Sabet and Wilson Out at Twitter, Hirshland Out at Polaris, & More VC Comings and Goings

9/22/11Follow @gthuang

Catching up on an eventful week in Boston- and San Francisco-area venture capital personnel moves…

—Bijan Sabet of Spark Capital and Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures are leaving the board of Twitter at the end of this month. Sabet and Wilson were early investors in the social-media giant, and there has been plenty of speculation as to the reasons for the move. The consensus seems to be that Twitter needs a public company-ready board, and that the VCs want to focus on early-stage startups. Plus there was talk that Twitter’s board needed a trim. (Of course, there might be more to it than that.)

—Mike Hirshland has left Polaris Venture Partners after 12 years to form his own seed-stage investment firm, the details of which (including its location) are still under wraps. Hirshland was a general partner at Polaris and helped lead the creation of the firm’s early-stage startup incubator Dogpatch Labs, which started in San Francisco, where Hirshland was a frequent presence. His investments have included Black Arrow, Q1 Labs, Formspring, and Stickybits, and his board appointments include Automattic, KISSmetrics, LolApps, and Quantcast.

—Ryan Moore from GrandBanks Capital is joining Atlas Venture as a partner, effective in November. Moore has spent the past dozen years at GrandBanks, making his name with investments in companies such as Enpocket (acquired by Nokia), GlassHouse Technologies (filed for IPO), and Vivox. Meanwhile, Atlas partner Axel Bichara will step back to a venture partner role with the firm. No word yet on how (or whether) GrandBanks will fill its new opening.

—Keith Dionne, the former CEO of Surface Logix and Alantos Pharmaceuticals, has joined Third Rock Ventures as an entepreneur-in-residence. Third Rock, a life sciences VC firm that raised its second fund last year, says Dionne (also a veteran of Millennium Pharmaceuticals) will provide expertise in areas such as rare genetic diseases and novel biologics. Some of Third Rock’s recent investments include Blueprint Medicines, Lotus Tissue Repair, and Zafgen.

Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's Deputy Editor, National IT Editor, and the Editor of Xconomy Boston. You can e-mail him at gthuang@xconomy.com or call him at 617-252-7323. Follow @gthuang

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