Darwin Ventures Adds Jay Bhatti, Zach Heilman

San Francisco-based Darwin Ventures has named Jay Bhatti to the post of general partner, and added Zach Heilman as lead engineering manager. Bhatti previously co-founded people search engine Spock.com. Heilman was previously the lead front-end engineer at Spock.com. Heilman and Bhatti will be based in New York City.

Darwin Ventures, a private equity firm focused on venture capital, today announced that Jay Bhatti has joined the firm as a General Partner and Zach Heilman has joined as Lead Engineering Manager. “Expanding the Darwin Ventures team with Jay and Zach will allow us to focus on new opportunities in the burgeoning New York City business environment,” said Peter Freudenthal, managing general partner of Darwin Ventures. “We are very excited to have Jay aboard as our new partner and Zach as our lead engineering manager. We feel that their unique skill sets will allow us to expand our existing business interests in Manhattan.” “Internet search has been my core technology interest for many years, and the addition of Jay and Zach plants our flag in New York City,” said Frank Caufield, managing general partner.

Jay Bhatti Joins Darwin:

Prior to Darwin, Jay Bhatti was the co-founder of Spock.com, the world’s leading people search engine, which was launched in 2006 and sold in 2009. In six short months after launch, Spock.com became one of the top 1000 sites on the Internet, with over 50 million monthly visits and covered by the Wall Street Journal, Time Magazine, Businessweek, Forbes, Newsweek, ABC News, NBC, NYSC, and the Financial Times.

Jay is considered an expert on search, vertical search engine construction, lead generation & performance marketing. He is often asked to speak at conferences and panels on the future of search and the evolution of the internet. Jay holds a patent in natural language processing and entity resolution. Jay has been interviewed by publications around the world and appeared on ABC news, NBC, Bloomberg, The Wall Street Journal, Businessweek, Reuters TV, and Time Magazine.

Prior to Spock, Jay was a senior manager at Microsoft, where he received the “Going Beyond” award. From 1996 to 2000, Jay designed and built enterprise class trading platforms for investment banks on Wall Street including JP Morgan, Credit Suisse First Boston, and Goldman Sachs. Jay has an MBA from the Wharton School and an Engineering Degree with highest honors from Rutgers University.

Zach Heilman Joins Darwin:

Before he moved to New York, Zach was the lead front-end engineer at Spock.com. Zach was responsible for user experience and front-end design at Spock, which entailed everything from how users flowed through the site, signed-up to the service, and how they responded to advertising. While at Spock, Zach built out a monetization platform that converted 3x better than any similar platform on other social networks. Prior to Spock, Zach worked for EDS Offshore in Brazil and before that was part of the Corp of Engineers working on GIS Web Systems. Zach has a civil engineering degree from Tulane University.

Darwin Opens a New York City Office:

“We believe that the rapidly growing New York City technology ecosystem is an exciting place to expand our existing business, and in many ways it is a better place to operate than the saturated Silicon Valley market ” said Jay Bhatti. “Peter and I both moved here – from San Francisco and Seattle, respectively – to take advantage of this area and the business opportunities.”

About Darwin Ventures:

Darwin Ventures is a private equity firm that offers accredited investors unique access to investment opportunities that are generally unavailable to most investors. These investments include a diverse group of top-tier venture capital partnership investments as well as selected direct investment opportunities. (www.darwinvc.com)