Former aQuantive CEO Brian McAndrews Joins Madrona Venture Group, Brings Ad Expertise
Brian McAndrews, the former CEO of digital marketing technology firm aQuantive (formerly Avenue A), is joining the world of venture capital with Seattle-based Madrona Venture Group. Madrona is announcing today that McAndrews has joined the firm as a managing director.
McAndrews was chief executive of aQuantive for eight years, and he oversaw the company through its $6 billion-plus acquisition by Microsoft in 2007. Until this past January, he served as a senior vice president at Microsoft, leading the advertising and publisher solutions group.
In his new job, McAndrews is charged with identifying and leading new investments from Madrona’s most recent $250 million fund, which it closed in June 2008, as well as supporting the firm’s existing portfolio companies. Madrona currently has more than $675 million under management, and is known for backing firms like Amazon, Isilon Systems, Farecast, iConclude, and, more recently, AdReady, Apptio, Skytap, and Yieldex. (See also our profiles of ExtraHop Networks and PetraVM.)
The new hire strengthens Madrona’s expertise in digital advertising and marketing. What’s more, McAndrews’s skills and experience seem to complement those of the firm’s other top decision-makers—managing directors Tom Alberg, Paul Goodrich, Greg Gottesman, and Matt McIlwain. “Brian has an amazing talent for identifying exceptional people and helping them develop ideas to their full potential,” said McIlwain (who, I’m told, has been McAndrews’s neighbor in Seattle’s Windermere neighborhood for years) in a statement. “That’s what he accomplished at aQuantive, growing the company from a small digital agency to a leading global technology marketing company.”
It may seem like a tough time to make the transition to VC, but McAndrews sounds undaunted. “As we learned at aQuantive, technology-driven innovation occurs in all market cycles, and I am excited about jumping in and helping talented teams take their ideas and build them into lasting companies,” McAndrews said in a statement. (It’s probably safe to assume McAndrews has given his new colleagues grief for not putting Madrona’s capital into Avenue A back in 1999—although Alberg personally invested as an angel.)
Before joining Avenue A as CEO, McAndrews, a Harvard alum and Stanford business school grad, worked as a product manager for General Mills and as executive vice president and general manager for ABC Sports. He currently serves as a director for Clearwire, Fisher Communications, WhitePages.com, and United Way of King County.
Last December, when Microsoft announced McAndrews’s departure, CEO Steve Ballmer noted in a statement, “Brian McAndrews built a world-class business for advertisers and publishers and led the successful integration of aQuantive into Microsoft, setting the foundation for our next phase of growth.”