Dealmaker Tim Chang Joins Mayfield

The moss won’t be growing under this rolling stone anytime soon.

Tim Chang, a high-profile fixture at Palo Alto, Calif.-based Norwest Venture Partners for the past five years, has taken a new job as managing director at Menlo Park, Calif.-based Mayfield Fund.

He tells VCJ that he could be announcing his first deals at his new fund in the near future.

“We’re already working on finding them,” he says. “We’re meeting with lots of companies… lots of entrepreneurs have been reaching out.”

At Norwest, Chang focused on mobile, gaming and digital media, and he led the firm’s investments in China. He’ll stick closely to that same game plan in his new position.

Looking ahead, Chang says he’s still working out his representations with his investments at Norwest. Currently, he serves on the advisory boards of the Verizon 4G Venture Forum, GameStop Corp., Yoshimoto Kogyo, the Silicon Valley Telecom Council, MIT/Stanford VLAB and CasualConnect, according to the Mayfield Fund press release.

“We’d like to keep a relationship with them,” Chang says. “A lot of the CEOs I worked with at Norwest would still like to work together, so it is possible that I might keep a relationship with them in the future.”

Chang had a great year for exits in 2010, following DeNA’s acquisition of ngmoco and Disney’s purchase of Playdom. The two portfolio company exits added up to a combined market value of more than $1.1 billion. The exits helped him earned him the No. 87 spot on Forbes 2011 Midas List of top 100 VC dealmakers.

Chang’s activity in China is a natural fit for him, since he fluently speaks Mandarin and Japanese, as well as English.

The 38-year-old Chang says that he learned Mandarin growing up in a Chinese-speaking household in the United States. He then picked up Japanese during his five years on the job in Japan earlier in his career when he worked as a product manager at Gateway and as a development engineer for General Motors.

His past investments in China include Lashou (a deals site in China), AdChina (an ad network in China) and PCH International (a China-based supply chain management company), according to a Mayfield press release announcing his hire. Through his China investments, Chang says that he already had a close relationship with GSR Ventures, Mayfield Fund’s partner in China.

Chang notes that Norwest and Mayfield have co-invested in a number of deals in the past, and he speculates that he will work with his former employer on follow-on rounds and in other capacities. “We’re already referring new deals back and forth,” he says.

In the meantime, Mayfield apparently has big plans for Chang.

Mayfield Managing Director Navin Chaddha says Chang will likely end up being “the lead partner” in a few of the firm’s future investments. Chaddha says that there were already some deals in the works, including existing and new investments, and that Chang would be joining a few “that haven’t closed.”

Chang becomes the sixth managing director at Mayfield.

Tom York is a San Diego-based contributor. He can be reached at tom.york@gmail.com.