Joining G20, Troiano Is Latest Boston Tech Exec to Move Into VC

Mike Troiano doesn’t sit still. In fact, it’s hard to believe he has been chief marketing officer at enterprise IT firm Actifio for five years. But now he has taken a full-time position as a partner at G20 Ventures, the Boston venture capital firm founded by Bob Hower and Bill Wiberg.

Troiano has some experience in the venture game. He joined G20 as a limited partner back in 2013, when the firm launched with its first fund of $63 million. G20 was relatively early in the increasingly common practice of using executives in a fund’s network to help make investment decisions and support portfolio companies. (The firm looks to be raising a second fund, targeting the same size as its first, but declined to comment on that.)

Before joining Actifio—where he remains an advisor—Troiano was a principal at marketing agency Holland-Mark, and chief executive of Matchmine, a spinout of the Kraft Group (yes, those Krafts). He’s also a member of the m-Qube mafia—a diaspora of executives who all spent time at that Boston mobile marketing firm, which was acquired by VeriSign in 2006 for $250 million. (If you’re too young to remember m-Qube, well, you’re just too young.)

Reached by e-mail, Troiano says: “I’ve spent about half my career as an agency guy, and about half as an entrepreneur or operator of a venture-funded business. I guess I just came to see venture as a chance to combine what I love most about both—to serve entrepreneur ‘clients’ in ways that contribute to their success, while plugging into the passion, excitement, and upside that only comes with the rocket-ride of a successful startup.”

A number of prominent local tech executives have joined VC firms recently. (Troiano says he doesn’t see a real trend there, but he does think “there’s a changing of the guard underway in Boston.”) Russ Wilcox, who led E Ink and Piper Therapeutics, recently joined Pillar, the venture fund started by Jamie Goldstein. Other operators-turned-VCs in the past couple of years include Brendan Hannigan, who joined Polaris Partners from IBM Security; John Pearce, who co-founded Underscore VC a few years after leading Demandware; and Hardi Meybaum, who joined Matrix Partners after his startup GrabCAD was acquired.

Meanwhile, moving in the other direction, Paul Flanagan recently left Sigma Prime Ventures to become president of cloud storage firm Nasuni. And several other techies work as both CEOs and venture capitalists—Dave Balter, Ben Nye, Rob May, and Pat Kinsel come to mind.

G20, for its part, has made investments in companies including 128 Technology, Fuze, Siemplify, Emissary, and Evergage. The firm focuses on enterprise tech startups in the Boston area and on the East Coast.

Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's Deputy Editor, National IT Editor, and Editor of Xconomy Boston. E-mail him at gthuang [at] xconomy.com. Follow @gthuang

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