Former Nortel VP Joins Enterprise –

SAN DIEGO – Enterprise Partners Venture Capital recently hired Naser Partovi to be its sixth general partner, said Andy Chedrick, chief financial officer at the firm. Partovi previously served as vice president of strategy and business development for Nortel Network’s optical networks unit.

Partovi will focus on telecommunications, specifically targeting the optical and wireless spaces, the new partner said.

Enterprise Partners had been looking to add another technology investor, specifically seeking someone who was a known quantity, Chedrick said. General Partner Bill Stensrud, who focuses on telecommunications, suggested that the firm hire Partovi after co-investing with him and sitting together on the board of directors of AirFiber Inc., a San Diego-based wireless optical telecommunications equipment provider, Chedrick said.

During his 20-year tenure at Nortel, Partovi was responsible for developing strategy, as well as orchestrating acquisitions and minority investments in early-stage optical companies. Nortel doesn’t have a venture capital fund, Partovi said, adding that the company invests in enterprises it sees as potential acquisitions, rather than investing to see a traditional financial payoff.

Enterprise Partners invests in early-stage information technology, communications and health-care companies. The firm’s most recent fund, the $310 million Enterprise Partners V, which closed in October 1999, is about 40% invested in 12 companies Chedrick said. The firm plans to back a total of about 25 to 28 companies, with average investments ranging between $11 million and $13 million over several rounds, he said. The firm plans to invest a minimum of 75% of the fund in IT and communications companies, Chedrick said.

The firm’s limited partners are: Horsley Bridge Partners, Commonfund Capital Partners, Endowment Venture Partners, HarbourVest Partners, Pantheon Ventures, Salomon Smith Barney, Venture Opportunity Fund, Silicon Valley Bank, Pacific Life & Annuity, The Ford Foundation, Columbia University, Yale University, GM Pension Fund, and 65 presidents and chief executive officers of California-based companies.

The firm’s six general partners are Drew Senyei, Ron Taylor, Tom Clancy, Jim Berglund, Stensrud and Partovi.