Alley Cat Rees Launches SF Mayoral Bid

Joanna Rees, who founded early stage venture firm VSP Capital, today officially threw her hat in the ring to become the next mayor of San Francisco.

Rees, who Forbes dubbed an “alley cat” 10 years ago for breaking into the proverbial old boys club of venture capital, says she has officially launched an “exploratory campaign for Mayor of San Francisco,” according to an email she sent supporters.

She identifies herself as a “progressive independent.”

“I’m not part of the City Hall crowd, and I intend to put jobs and schools at the top of my agenda,” Rees writes “I spent the last two decades building a leading venture capital firm. We have supported over 60 Bay Area businesses and generated thousands of good jobs in the innovation economy.”

You can read more about her on her campaign site.

The mayoral election is not until Nov. 8, 2011, but for her to succeed, Rees will once again have to break through the male-dominated ranks of politics. She is so far the only female candidate in the race, which also includes San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera and several other dudes (Bevan Dufty, Guy Arevalo, Adrian Coventry, Robert “Bobby” Jordan, Harold Craven Miller, Antonio E. Mims, Alexander Mondares and Wilma Pang), according to the Elections Department.

Given that politics is a rough-and-tumble sport, Rees had better be prepared to answer questions about litigation (now settled) between her and two of her former partners and why limited partners liquidated VSP’s third fund.

On the bright side, of the 32 companies VSP backed with its vintage 1999 fund, 18 have been acquired (including Danger, Doppe006Cganger Doppelganger and Oddpost), one went public and one was acquired in an LBO, according to Thomson Reuters (publisher of peHUB). Five companies in the portfolio are defunct and seven remain active.

Meanwhile, seems like more VCs and PE pros are jumping into politics these days:

*Rick Snyder, co-founder of Ann Arbor-based venture firm Ardesta, just last month won the primary to be the Republican candidate for the governor’s race in Michigan.

*Rob McCord, who co-founded Novitas Capital, won the election to be Pennsylvania’s treasurer last year.

*Scott Murphy, a onetime managing director at Advantage Capital Partners, is now a U.S. Congressman in New York, having won a special election last year.

*And, of course, there is Mitt Romney, the former Bain Capital pro who ran for president in 2008. The onetime governor of Massachusetts, Romney, a Republican, is widely expected to take another run at the presidency in the 2012 election cycle.