Arik Hesseldahl

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Peter Levine, Veritas Veteran and Data Center Guru, Joins Andreessen-Horowitz

Venture capital firm Andreessen-Horowitz said today that it has appointed Peter Levine, a veteran of the enterprise software company Veritas that’s now a part of Symantec, and the former CEO of XenSource, now part of Citrix, as its first venture partner.

Levine is the third partner to join AH in recent months. In January it named HP and Opsware veteran Mark Cranney as a partner for market development. And in March it added IronPort’s Scott Weiss.

“Adding Peter makes us smarter at the firm on a certain class of products where he is much more experienced and goes much more in depth than we do, in areas like virtualization and storage,” AH co-founder Ben Horowitz told me. A key area of expertise is one that Levine developed specifically at Veritas, he said, that of working with manufacturers of infrastructure products. “Veritas was probably the most successful company in the history of enterprise software at the OEM model except for Microsoft,” Horowitz said. “It’s a very complicated thing to do–and a very complicated thing to do correctly–so he brings a specialized skill set to the table.”

Horowitz also said Levine will help AH expand its reach and find deals in places where it hasn’t had a presence before, places like the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where Levine is a lecturer. One example: Bromium, a stealth startup that AH says it is investing in. While Horowitz didn’t disclose the amount the firm is investing, he did describe Bromium as a “security plus virtualization company.”

“It’s the kind of deal we wouldn’t have known about without working with Peter,” Horowitz told me.

“We’re at the second generation of what you can do with virtualization,” Levine told me. “Companies like Citrix and XenSource did a lot of the hard rock-breaking to get chipset support from companies like Intel to support virtualization, and once they did that there was an opportunity to take virtualization to the next level. Bromium is a company that takes advantage of all that.”

Levine is continuing in his role as a vice president of Strategic Development at Citrix and will continue teaching a class on Technology Sales at MIT’s Sloan School of Management. Previously, he was senior vice president and general manager of the Data Center and Cloud Division at Citrix, having joined that company in 2007 by way of its $500 million acquisition of XenSource, a provider of open-source virtualization sofware, where he was CEO. XenSource’s customers included Microsoft, Symantec, HP, NEC and Dell.

This will be Levine’s second go in the venture capital ring. He spent three years as a general partner at the Mayfield Fund and in that capacity served on the board of Consera Software, which was purchased by HP. He sat on the advisory board of VMWare and was an investor in Actona, which was ultimately acquired by Cisco Systems.

Levine first rose to prominence as an early employee of Veritas Software, and during his 11-year stint there helped to grow it to 5,000+ and more than $1.5B in annual revenue. His last job at Veritas was executive VP, where he was responsible for worldwide marketing, OEM sales, business development and several product divisions. Before that, he was a software engineer at MIT and worked on Project Athena, an early-1980s research project to build a campus-wide distributed computing network that turned out to be a forerunner of the kind of corporate networks we now use every day.

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald