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Ravi Chiruvolu

Venture capitalist Ravi Chiruvolu is apparently throwing in the towel on the business, and joining the hedge fund rush, according to VentureWire item today (sub required).

It is significant because seasoned investor Roger McNamee told us more than a year ago that he decided not to do a hedge fund, because everyone else was doing one, and it was a sure way to get killed unless you have some sort of momentum, special insight or value to add.

We’ve been following Ravi over the years, as he moved through the VC industry, from Alta, to Charter, to GKM. Ravi’s very open about the lessons he’s learned, and we wrote a piece about him here a few years ago. He’s now 37. Anyway, according to the VentureWire story, Ravi does have an answer for McNamee. Next year, he plans to launch Top Shelf Capital, a hedge fund to operate from Palo Alto, and he’s doing it on a hunch that some public companies remain undervalued. He took note when publicly listed Niku had a market value of $15 million in 2002, and was then bought for $350 million in 2005.

But Ravi, we can’t help rubbing this in: You’re the guy who told us two years ago you’d never have made an investment in Google, right? ;)

Btw, note that hedge funds are starting to encroach on VC territory in some areas, investing for example in biotech companies that traditionally have taken their capital from VCs.