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VCs in a New York state of mind (and others not so much)

Posted by Scott Kirsner  March 17, 2010 11:50 AM

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It wasn't exactly a surprise development yesterday when Matrix Partners announced it is opening a New York office, since partner Nick Beim has been living there and commuting up to Waltham for quite some time, and the company has already invested in four NYC companies, including luxury shopping destination Gilt Groupe and the executive jobs site TheLadders.com. But it'll be interesting to see how much the new Manhattan office grows over time. (Matrix also has offices in India, China, and Palo Alto, Calif.)

Meanwhile, I keep hearing from entrepreneurs and venture capitalists that Cambridge-based General Catalyst is considering establishing outposts in New York and Silicon Valley. But two of GC's managing directors say that isn't the case.

"We do have a lot of portfolio companies in New York, including Boxee and Hunch," says Neil Sequiera, but there are no plans for an office there. Sequiera says that Chris Hughes, a co-founder of Facebook, is a General Catalyst entrepreneur-in-residence who is based in New York. "But we're not going out and getting a bunch of space and putting our name on the door," Sequiera said, referring to both New York and Silicon Valley (where the firm also has an entrepreneur-in-residence whom Sequeira wouldn't name.)

When I asked John Simon, another managing director at General Catalyst, if he could issue a "blanket denial" about what the grapevine has been saying about offices in New York or the Bay Area, here's what he said via e-mail:

Not really talking much about this except to say that we are definitely very active now in working on new, exciting projects and spending time in and around Boston, NY, and California, especially as [we have] some great relationships and great opportunities in front of us right now. No formal plans/announcements, etc.

So there you have it: one firm planting a flag in Manhattan, and one not...at least not yet.

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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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