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Greylock Raises New $575 Million Fund, Plans Move to Cambridge

Posted by Scott Kirsner  November 2, 2009 03:23 PM

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The venture capital firm Greylock Partners announced today that they've just raised a new $575 pool of capital, one of the biggest of 2009, and that they've added LinkedIn's founder as a new west coast partner. Greylock has invested in LinkedIn, Facebook, Red Hat, Digg, and Zipcar.

And Bill Helman, one of Greylock's partners, called me this afternoon to add a little tidbit to the news: while Greylock made waves earlier this year when the firm relocated its headquarters from Waltham to Silicon Valley, Helman said that Greylock's local outpost will move from Waltham to Cambridge as of January 1st.


"We spend a lot of time at Harvard and MIT, and this will give us a chance to be that much closer to those sources of unique geographic advantage," Helman said. "This is more of an offensive move than a defensive move."

Greylock wasn't approaching the end of its lease in Waltham, but it got an unsolicited offer for that space. Why move to Cambridge? "It's a lot of the stuff you've been writing about," Helman said. "The vibrancy, the opportunity set, and the fact that entrepreneurs wanted to be around there."

Greylock was in Boston before it moved to Waltham a decade ago. "It was never to be close to country clubs, as some have portrayed it," Helman said. "The major entrepreneurial activity of that period of time was enterprise technology and communications systems, and those companies are located out here [on Routes 128 and 495.] Give VCs some credit: they were moving west to be closer to their customers."

But now, Helman continued, "you have biotech and cleantech playing a more important role, and maybe consumer Internet and digital media will be more important in the future, and they're not out here [in Waltham.]"

So starting in January, you'll more often see the Greylock guys having breakfast at Henrietta's Table -- angling with General Catalyst for the prime real estate there.

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2 comments so far...
  1. Scott, I am still waiting for your virtual bow, or at least a stronger "I told you so!" Either that or the lawsuit from Broadway Real Estate Services!

    Posted by jimmind November 3, 09 08:45 AM
  1. When Greylock's Bill Helman says he's moving his office from Waltham to Cambridge to be closer to Harvard, and the action, he means it. And, by the way, he also means he wants nothing to do with anyone who doesn't come from Harvard.....

    Let's face it, this move is about finding a comfort zone, not about being competitive. The Greylock guys (and they are overwhelmingly guys) like to hang out with people who see the world the same way they do... The crimsom view of the world, as we say. The Harvard view. Since the financial crisis got going, it's getting harder and harder to mention Harvard and receive the same "stary eyed reaction" you used to get.... People see through the smoke now... They're not buying the HBS "arrogance" stuff anymore.... and that was Greylock's favorite gig.

    Unfortunately, even after relocating, Greylock will continue to miss the really good deals (getting into later rounds with West Coast VCs with a mercy investment, or two, doesn't really count). They will continue to invest with their friends from Harvard and will, of course, have access to Harvard's endowment (who else would be allowed to touch it?). Just like it always has been.... Just like it always will be...

    When on earth are some West Coast VCs going to locate here in Boston and save us from these arrogant fools?

    Posted by Mark November 3, 09 03:20 PM


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About Scott Kirsner

Scott Kirsner was part of the team that launched 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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