Top News Makers of 2002 –

Larry Bock

Nanosys Inc.

When VCJ profiled Bock in our “Luminaries” issue last March, the overwhelming response was: “Who?” But no more. In 2002, Bock replaced Steve Jurvetson as nanotech’s chief evangelist.

Bob Boldt

UTIMCO

With his hand forced by the political ambition of others, Bob Boldt managed the release of sensitive performance data from the private equity portfolio of the University of Texas Investment Management Co. (UTIMCO). He may never be voted king of the general partner prom, but Boldt is given grudging respect by some VCs for keeping cool in the face of angry protest.

Ted Dintersmith

Charles River Ventures

The year’s most outspoken critic of venture capital overhang, Dintersmith did more than talk the talk. While other firms were taking 10% or 20% off their call-down sheets, Dintersmith enacted the largest fund cut in history, slashing his firm’s $1.2 billion vehicle by 63%. He still has his critics, but he can sleep at night.

Steven FriedmanWhite House Economic Advisor

When Friedman was picked by Pres. Bush late last year, he was a senior principal with MMC Capital, a special limited partner with Insight Venture Partners and a director of the CIA-sponsored venture group In-Q-Tel. No word yet on whether Friedman will push an NVCA-friendly agenda. But it’s fairly certain he’ll be forced to backtrack on his record as a deficit hawk.

Pat HopfSPVC/Symmetry Growth Capital

Keep em guessing every century and a half. After 14 years with St. Paul Venture Capital, it appeared that Hopf, at 53, would be spending his twilight years with the $3 billion private equity fund he helped to build. But he surprised a lot of people when he eased himself out of his role as SPVC’s managing general partner title in March. He surprised even more when he left altogether. There’s no doubt the split was amicable: St. Paul Cos. invested in Hopf’s new endeavor, Symmetry Growth Capital, a late-stage, non-technology fund.

Matt MarshallSan Jose Mercury News

A columnist frustrated by his state pension system’s silence on once-available private equity performance data, Marshall prompted his newspaper to sue CalPERS in Superior Court. The pursuit ultimately bore fruit following a December settlement, although Marshall’s editor probably should have assigned a reporter who wasn’t so close to the suit to cover it.

Mark O’Hare

Man of Mystery

A Silicon Valley businessman whose business somehow involves asking various state pension systems for access to their private equity performance data. At the end of January, he finally unveiled what he’s terming an online “private intelligence company.” Ah, an entrepreneur.

Cynthia Ringo

VantagePoint Venture Partners

Winner of VCJ’s comeback award. After being laid off by Blueprint Ventures in March, Ringo moved on to a two-month stint as interim CEO of Pluris Inc., which filed for bankruptcy in July. Rather than slinking away, Ringo quickly bounced back as a partner with San Bruno, Calif.-based VantagePoint Venture Partners.

Mitt RomneyGovernor of Massachusetts

One of the few private equity pros who ran for office in 2002 and actually won. He trounced Shannon O’Brien, a Democratic state treasurer who paraded disgruntled ex-employees of companies that had been acquired by Bain Capital while Romney served as chief executive. Her strategy backfired when Romney pointed out that profits from Bain’s investments are mostly returned to institutional investors like state pension funds.