With new CRV fund, long-time partner Bruce Sachs bows out

Bruce Sachs of Charles River Ventures.
Bruce Sachs of Charles River Ventures.

Left unsaid in the announcement of the new $393 million fund raised by Charles River Ventures — oops, they’re now called CRV — is that long-time partner Bruce Sachs is bowing out. Sachs still appears on CRV’s website, but he confirmed to me this evening that he won’t be involved in putting the new money to work. Sachs joined CRV in 1999 after a career in networking, and he was responsible for initially helping CRV put down stakes in California.

Sachs tells me that after fifteen years at CRV, “I just decided I wanted to start cutting back. I’m still on nine boards. I’m not retiring, and I’m not looking for another career.” The decision, he says, was primarily about “changing the work-life balance.” Sachs says he’ll invest in one or two more companies out of CRV’s current fund between now and the end of the year.

Among his recent investments are SimpliVity, DataGravity, OneCloud Labs, Jibo, and Light, which is designing a new kind of camera. (The co-founder and CEO at Light is Dave Grannan, who had run the speech recognition startup Vlingo before moving to California, where Light is based.)

Sachs says that in early 2002, he was involved in hiring CRV’s first partner in the Valley, Bill Tai. Sachs also bought a house in San Francisco and started spending one week a month out west. Now, with his departure, the firm has just two partners at its Cambridge offices overlooking the Charles — and three in Menlo Park. One of those, Devdutt Yellurkar, relocated there three years ago from Massachusetts. There are also three junior team members in Menlo Park, and none in Cambridge, which makes a strong statement about where the firm thinks its future lies.

“In thinking about whether I wanted to sign up for another 10 year partnership, the answer was no,” Sachs says, adding that he’ll stick around for several years to manage his existing investments.

Sachs had been the second longest-tenured partner at CRV, after Izhar Armony, who remains involved with the new fund. CRV was founded in 1970.

This is the second storied Boston VC firm to shift its center of gravity to the Bay Area; Greylock Partners did so in 2009. As I see it, both those moves were major statements about whether those firms felt they could continue to find jaw-dropping home runs — not just tidy doubles and triples — in Massachusetts.

Scott Kirsner writes the Innovation Economy column every Sunday in the Boston Globe, in which he tracks entrepreneurship, investment, and big company activities around New England.
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