Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Three CEO Moves: Viximo, CloudSwitch, Paragon Lake

I don't usually track executive comings and goings here, but three interesting ones have happened recently (not all officially announced yet):

    1. Rob Frasca has been replaced as CEO at virtual goods company Viximo by Dayna Grayson from North Bridge, who will serve as acting CEO. North Bridge is one of the company's investors.

    2. Long-time SolidWorks CEO John McEleney is taking over as CEO at stealthy start-up CloudSwitch from founder Ellen Rubin, who is staying on in a key executive role.

    3. At custom jewelry site Paragon Lake, they're bringing in former BrassRing CEO Deb Besemer as CEO, and moving founder Matt Lauzon over to COO.

Here's a recent post from Lauzon on "Hiring the Right CEO."

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Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Paragon Lake: A New Paradigm for Student-Created Start-Ups?

Sunday's column in the Globe focused on the adventures of two Babson students, Matt Lauzon and Jason Reuben, who hatched a start-up idea in their Babson dorm and just raised $5.8 million in venture capital funding.

One thing that helped them build a foundation for the company, Paragon Lake, was Highland Capital Partners' summer entrepreneurship program.

My premise is that we need more initiatives like it targeted to helping sharp students put together businesses, and making sure they take root here (Lauzon and Reuben were considering setting up shop in LA, and even have the cell phone numbers to prove it.)

I talked with Lauzon about his participation in the Highland program ... and a unique hiring tactic: MP3 audio.

One small but interesting change in Highland's summer program: participants last year didn't owe Highland anything -- there was no right-of-first-refusal on investing, no exchange of equity for office space, nothing. This year, though, according to Highland SVP Michael Gaiss, Highland has the option to participate in up to half of a start-up's first round of funding:

    ...[I]f an institutional venture capital round (not angel, f&f) is raised within 180 days, we have option to participate. It’s one of a couple variables we changed this year including preference to initiatives with some momentum (could be bringing together board/advisors/team, prototype stage) behind it (versus raw concept/idea), and letters of recommendation from administration/faculty, advisors/board members or others close to the initiative that could speak to it or the team.

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