Arik Hesseldahl

Recent Posts by Arik Hesseldahl

Greylock Partners Names Former Vontu CEO Ansanelli as Newest Partner

Venture capital firm Greylock Partners is going long on the enterprise. If that wasn’t already obvious from its investments in companies like Palo Alto Networks, which went public last week, as well as ServiceNow, Imperva and the soon-to-be-public Workday, here’s another sign: A new partner who will focus exclusively on the enterprise.

Greylock will today name Joseph Ansanelli (pictured) as its newest general partner. Ansanelli has a solid history running small independent companies that have a habit of getting acquired by bigger companies. He’s best known for his stint as the CEO of Vontu, a security company that focused on data-loss protection; in 2007, he sold Vontu to Symantec for $350 million. Before that, he ran a company called Connectify that was acquired by an outfit called Kana that had its IPO in 1999. And before that, he sold a company called Trio Development, which he ran as a college student at the University of Pennsylvania, to Apple.

He’s been busy in the start-up scene: He’s been the chairman at mobile security firm Lookout for a few years, and is also involved on the board of Pipewise, and chairman of Smartling.

I talked with Ansanelli for a few minutes yesterday, and I asked him what he looks for in companies. “There’s a difference between invention and innovation,” he told me. “It’s about figuring out where you can find disruptive technology that’s 10 times better than what’s out there; finding that, combined with the right team of people.”

And he’s a big believer in what’s going on in the enterprise, or as I like to call it, the new hotness in tech. “There’s going to be a lot of disruption in that space in the next 10 to 20 years, and a lot of great companies are going to get built.”

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik