Big data-focused venture capital firm Data Collective has brought on industry veteran Todd Papaioannou to serve as an entrepreneur in residence. Papaioannou was most recently co-founder and CEO of Continuuity, a role he left a few months ago for personal reasons. Before that, he was an EIR at Battery Ventures and VP and chief cloud architect at Yahoo.
According to Data Collective Managing Partner Zack Bogue, Papaioannou won’t be like a traditional EIR trying to start a big company for the firm to back. Rather, he’ll really be there to help guide the Data Collective’s portfolio companies, many of which are pushing the types of scale-out infrastructure with which Papaioannou has so much experience.
“Todd is one of the OGs of the big data space,” Bogue said, so his advice should be valuable to everyone involved. However, if he happens to stumble across another great startup idea, Bogue added, “so much the better.”
Papaioannou was already one of about 30 equity partners at Data Collective, a group of industry workers who provide some guidance to portfolio companies in exchange for a small amount of equity. The EIR role is pretty much an extension, albeit a big one, of that role. Bogue said there’s a natural variance in the involvement level of equity partners, although he noted they’ve exceeded expectations as a group and are a big reason the firm is able to handle its “crushing” deal flow.
That being said, the deal flow at Data Collective might be taking on a different shape. The firm is trying to move somewhat away from investments in horizontal technologies like databases and into what it’s calling “deep vertical” applications, as shown by its recent investment in Planet Labs. But the tables stakes for getting funded by Data Collective are still “real, existing, deep technology that operates in the big data space,” Bogue said, and he expects Papaioannou will help vet these companies, too, to ensure their technology is legitimate.
Data Collective’s current portfolio is expansive, but includes some hot data startups including Continuuity, Kaggle, Keen IO, MemSQL, Platfora and TempoDB. Its roster of cloud computing startups includes Apcera, CircleCI, Firebase, Heavybit Industries and Meteor.