest Equity Partners as an operating partner, focused on standalone and add-on opportunities within the technology and business services markets. He was a founding partner of Wessels Arnold & Henderson.

Ramsey heads to NEA

Mike Ramsey

has joined New Enterprise Associates as a venture partner, where he will focus on consumer opportunities out of NEA’s Menlo Park, Calif.-based office. Ramsey is co-founder and former chairman and CEO of TiVo.

Murray to advise Calera

Michael Murray

has joined the advisory board of Calera Capital, a middle-market private equity firm formerly known as Fremont Partners. Murray most recently was head of corporate and I-banking with Bank of America. Calera raised just over $900 million for its third buyout fund, Fremont Partners III, in 2002.

Venrock boosts staff again

Ilya Levtov

has joined Venrock as a vice president in the venture firm’s Menlo Park, Calif.-based office. Levtov will focus on digital media opportunities, and previously was in the business development team of Spot Runner.

Iowa pension fund corrals Koch

The Iowa Public Employees’ Retirement System has named Karl Koch as its new chief investment officer, following the December retirement of Kathy Comito. Koch previously was head of the IPERS private equity program. It remains unclear if the $23 billion system will name a new private equity chief, or if Koch will continue directly managing the assets.

Castagna joins Piper Jaffray

David Castagna

has agreed to join Piper Jaffray as a managing director and co-head of tech I-banking, effective in August. He currently is a managing director and head of tech, media and telecom I-banking with Cowen & Co. —PE Week staff