Dale told me he couldn't comment on his fundraising efforts, but he was willing to talk about the big data sector in general, and his departure from Sigma. And he did note that he has made some recent investments as an angel, in two recent TechStars Boston startups: Mortar Data and Ginger.io.
"My observation about the term 'big data' is that that it's data with volume, velocity and variety that is growing faster than Moore's law," Dale says. "In the old days, most data problems could be solved as computing speed caught up. Now, there's this deluge of new kinds of data which is growing faster than Moore's law. It can be sensor data, like images, or behavioral data, like clicks on a website. We've basically broken what Moore's law can cope with, and so we need a bunch of new technologies to get on the right side of that again."
Dale did confirm that he's "transitioning out" of the Boston office of Sigma, which recently separated from its Silicon Valley office, set out to raise its own $150 million fund, and rebranded as Sigma Prime. But it sounds like there are no hard feelings: the three managing directors of that firm have committed to invest in Big Data Boston, sources tell me.
So has local angel and entrepreneur Andy Palmer, who has helped start a handful of big data companies, including Vertica. "I believe that one of the very few successful new models for venture investing is the small and 'hyper-focused' fund model," he writes via e-mail. "Richard is hyper-focused on big data/analytics startups in Boston."
Marilyn Matz is CEO of Paradigm4, a Sigma portfolio company where Dale has been a board observer. "He’s worked with a lot of startups and early-stage companies over the past five years, as a mentor, advisor, and co-founder," Matz writes via e-mail, "so he’s seen a lot of what makes companies break out and become great businesses."
Dale has been an active mentor with the TechStars Boston and MassChallenge programs for entrepreneurs, and he writes the blog Venture Cyclist.
It'll be interesting to track how Dale does on the fund-raising front...especially since he was a principal — not a partner — at Sigma, and especially since plenty of other VC firms are starting to vie for early-stage big data deals.
About Scott Kirsner
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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December 9: Web Innovators Group
Demos of new mobile apps and web ventures at the Royal Sonesta Hotel in Cambridge. Free admission; cash bar.
December 10: Fintech Demo Day
Short demos from startups in the financial technology realm.
December 11: Unpitch
Entrepreneurs and investors sit down for lunch, advice, and feedback. Entrepreneurs must apply to participate.