Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Exclusive: Ex-Yahoos–Plus Chief Yahoo Jerry Yang–in New Morado Ventures Fund (That's Spanish for Purple, Natch)

A new $10 million micro-venture fund, led by former Yahoo top engineering exec Ash Patel–called Morado Ventures and funded by a group largely made up of ex-Yahoos–is about to launch, according to sources close to the situation.

Expected limited partners in Morado, which means “purple” in Spanish, include former Yahoo CEO Terry Semel, former COO Dan Rosensweig and former advertising sales head Greg Coleman. Ex-Yahoo President Sue Decker is also considering investing, said sources.

Purple, of course, is Yahoo’s color.

Interestingly enough, the fund–which has not officially closed yet–is also likely to include Yahoo’s two founders Jerry Yang and David Filo, both of whom are still at the company.

Both will be limited partners and will not make investment decisions. In addition, Morado has no affiliation with Yahoo.

(Still, BoomTown would love to have been the fly in the room when Yang and Filo told current Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz about it!)

Patel will also be joined at Morado by Mike Marquez of investment advisory firm, Code Advisors, although he will also remain at Code.

Sources said the small fund, which is similar to an angel group, will focus on early-stage start-ups in the Internet consumer arena, as well as in the platform space.


Patel (pictured here)–a 14-year Yahoo veteran whose last job at the company was as EVP for Product Architecture & Strategy–certainly has experience in these areas.

He took a sabbatical from the company last November, but never really returned.

Sources said Patel has been doing some of his own investing since then, but was eager to involve himself with start-ups.

While ironic in many ways–the kinds of innovative companies that Morado will likely be investing in are just those that have put the slower-moving Yahoo in just the situation it finds itself in today–it’s a great idea for a fund run by longtime operating execs.

And while many execs from a variety of Silicon Valley companies have become VCs, angel investors and such, this gathering of former execs from the same company is definitely one to watch.

(Plus, BoomTown is guessing the parties will be fun too.)

I am sure I will be chatting with Patel in the future, but here is a video interview I did with him in late 2008 about the launch of some open and social networking initiatives at Yahoo (Former SVP Tapan Bhat, who had once reported to Patel, is also in the video):

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There’s a lot of attention and PR around Marissa, but their product lineup just kind of blows.

— Om Malik on Bloomberg TV, talking about Yahoo, the September issue of Vogue Magazine, and our overdependence on Google