ANDOVER, Mass. – In yet another blow to the CMGI @Ventures program, three general partners and one managing partner have left the floundering unit. Moreover, one industry headhunter said more defections could be forthcoming as some of the remaining @Ventures investors are hurriedly shopping their own resumes.
The most notable name in this summer’s @Ventures exodus is Managing Director Jon Callaghan, who had once worked with Summit Partners and served as founder and chief executive officer of Mountain Bike Outfitters. He has since found a home at JAFCO Ventures, which announced Callaghan as its newest managing director last month.
There is not yet any word on the future professional fortunes of the three GPs who left – Scott Case, Gary Curtis and Josh Daniels – but many potential employers may have trouble getting past the trio’s association with CMGI.
“It’s definitely an albatross around their necks when it comes to [finding new work],” said the headhunter. “[They’ve] got some strong backgrounds outside of CMGI but I think the negative reaction to CMGI is something that they need to overcome.”
John Stevens, a CMGI spokesperson, declined to comment on specific partners, instead saying that any possible changes were simply part of an ongoing “repositioning” of @Ventures and that there were no plans to dismantle the investment program.
That theme was first heard September 2000, when CMGI announced a top-to-bottom corporate restructuring. At the time, @Ventures’ Peter Mills said, “Nothing is happening with our staff… [and] it is a non-event for [our portfolio companies].”
Former CMGI chief financial officer Andrew Hajducky seconded that emotion in March when he took time out of a second quarter earnings call to reaffirm support for future venture investments.
The truth, however, is that the firm has merely maintained its investment stakes in some existing portfolio companies, without officially adding anything – or anyone – new to its investment roster. Not only has its $3 billion in funding and 12 active investment partners been whittled down to five active partners and uncertain purse strings, but some investors like Mills are stuck trying to salvage dotcom train wrecks like CMGI operating company Alta Vista Co.
“It’s not the best situation,” admitted a source still with the firm.
In addition to Callaghan, Case, Curtis and Daniels’ departures, former GPs Brad Garlinghouse, Charles Finnie and Bill Hawkins have also left @Ventures within the past year. So too have two of the outfit’s three analysts and Hajducky, who at one time attended almost all @Ventures partners meetings.