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Highland's Matt Nichols moves downstairs to Gemvara

Posted by Scott Kirsner  March 7, 2011 09:55 AM

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nichols.jpgI was curious about this tweet from Gemvara chief executive Matt Lauzon last week: "What VC just left his venture role to join full time as a Gemvarian?"

My hunch was that someone from Lexington's Highland Capital Partners, Gemvara's earliest investor, had moved downstairs, where the custom jewelry site sublets space on the first floor of Highland's building.

Turns out I was right. Though his bio is still up on the Highland site, principal Matt Nichols (pictured at right) joined Gemvara earlier this month as executive vice president of operations. Nichols had worked with Highland partner Bob Davis to conduct due diligence on Gemvara (originally known as Paragon Lake) and make the investment, and he has been helping the company out on an informal basis since December. In his new role at Gemvara, he'll be responsible for managing the company's relationship with jewelry-makers.

In 2009, Highland raised its latest fund, which at $400 million was half the size of its predecessor. That often leads to a contraction in the number of partners, principals, and associates working at a firm. But Nichols' jump may also be a comment on Gemvara's potential...

Before joining Highland, Nichols worked on Google's corporate development team, sourcing acquisitions and investments in digital media.

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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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