Year in Review: In Memoriam

A look back at venture industry friends and colleagues who passed away in 2006.

Sam Blyakher

Sam Blyakher, a general partner with Accretive Technology Partners, and his wife Rebecca were killed in a car accident near New York City on Oct. 9. Blyakher was 33. Prior to joining Accretive, Blyakher was an associate with General Atlantic, and had been a management consultant with McKinsey & Co. Blyakher and his wife are survived by their daughter Nava.

Mark Brooks

Mark C. Brooks, a managing director with Hudson Venture Partners, passed away on July 23 after a long battle with cancer. He was 37.

Brooks was diagnosed with cancer in 1999, but continued to work as a venture capitalist focused on the wireless and online marketing sectors. His first venture job was as an associate with Dolphin Equity Partners, where he worked closely with portfolio company NetMotion Wireless and co-led fund-raising of the firm’s $160 million second fund in 2000.

He later was promoted to partner, and led deals for Boston-based wireless media company Enpocket and for after-sale live chat company inQ Inc. That latter deal was co-led by Hudson Venture Partners, which Brooks joined just in October. He took a formal leave of absence in June.

Brooks received a bachelor’s degree from Penn State University and his MBA from the University of Chicago. He also was co-founder of the Timothy J. Finnerty Memorial Fund and the New York Private Equity Golf Classic benefiting The Valerie Fund’s Children Centers.

Brooks is survived by his wife Kim and 3-year-old son Luke.

Peter Claudy

Peter Claudy, a general partner of M/C Venture Partners, passed away on May 12 after a long bout with cancer. He was 44.

A native of Greenwich, Conn., Claudy joined M/C in 1991 after earning an MBA from the Harvard Business School. He had originated investments in the CLEC, managed services, PCS and wireless tower industries. He served on the boards of directors of Atlantis, Florida Digital Network, MCC ICG Holdings (which was sold to Level 3 Communications), Mpower Holding Corp. (Amex: MPE), New Global Telecom, Site Excell Partners and Supra Telecom.

Prior investments include Ovation Communications (sold to McLeod USA), Telecorp PCS (sold to AT&T Wireless) and Triad Cellular (sold to Western Wireless).

Claudy was the president of and served on the board of the New England Venture Capital Association. He enjoyed sailing and spending time with his children.

He is survived by his wife of nine years, Patricia; a son, Henry; and a daughter, India.

Ted Doan

Herbert D. “Ted” Doan, the onetime CEO of Dow Chemical Co. who later became a venture capitalist, died on May 16. He was 83.

Doan founded venture capital firm Doan Associates and SBIC firm Doan Resources Corp. and was an advisor to Chicago venture firm ARCH Development Partners.

Doan had served as president and CEO of Dow Chemical Co. from 1962 to 1971 and was the last Dow family member to run the company. He was the grandson of company founder Herbert Dow.

Current Dow CEO Andrew Liveris said of Doan: “He was a man who understood that the gifts of wealth, position and intellect carried with them responsibilities to others, particularly to his beloved company and its hometown of Midland, Mich. I can think of no one who better exemplified the bedrock small-town Midwestern values of hard work, generosity, humility and genuine concern for others that Ted demonstrated every day of his wonderful life.”

Doan, who was born in Midland, Mich., was extremely active in the Michigan business community. Among his many appointments, he served as co-chairman of Gov. John Engler’s Venture Capital Task Force and as president of the Michigan High Technology Task Force from 1981 to 1989.

Doan was honored by the University of Michigan in 2005 with the Award for Outstanding Leadership in Entrepreneurship and Innovation. The award is now known as the Ted Doan Award for Outstanding Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

Doan is survived by his wife, Anna Junia Doan, their daughter, Alexandra Anne Alden Doan, and his children from a previous marriage: Jeffrey Doan, Christine Doan, Michael Doan and Ruth Doan France.

Buck Haberkorn

A.R. “Buck” Haberkorn III, founder and managing partner of Boston health care firm HLM Venture Partners, died on June 24 at his summer home in South Dartmouth, Mass., after a short illness. He was 59.

Haberkorn was involved in the investment business for some 35 years. He founded HLM with partners Judy Lawrie and Jim Mahoney—both now retired—in 1983 after a career at Harvard Management Co. He enjoyed working with entrepreneurs, and at HLM, Haberkorn mostly concentrated on early stage life science and medical device companies.

Among the investments he oversaw while at HLM was drug developer Praecis Pharmaceuticals Inc., which launched an IPO in 2000. Though he wasn’t expecting to be an active investing GP in the firm’s current $200 million fund, Haberkorn continued to lead investments at the firm through 1999.

His colleagues remember him for taking pride in investing in fast growing companies.

“His influence was a major contributor to the success of HLM, and we count ourselves blessed to have had Buck’s clear-sighted direction and guidance over the years,” said Peter Grua, a managing partner at the firm. “Most of all we will remember him for his kind heart and his great generosity. As large as he was in stature, so too was his kindness and willingness to help everyone he knew.”

That sense of kindness carried over outside of the firm. Haberkorn was a longtime supporter of various local children’s welfare organizations, having served on the boards of the Kids Fund at the Boston Medical Center; the Boston Boy Choir of the Boston Archdiocesan Choir School; and the Angel Fund at St. John & St. Hughes Church in Roxbury. He was also active in the Boston Lyric Opera and the Metropolitan Opera Guild in New York City.

Jay Shiveley

Jay W. Shiveley, a venture capitalist and technology industry executive, died of a heart attack on Oct. 20. He was 50.

At the time of his death, Shiveley was CEO of OQO, a portable PC company. He previously served as an Entrepreneur-In-Residence with Vantage Point Venture Partners, as managing director with the Sprout Group and as a general partner at Atlas Ventures.

Shiveley also spent part of his career as an operating and sales executive for companies such as Forte Software, Oracle Corp and Vitria Technology. One former colleague described Shiveley as “one of the most highly respected sales VPs in [Silicon] Valley.”

Shiveley’s family told “The Almanac” newspaper that he was a devoted family man and an avid cyclist who rode regularly with Team Lombardi and sometimes with the U.S. Postal Service pro racing team and Discovery Channel team.

A native of Augsburg, Germany, Shiveley is survived by his wife, Lisa Shiveley; his children, Aaron Shiveley, Keaton Shiveley, and Leighton Shiveley; his parents, Jake and Karen Shiveley; his brother, Timothy Shiveley; and his sisters, Lee Ann Shiveley and Sabrena Resman.

Al Shugart

Al Shugart, one of the father’s of the disk drive industry, died on Dec. 12 due to complications from open-heart surgery. He was 76.

Shugart fit right into the anti-establishment culture of Silicon Valley. He had a penchant for wearing Hawaiian shirts to work, used blunt and sometimes colorful language and once ran his dog Ernest for Congress.

Shugart was among the young IBM engineers to develop RAMAC, the first disk drive, in the 1950s. He rose through the ranks of Big Blue, but later grew disenchanted and went to work for Memorex in 1969. Industry lore maintains that 200 IBM engineers followed him.

It wasn’t long before Shugart got the entrepreneurial itch. He, Finis Conner and some others left Memorex in 1972 to start a floppy disk drive company called Shugart Associates. It raised $2.1 million from Roussel Capital and Sprout Capital in 1973, but it was unable to produce a product by the time it had run out of cash in 1974. Shugart would later say he was fired by his VC backers.

Five years later, Conner approached Shugart with the then revolutionary idea of making small disk drives for personal computers. They founded Shugart Technology, later changing its name to Seagate, and raised $1.5 million in 1980. The majority of the backing ($1.4 million) came from Institutional Venture Partners, Oak Invesment Partners and Institute for New Enterprise Development, and the remainder came from Jamieson Co. and an undisclosed VC.

Seagate eventually went public on the New York Stock Exchange, setting an example for many other tech companies that would be founded in Silicon Valley.

Shugart steered Seagate through the many ups and downs of the disk drive business, but was ousted as CEO in 1998. He then launched his own venture fund, Al Shugart International (ASI), which backed at least eight startups with mixed results.

Two of ASI’s portfolio companies have been acquired. Router maker yPacket Communications was bought in 2002, and Uprizer, which makes person-to-person computing technology, was acquired in October 2006

Three other ASI portfolio companies have gone out of business: CRM software developer YY Software and Internet companies eCongo and Spinway.com.

Shugart is survived by his wife, Rita, four daughters, a son and seven grandchildren. —VCJ staff