Here are the latest moves in the Silicon Valley venture/executive world:
Shai Agassi, heir apparent at SAP, steps down — The 38-year-old Agassi, the Silicon Valley-based president of Software company SAP, was being groomed for the chief executive job, but became impatient. Stepping down, he has bold plans to help convert his native Israel and its neighbor Jordan into fuel-less economies with nationwide electronic transportation systems. That’s a noble vision, and we wish him well. (See story in Merc.)
Tim Chang joins Norwest Venture Partners — The electrical engineer and Stanford MBA (bio here) has departed venture firm Gabriel Venture Partners, and will take his trade to Norwest. He made the move, he said, because Norwest gives him a better platform to exploit his experience in Asia — namely, Japan, Korea and China. A principal, he’ll focus on “next generation” companies serving the mobile phone. Users won’t be firing up a browser on their phone and going to a portal, he argues. Rather, they’ll configure RSS feeds to pull content to their phone. Aside the orange RSS buttons you currently see on Web pages, you’ll soon see “mobilize me” buttons, to facilitate the shift to mobile, he argues.
Saar Gur moves to Charles River Ventures — Gur, 30, has had a colorful history since moving to Silicon Valley from Pittsburgh in 2001 to attend Stanford business school. Unperturbed by the valley’s post-bubble funk when he graduated in 2003, he and a partner raised about $12 million and bought what appeared to be a bunch of undervalued businesses and land in Connecticut. Within two years, he’d sold it, making three times his investment. That gave him the confidence to dabble. He helped run marketing company Adteractive, but left to invest in and help a variety of start-ups, from RockYou, to Admob and Flixster — all of them showing decent momentum. He was also co-founder of Brightroll. He’s known to have a big Rolodex. At CRV, where he is a junior partner, he’ll invest in consumer Internet, mobile and energy. Susan Wu, btw, has also been promoted to junior partner. CRV has recently become one of the more lively and impressive venture teams in the valley.
Sue Siegel joins Mohr Davidow Ventures as partner — Siegel helped build Affymetrix, joining in 1998 as a sales exec in 1998. The company pioneered “GeneChip” technology, which helped with personalized medicine. Siegel was most recently president at the company; she saw it grow to $300M in sales. She worked at GE
Healthcare, E. I. DuPont, Eastman Kodak, and Bio-Rad Labs. She’s on the board of stealth company, Pacific Biosciences. She brings MDV’s healthcare team to three partners.