Voyager Capital Hires Former Adobe CEO Bruce Chizen, Strengthens Digital Media Expertise

9/18/09Follow @gthuang

Seattle-based Voyager Capital is announcing today it has added a new venture partner—Bruce Chizen, the former chief executive of Adobe Systems (2000-2007). Chizen started in his new role this month, and he’s based in Silicon Valley, but he’s already making an impact on Northwest companies in Voyager’s portfolio.

First things first, I had to ask Chizen an obvious question: what does he think of Adobe’s $1.8 billion bid to acquire Omniture, the Web analytics firm, which was announced this week?

“It’s strategic and bold,” Chizen replied. “Now it’s all about execution. If [Adobe] can incorporate metadata into the flow, it’ll give them a competitive advantage.” He added, speaking from experience (he led Adobe’s $3.4 billion purchase of Macromedia in 2005), “Acquisitions are funny in that they’re hard to do. If an acquisition is successful, no one talks about how much they paid.”

OK, more about the actual VC news here. The addition of Chizen as a venture partner clearly strengthens Voyager Capital’s expertise and connections in the digital media industry. It’s the latest strategic hire at the venture firm, which in the past year and a half has recruited a new talent stable that includes Daniel Ahn in Silicon Valley, Diane Fraiman in Portland, and Geoff Entress in Seattle. “Voyager is increasingly a West Coast firm, with its roots in Seattle,” says Voyager co-founder and managing director Bill McAleer.

But that doesn’t mean we should expect to see more investments in California at the expense of the Northwest, McAleer says. “We’re going to stay consistent with what we’re doing,” he says. (About two-thirds of Voyager’s investments are in the Northwest, and one-third are in California.) “We’re helping our companies up here with partnering strategies and talent in the Valley. Part of what we look at is how to interconnect companies,” McAleer says.

Chizen stepped down as the CEO of Adobe (NASDAQ: ADBE) in December 2007, and stayed affiliated with the company through April 2008. He has been an adviser to Voyager since July of last year. He also serves on several boards, including Oracle (NASDAQ: ORCL), Synopsys, and Portland, OR-based Elemental Technologies, and is senior adviser to the private equity firm Permira Advisers. “What was missing for me was in the area of really working with and looking at young, cool startups with great technological differentiators. Fundamentally, what excited me about Adobe was its technology and reaching new, different, and exciting markets,” Chizen says.

He calls Voyager Capital a perfect fit—culturally, technically, and intellectually. “They really care about their companies,” Chizen says. “I think I can help them a lot. There’s a lot of deal flow in the Valley … Next Page »

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. Follow @gthuang

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