VC firm Ignition Partners has brought on Rachel Chalmers, a long-time IT analyst from The 451 Group, to boost its Silicon Valley presence.
Ignition, based in Bellevue, Wash. has a lot of Microsoft DNA in general partners John Connors, a former Microsoft CFO, and Frank Artale, a former Windows GM. Earlier this year, it brought on Nick Sturriale, a VC veteran from JAFCO Ventures, and Sevin Rosen to launch its Palo Alto office, where he and Chalmers will hold down the fort.
Chalmers, who spent 13 years at The 451 Group, had already worked with many of the Ignition folks. “We got in the habit of working with Nick who’d pull me in for strategy and consulting work on their investments,” Chalmers said in an interview. With this hire, they’re formalizing that collaboration.
The fact that Ignition downsized its fifth fund — it came in at $150 million compared to $400 million for its predecessor — does not seem to faze her. “A smaller fund is better in fact,” Chalmers said, citing inflated expectations around consumer-focused startups. “Venture capital still makes sense when you have an entrepreneur with an interesting technology idea and some customer traction but now has to make a choice of whether to launch a lifestyle business or get venture capital and really try to expand it.”
Ignition exits include Zenprise, sold to Citrix in 2012 for an estimated $355 million; Parse, acquired by Facebook last year for a reported $85 million; Splunk, which went public last year; Heroku, sold to Salesforce.com in 2010 for $212 million); and Xensource, bought by Citrix in 2007 for $500 million. The company has also invested in Cloudera, DocuSign, Opscode and Bromium.
Many star analysts have joined IT vendors — Andi Mann left Enterprise Management Associates for CA and Vanessa Alvarez exited Forrester for Scale Computing, are two examples.It’s less common for them to go to VC firms — the exception to that rule being Mary Meeker, a star financial analyst with Morgan Stanley, who joined VC Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers in 2010.
This story was updated at 11:17 a.m. PDT July 18 with more context about analysts joining VCs and IT companies.