Crescendo Nabs Grogan-Crane, Readies $650M Close –

PALO ALTO, Calif. – Crescendo Ventures hired Richard Grogan-Crane as a general partner in late June. He previously served as vice president of Oracle Ventures, Oracle Corp.’s venture capital arm. The move comes as part of Crescendo’s effort to bulk up its investment staff in advance of the firm’s final close on the $650 million Crescendo IV fund, planned for early August.

The firm, an early-stage communications and Internet infrastructure investor, was looking to add an additional partner to keep pace with the growing amount of capital it has under management, as well as to increase its knowledge base in communications software, said Partner David Spreng. “Richard has the right combination of experiences we wanted. He has early-stage investing experience from Oracle, as well as practical operating experience as the founder of a start-up and he possesses a strong international background,” Spreng added.

Grogan-Crane worked at Oracle from 1995 to 2000, where he was vice president of strategic development looking to identify markets Oracle needed to expand into, and then moved on to directing Oracle Ventures’ early-stage investing program. Previously, he was a vice president of marketing and business in Europe at Lotus Development Corp. from 1990 to 1995. While in college in the U.K., Grogan-Crane founded ABS Systems, a start-up that built and sold personal computers.

Grogan-Crane said he made the decision to jump from corporate venturing to the sometime wild and woolly world of a VC firm, because he wanted his efforts to be part of the firm’s focus. “For a corporation, their VC arm is just a part of their business….it’s a good place to work, but it’s not the focus of the business. Ultimately, you want to be at a place where it’s a focus,” he noted, adding, “I’ve spent 15 years in the software industry and I’m looking to expand myself by working for a proper VC.” His decision to come to Crescendo was base, in part, on Spreng’s vision of working to make Crescendo into one of the top tier VC firms in the marketplace.

The firm’s latest vehicle is expected to back about 30 to 35 companies with an average deal size just north of $15 million, Spreng said. The fund will invest world wide with 25% to 30% of the fund’s capital going toward European deals, he added. “We only invest out of one fund. We don’t have a separate European fund, because we think that is the wrong way to go about things. This way all our investment professionals are focusing on developing the same portfolio of companies,” Spreng noted. To date, the fund has done 22 deals representing about $325 million in committed capital.

With the addition of Grogan-Crane, Crescendo’s investment team now numbers nine professionals comprised of eight general partners and one principal. The firm also has a staff of seven research professionals and three business development team members. Spreng said the firm will add an additional general partner with significant communications industry experience to its London office in the next month or so.