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Jeffrey Beir Splits from North Bridge

Posted by Scott Kirsner  October 16, 2009 02:46 PM

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beir2.jpgJeffrey Beir, a former entrepreneur who had been a partner with Waltham-based North Bridge Venture Partners, sent out an e-mail last week announcing that he is leaving the firm. Beir had been with North Bridge for five years. He's still listed as part of the team on the venture firm's Web site, and North Bridge -- one of the more secretive and low-key firms on Mount Money -- hasn't yet issued a press release about Beir's departure. (Beir is at the far left of the photo.)

When I bumped into Beir this week, he told me he hasn't decided what he's going to do next. My sense is that it could be another start-up, or the creation of a new investment entity of some sort. In his farewell e-mail last week, he described the decision to leave the firm as "a very personal decision for me as I think about...what I enjoy day-to-day."

"Whatever role I take on next," Beir continued, "I will be actively involved with early stage companies, helping entrepreneurs build great teams going after big markets -- and having fun while doing it."

Here's more background on Beir's departure:

Beir, a Lotus alum, co-founded the online collaboration company eRoom, which was acquired in 2002 by Documentum, a division of EMC Corp. The deal was the biggest acquisition of a privately-held software company for that year, according to Beir's bio on the North Bridge site. Beir served for a while as EVP of products for Documentum before joining North Bridge in 2004. Beir was a partner in North Bridge's fifth, sixth, and seventh fund. That latest fund closed in the summer of 2008, and it totals $525 million.

Pito Salas, Beir's co-founder at eRoom, told me today that the fit with North Bridge seemed ideal for Beir at first, allowing him to see lots of companies and think about how various technologies were evolving. Salas said he didn't have any guesses as to whether Beir would start a new business, join a start-up, or stick with investing, but that he has been encouraging Beir to consider applying his talents to the non-profit realm. "Whatever he does, though, the advice I gave him was not to make any decisions right now," Salas said.

I asked Beir which of his portfolio companies at North Bridge seemed to be gaining the most momentum in the market, and the first two names out of his mouth were Currensee, a Boston-based online network currency traders, and SpringCM, a content management company in Silicon Valley. In his e-mail, he mentioned his other portfolio companies, including Newforma, Awareness Networks, and Firm58.

Beir hasn't yet updated his LinkedIn profile with the news that he is now a free agent...

(Beir is at left in the photo, which comes from Don Dodge of Microsoft. Dodge, Jeffrey Bussgang of Flybridge Capital Partners, and Jesse Devitte of Borealis Ventures are the other three gents in the photo, from left to right.)

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Scott Kirsner was part of the team that launched Boston.com in 1995, and has been writing a column for the Globe since 2000. His work has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, The New York Times, BusinessWeek, Newsweek, and Variety. Scott is also the author of the books "Fans, Friends & Followers" and "Inventing the Movies," was the editor of "The Convergence Guide: Life Sciences in New England," and was a contributor to "The Good City: Writers Explore 21st Century Boston." Scott also helps organize several local events on entrepreneurship, including the Nantucket Conference and Future Forward. Here's some background on how Scott decides what to cover, and how to pitch him a story idea.

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