VCs on the Move, recap from August

Although it is the dog days of summer and overall activity has slowed, the last month has seen some venture capitalists change jobs. Among the more noteworthy was Mamoon Hamid switching over to Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers from Social Capital, which KP tried to acquire at one time. Social Capital filled the vacancy left behind by its co-founder, while there were also people moves at such firm as Canvas Ventures, ff Venture Capital and Techstars, among others.

Kleiner Perkins adds early Box investor Mamoon Hamid as GP; Social Capital fills vacancy with Mike Ghaffary

Mamoon Hamid, an investor in Box, Slack and Yammer, has joined the venture team at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers as a general partner. Hamid was most recently general partner at Social Capital, which he co-founded nearly six years ago, and before that was a partner at U.S. Venture Partners.

Kleiner Perkins, which is also an investor in Slack and backed Box and Yammer, as well, tried to acquire Social Capital in early 2015 when it was then called Social+Capital Partnership, but talks came to an end. Social Capital then raised its third fund later that year at $600 million.

Mamoon Hamid, general partner, Kleiner Perkins
Mamoon Hamid, general partner, Kleiner Perkins

At Kleiner Perkins, Hamid joins the early-stage venture team consisting of Wen Hsieh, Eric Feng, Beth Seidenberg and Ted Schlein. The addition of Hamid comes days after General Partner Mike Abbott announced on his blog he’s leaving the firm he joined seven years earlier. And the firm, which is investing from a $400 million main fund it raised in 2016, also has shuttered its KPCB Edge program that made seed deals.

Hamid started his Silicon Valley career at Xilinx where he spent six years in various engineering and business roles, according to his Medium blog.

To fill his vacancy, Social Capital added Mike Ghaffary as a partner.

Ghaffary, an angel investor, was previously chief executive of Yelp Eat24. —Alastair Goldfisher

Action Items: Connect with Mamoon Hamid via his LinkedIn profile at https://www.linkedin.com/in/mamoonha/

Connect with Mike Ghaffary via his LinkedIn profile at https://www.linkedin.com/in/mikeghaffary/

Follow what Mike Ghaffary says on Twitter at https://twitter.com/newmike?lang=en

AI specialist Kathryn Hume joins ffVC as venture partner

Early-stage venture firm ff Venture Capital has hired Kathryn Hume as a venture partner to advise portfolio companies and teams, drawing on her business background in artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Hume joins ffVC from integrate.ai, a Toronto-based SaaS artificial intelligence platform company, and she will continue in her role as vice president of product and strategy for the company. Previously, she served as president of Fast Forward Labs, advising Fortune 500 companies on applying AI, data science, and machine learning to business problems and served as a visiting professor on technology and law at the University of Calgary Faculty of Law.

Hume, who lives in Toronto, earned a Ph.D. in comparative literature from Stanford University and a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of Chicago.

New York-based ffVC invests in such sectors as AI, cybersecurity, machine learning and drones. Last year, the firm announced an accelerator program for AI startups in collaboration with the New York University Tandon School of Engineering. Portfolio companies include smart baby monitor company Owlet, publisher insight platform Parse.ly, and AI robot operating system Cambrian Intelligence. —Kaitlyn Bartley

Action Item: Connect with Kathryn Hume via her LinkedIn profile at https://www.linkedin.com/in/khume/

EVP’s Sunil Sharma joins Techstars Toronto as managing director

Sunil Sharma joined Techstars as managing director of the U.S. technology accelerator’s new program in Toronto.

Earlier in 2017, Boulder, Colorado-based Techstars agreed to partner with Real Ventures in establishing a permanent presence in Toronto, giving the firm access to startup opportunities in the Toronto-Waterloo corridor.

Photo courtesy of Sunil Sharma
Sunil Sharma

Sharma joins the organization from Extreme Venture Partners (EVP), a Canadian early-stage venture firm, where he served as managing partner of the accelerator program.

Techstars Toronto’s first class will run in 2018. —Kirk Falconer

Action Items: To read Sunil Sharma’s blog post, go to http://www.techstars.com/content/author/sunil-sharma/

Connect with him via his LinkedIn profile at https://www.linkedin.com/in/sunilsharmaevp/

Follow what he says on Twitter at https://twitter.com/sunil_extreme?lang=en

Alastair Mitchell on joining EQT

Alastair Mitchell, co-founder and former chief executive of Huddle, quietly joined Swedish fund EQT Ventures earlier this year as its fourth partner focused on B2B SaaS.

Based out of the firm’s San Francisco office, Mitchell more recently told VCJ that he is setting up the firm’s local presence to support its European late-seed and Series A investments in scaling into the U.S. market, as well as making select Series B and C rounds in local companies looking to expand to the other side of the pond.

Mitchell says an example of the latter is San Francisco-based HackerOne, provider of a bug-bounty technology to help companies find vulnerabilities in software. HackerOne raised a $40 million Series C round from EQT, alongside Benchmark, New Enterprise Associates and Dragoneer Investment Group.

Mitchell joined EQT Ventures a year after the firm armed itself with more than $630 million for its first fund.

Mitchell, who has personally invested in U.S. and European companies, had started a venture firm called Singular Ventures. In a blog post in January, he wrote about how the experience for founders seeking funding from European firms was leagues apart from the experience those same founders would have in the U.S. market. He says he was doing the main raise for Singular when Hjalmar Winbladh, an EQT partner, got in touch and recruited him to join him and fellow Partners Kees Koolen and Lars Jornow.

“EQT Ventures is a deeply impressive outfit who share my vision, so I’m super-excited to be joining,” Mitchell says.

He particularly likes the firm’s connection to the larger alternative-assets firm EQT. “It’s a powerful and unique combination … and the EQT [private equity] platform means our portfolio companies have access to a ready-made customer list of hundreds of the biggest companies in Europe.” He says this will draw interest from U.S. startups.

Mitchell becomes the second Huddle co-founder to join the ranks of VCs. His fellow British co-founder, Andy McLoughlin, who served as Huddle’s CTO, joined SoftTech VC as a partner in April 2015. —Alastair Goldfisher

Action Item: Connect with Alastair Mitchell via his LinkedIn profile at https://www.linkedin.com/in/alimitchell/

Narasin updates profile sans Canvas Ventures

Ben Narasin updated his LinkedIn profile in mid-August, a few weeks after it was reported elsewhere that he was leaving Canvas Ventures.

It was a short stint,  a little less than two years, as a VC for Narasin. The well-connected investor and entrepreneur had been a seed backer for eight years before he joined Canvas in 2015. He was on board when the Portola Valley, California-based firm raised $300 million for its second fund late last year.

Ben Narasin, general partner, Canvas Venture Fund. Photo by Mark Leet
Ben Narasin, general partner, Canvas Venture Fund. Photo by Mark Leet

During his years as an institutional seed investor, Narasin had invested in more than 75 startups, and he was an early backer of DropcamLending Club and Zenefits, among others.

A Canvas spokesperson said Narasin and Canvas decided to part ways when he sought “a platform that had more seed investing in the mix.” I’ve sent him a message asking for comment and I’ll update if I hear from him. —Alastair Goldfisher

Action Items: Connect with Ben Narasin via his LinkedIn profile at https://www.linkedin.com/in/bennarasin/

To see a list of his investments, visit his AngelList profile page at https://angel.co/bhn77fo

Geoff Lewis of Founders Fund leaves to launch his own fund

Geoff Lewis, a partner at Founders Fund, is leaving the San Francisco-based venture firm to start his own fund, sources told Bloomberg News.

The news outlet reported that Lewis is planning on raising more than $100 million for the new fund. Founders Firm will reportedly be the anchor investor for the fund, said one of the sources to Bloomberg.

Among the highlights of Lewis’ tenure at Founders Fund is his leading the firm’s investment in ride-sharing company Lyft in 2013. And, in 2015, he also led Founders’ investment in a $75 million Series B funding round for Privateer, the Seattle-based private equity firm focused on the legal cannabis sector. The latter transaction was a pivotal milestone for this emerging industry as it marked the first time a mainstream, high-profile venture firm made a significant investment in it. —Iris Dorbian

Action Item: Connect with Geoff Lewis via his LinkedIn profile at https://www.linkedin.com/in/geofflewis1/

Photo of illuminated sign depicting people walking courtesy of Reuters/Sergio Perez