About that Beaver Coat …

Charley Lax loves a good cigar.

A veteran VC and co-founder of GrandBanks Capital in Wellesley, Mass., Lax carries cigars in a pocket humidor for whenever the urge hits him.

He’s also a bit of an evangelist, regularly hosting cigar functions around the Boston area, and has earned a reputation as a true aficionado. Earlier this year, famed cigar maker Rakesh “Rocky” Patel invited him to tour the Rocky Patel factory and farms in Honduras.

As much as Lax loves his cigars, his companion, Michele D. Picard, doesn’t want him smoking in their house outside of Boston. That’s just fine for most of the year, when he can light up on his porch. But it’s a real problem, come winter. You can’t really enjoy a Partagas when the temperature is below freezing,

Michele’s solution was to buy Lax a full length beaver coat. Never mind that the getup makes him look like an overage frat boy from the Roaring ‘20s. He loves it. The coat keeps him warm and it doesn’t absorb the smell of cigar smoke, he says.

The good-natured Lax was happy to share a photo of him posing in his winter smoking gear. Looks downright cozy.

Secretive VC Can’t Avoid His 15 Minutes

As a general partner at In-Q-Tel, the venture arm launched by the CIA, Mark Breier can’t talk much about what he does. Seen at Y Combinator’s Demo Day last month, Breier declined to say what he was browsing for at the conference, which featured numerous companies in the seed stage of development.

Despite being tight-lipped about his work, Breier pointed out that he’s had plenty of media attention lately, outside of his VC duties. The father of three boys, he recently wrote a blog post about balancing family life with youth sports, which led to an interview with the Wall Street Journal, followed by an appearance on “The Today Show.”

The article, in the July 21 edition of the Journal, was called “Kids Quit the Team for More Family Time” and told of how Breier refused to let one of his sons join an elite traveling basketball team in junior high because it would have cut into family holidays. He tells his sons that the highest goal of sports should really be life-long fitness.

Herron Defends VCs

Christine Herron, a principal at First Round Capital, may be a onetime entrepreneur, but she remains a staunch VC supporter.

Herron, who previously founded Mercury2, a software-as-a-service developer of international trade logistics systems, last month took part in FailChat, a gathering of entrepreneurs to share ideas about how to get funding and what pitfalls to avoid. Herron and the other panelists mostly swapped stories about what they learned from launching startups and answered questions from the audience about alternative sources of funding and other tips.

One of the funniest exchanges, though, came when an entrepreneur said, in reference to raising capital, that he didn’t want to give up control to a VC.

Herron, who’s been with First Round since 2008, following a stint at Omidyar Network, replied: “Why are founders worried about losing control? What do you think people will make you do?”

Now Romney Supports Him

Rick Snyder

, who frequently calls himself a nerd, is still in the race to be the first VC to become governor of Michigan.

Snyder, co-founder of Ann Arbor-based venture firm Ardesta, launched his statewide ad campaign during the Super Bowl in February, and last month won the state’s primary to become the Republican gubernatorial candidate. He faces Democratic challenger Virg Bernero in the Nov. 2 election.

Snyder has used his VC experience as a selling point to voters, and he now has a well-known investor in his corner: Mitt Romney, the former Bain Capital pro who ran for president in 2008. Romney visited Michigan in late August to drum up support for Snyder. In a bit of a twist, Romney was in Michigan four months earlier campaigning for Snyder’s Republican opponent, Pete Hoekstra, who came in second in the primary.

Doerr Can’t Deny Gates

John Doerr

—who once teared up a TED conference in 2007 when he cited his daughter’s concern over global warming—is putting his money where his mouth is.

Last month, Doerr, a partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and his wife Ann joined a list of 40 billionaires who agreed to donate at least half of their fortunes to charity, as part of “The Giving Pledge” program launched earlier this year by Bill Gates and Warren Buffet.

In addition to the Doerrs, the list of givers includes such tech luminaries as Larry Ellison, Paul Allen and eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and his wife Pam.