Underscore.VC Co-founder C.A. Webb Departs Venture Firm

C.A. Webb is leaving Underscore.VC, the Boston early-stage venture firm that she helped start less than two years ago.

Webb, Underscore’s co-founder and community partner, announced her departure in a Medium post on Monday. She attributed the move to the evolution of the firm, to the point that it is no longer the right fit for her.

“Though it’s still early in this journey, it’s clear that process has changed what the business needs, away from the things I most want to do,” Webb wrote in the blog post. “That’s just how it goes sometimes, and rather than stick around to play a role I’m less suited to, I’ve made the difficult decision to move on from the operating team.”

Webb (pictured above, center) is well-known in the Boston tech scene. She was previously the executive director of the New England Venture Capital Association for almost four years. Before that, she was the director of marketing for Care.com.

She started Underscore (initially known as Assemble.VC) with Michael Skok, previously with North Bridge Venture Partners, and John Pearce, the former CEO of Demandware. Their firm is part of a crop of at least 15 early-stage, tech-focused venture funds that have launched in the Boston area in the past two years. (See the list in this recent Xconomy article and photo slideshow.)

Underscore raised $85 million for its first fund, which invests in open-source software and “cloud intelligence” companies at the seed and Series A stages. The firm has assembled a network of tech executives and experts in various sectors to provide expertise and support to portfolio companies and, if they choose, invest in them.

Xconomy reported last year that Underscore planned to set up a separate nonprofit foundation, run by Webb, focused on giving back to the startup community.

“The role we all envisioned leading our companion not-for-profit foundation evolved to the point where it did not … align with her expectations,” Skok wrote in a post on Underscore’s website about Webb’s departure. “C.A. added significantly to our efforts to make [Underscore] a success, and we wish her all the best in her next venture. We remain committed to our long-term goal … to launch and help sponsor a nonprofit dedicated to helping entrepreneurs learn, teach, and exchange knowledge about how to build transformative companies.”

In the Medium post, Webb said she’s going to take some time to figure out her next full-time job. In the mean time, she said she’ll mentor entrepreneurs, spend time with family, and remain involved with the boards of several organizations, including Resilient Coders, the New England Venture Capital Association, and MassRobotics.

Reached via e-mail, Webb and Skok declined to comment beyond what they wrote in the blog posts.

Webb’s departure follows another notable recent move in the local investor community. A couple of weeks ago, Katie Rae of Project 11 Ventures was tapped to run The Engine, the new MIT-backed startup initiative that includes a planned $150 million venture fund.

Jeff Engel is a senior editor at Xconomy. Email: jengel@xconomy.com Follow @JeffEngelXcon

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