Unica Founder and MIT Blackjack Alum Yuchun Lee Joins General Catalyst

4/11/13Follow @gthuang

This is a micro-trend among Boston-area entrepreneurs and VC firms: the latter hiring the former.

Unica founder and ex-IBM exec Yuchun Lee is joining General Catalyst Partners as an entrepreneur in residence, where he’ll work with the venture firm’s growth equity team on enterprise software and analytics companies.

Lee co-founded Unica back in 1992 and was its CEO throughout its lifetime. The company rose to become an early leader in marketing analytics software. It went public in 2005 and was bought by IBM for $480 million in 2010. Lee served as vice president and general manager of IBM’s enterprise marketing management group for the past couple of years.

But the story of Unica holds deeper lessons—in bootstrapping, finding a market need, correcting mistakes, weathering recessions, and (in Lee’s case) moonlighting as a member of MIT’s famed blackjack team in the ’90s.

Though he’s originally from Taiwan and went to high school in Houston, Lee is a Boston guy through and through, thanks to his education at MIT and Babson College, and his early career at DEC. (And, for good measure, he serves on the board of Vertex Pharmaceuticals—how about that, a tech guy who knows some biotech.)

Other recent VC hires of Boston-bred entrepreneurs include PayPal’s Mok Oh at North Bridge, Boundless’s Brian Balfour at Trinity Ventures, and Gemvara’s Matt Lauzon at Matrix Partners. And there have been partner-level VC hires as well, including Zynga’s Nabeel Hyatt joining Spark Capital and Vertica’s Chris Lynch joining Atlas Venture, both in the last year or so.

In a company statement, Lee noted General Catalyst’s investments in HubSpot, Datalogix, and GoodData, and said he’s “truly excited to be a part of” GC’s ecosystem and network. The venture firm’s other entrepreneurs in residence include Paul Verrochi, Rob Gierkink, Charlie Baker, Tad Elmer, Chris Heim, and Dan Mayleben.

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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