MENLO PARK, Calif. – “We want to be certain we are providing all of our portfolio companies with all the tools they need to be successful,” said Harvey Schloss who became chief administrative partner of the Mayfield Fund in February.
Schloss is responsible for the smooth operations of the firm and its portfolio companies; addressing legal, human resources, accounting, office management and administration issues.
“He was an ideal person who understands working in partnerships and working in the Valley’s fast-paced environment,” said Yogen Dalal, a managing partner at Mayfield. Dalal said the addition reflects the importance of “administrative horsepower” for a large firm.
Using a term Schloss borrowed from his accounting background, he said chief administrative partner is “basically a chief operating officer function” for the firm with a staff over 40. He said his responsibilities with the firm’s portfolio companies differentiate him from a typical chief operating officer, who is often an internally-focused executive.
Although Schloss is a partner in the fund, he will not be seeking out deals, but he will sit in on all presentations and have a small voice in the investing decisions. Schloss will help the firm raise its next fund, whenever that becomes necessary.
Schloss is currently investigating professional service providers and compiling a list of recommended professionals for Mayfield’s portfolio companies. He said his final recommendations would include several sources for each professional need, because he does not want Mayfield to appear to be endorsing one firm exclusively.
Before joining Mayfield, Schloss had been the chief financial officer of start-up Callisma Inc., a position he held for under a year. During his tenure, the firm grew to 300 employees from 40 employees.
During the seven years prior to Callisma, Schloss was the vice president of finance and practice management services with Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati.
Schloss said he got into venture capital for the same reason he got into the legal field. He enjoys participating in the technology industry as a high-level service provider, because he can participate in the excitement without the risk of being associated with one company.
Schloss came to Mayfield through a recruiter who contacted him five years ago about a chief financial officer position with the firm.
At the time, the position was filled by George Pavlov, but it became available again in April 2000 when Pavlov left Mayfield to become the chief executive of a portfolio company. The firm appointed its controller James Beck as the interim chief financial officer.
“Over the summer, we took some time to figure out how we wanted to structure Mayfield,” Beck said. One of those decisions was splitting the typical partner/ chief financial officer position into two jobs.
Pavlov’s old duties were expanded into Schloss’s duties and Beck’s duties. Beck, who became the permanent CFO in December, will run the firm’s finances, manage information technology, review financial statements of potential deals and advise portfolio companies on auditing functions. He said revenue recognition is one of the biggest issues the start-ups face.
Following a summer meeting, the firm was prompted to hire Schloss, Mayfield hired long-time consultant Jennifer Jones as marketing partner and Sondra Card as recruiting partner.
“The venture industry has become a much more strategic business,” Jones said of the addition of the high-level operational personnel. “It’s not a cottage industry anymore.”
In Other News
Partner Russel Hirsh recently left Mayfield to join Prospect Venture Partners. Hirsh is a biotech investor, and Mayfield, has announced that it is shifting away from health-care investing for Mayfield XI, the firm said the two events were unrelated and “coincidental.”
Mayfield XI closed on over $1billion in April 2000, and the firm claims to have over $2 billion under management. When pressed for the amount of the fund that had been committed to deals, Beck said the firm was “being very cautious about where we are investing our money.” Dalal said the investing progress was “slow and steady,” and on pace for the four-year fund the firm had marketed.