SAN FRANCISCO – Attorney Hank Barry made the transition to venture capitalist this summer when he joined Hummer Winblad Venture Partners from the law firm Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati.
As a partner at Wilson Sonsini, Barry served as counsel to several Hummer Winblad portfolio companies, including networking company Net Dynamics and digital music Internet site Liquid Audio. The idea behind making a jump to VC grew out of a conversation he had with General Partner Ann Winblad during a board meeting of one of Hummer Winblad’s companies.
Barry worked part-time with the software and Internet-focused Hummer Winblad in early August and became a full-time partner there at the end of the month.
“We really felt that he added a lot more value to the companies than just the legal-services function,” Winblad said. Barry will be involved in deal making and supporting Hummer Winblad’s portfolio companies. His new job as a full-fledged venture capitalist will resemble his days as a lawyer advising young companies. He will, however, not serve as the venture firm’s in-house attorney.
“I really enjoy growing companies, and … the part of my law practice that I liked the best was helping people to think about strategic decisions,” he said.
Barry worked at Wilson Sonsini since 1994, and before that he was a partner at the law firm Cooley Godward L.L.P., having joined them in 1986. He specialized in corporate securities and worked mainly with venture-backed companies.
Barry will work on Hummer Winblad IV, a fund launched in early June (VCJ, July, page 6) targeting $300 million. It is slated to wrap in September on $310 million, Winblad said. She declined to name limited partners or disclose terms of the fund, although she characterized them as standard.
Barry will be a fourth partner at Hummer Winblad, joining John Hummer, Mark Gorenberg and Winblad. Bill Gurley, formerly a partner at the firm, left earlier this year to join Benchmark Capital (VCJ, May, page 30). Hummer Winblad might add another partner in the next few years, but the firm is not conducting an active search, Winblad said.