Kertzman bows out of Hummer Winblad’s eighth fund

The 71-year-old, who founded and ran software companies before becoming a VC, plans to spend more time traveling and visiting with his adult children.

Mitchell Kertzman is easing out of Hummer Winblad Venture Partners, where he has been a partner for the past 17 years.

Kertzman, 71, told Venture Capital Journal that he will not be a general partner in the firm’s eighth fund. Hummer Winblad Venture Partners VIII is targeting $75 million, which will be invested by Lars Leckie and Steve Kishi, according to a regulatory filing.

“I’ve been in the software industry for 52 years, our [three] kids are grown and living in different cities around the country,” Kertzman wrote in an email. “Our plan is to spend more time traveling and visiting with them.”

He will take his time winding down his commitments. “It’s the classic long glide path of VC retirement,” he said. “I’m staying on my boards from current and previous funds (five at the moment) but will not be an investing partner in the new fund.”

Kertzman sits on the boards of five portfolio companies: 6connect, which makes network automation software; AspireIQ, a “community intelligence” marketing platform; Blissfully, which makes SaaS management software; NuoDB, a distributed SQL database maker; and Symbium, a “government tech” company that helps people figure out if they can build an in-law apartment on their property.

“With the current boards, I’ll be closer to full time than part time, but that will change over the years,” Kertzman said. “I’ll do whatever I can to help and support Lars and Steve going forward, of course.

Kertzman has had a storied career. He dropped out of Brandeis University in 1968 to pursue a radio career, but he was fired from his gig as a disk jockey after four months, according to a New York Times story about Kertzman published in 1993. “Desperate for a job, he got hooked on computer programming and in 1974 started his company as a one-man contract programming shop,” the NYT wrote.

The programming led Kertzman to found software tool maker Powersoft in 1974, which was acquired by database company Sybase in 1995 in what was then the most valuable M&A deal in the software industry. He stayed on as CEO of Sybase till 1998, then served as CEO of Liberate Technologies, which made software for cable TV companies, from 1996 to 2003. He then made the leap to Hummer Winblad.