DFJ Mercury Adds Dan Janiak, Promotes Russ Lebovitz

Seed-stage investor DFJ Mercury has promoted Russ Lebovitz to venture partner, and added Dan Janiak as an associate. Both Lebovitz and Janiak will work on developing and originating science-based investment themes and startup opportunities, the firm said in a written statement. Lebovitz, previously a venture advisor with DFJ Mercury, is currently the CEO of Marval Biosciences Inc. and the founder and Chairman of Imagnx, Inc. – both DFJ Mercury portfolio companies. Janiak was previously an associate in the Physical and Biological Technologies practice at In-Q-Tel. DFJ Mercury is based in Houston.

DFJ Mercury, a seed-stage venture capital firm investing in information technology and science-based startup opportunities, today announced the expansion of its investment team with the promotion of Russ Lebovitz, PhD, to Venture Partner, and the hiring of Dan Janiak, PhD, as Associate. Both Lebovitz and Janiak will work closely with DFJ Mercury co-founder and Managing Director, Dan Watkins, PhD, in developing and originating science-based investment themes and startup opportunities.

“DFJ Mercury has a core focus on technology transfer and incubation, with many of our investments originating through partnerships with universities and research institutions,” said Watkins. “Russ and Dan have in-depth experience in the fields of science, pharmaceuticals, and biomedical devices in addition to managing global projects. With their breadth of knowledge, DFJ Mercury’s expanded team will be able to further develop existing relationships and identify new and promising science-based themes and technologies.”

Dr. Russ Lebovitz, previously a Venture Advisor with DFJ Mercury, is currently the CEO of Marval Biosciences, Inc. and the founder and Chairman of Imagnx, Inc., both DFJ Mercury portfolio companies. Previously, Dr. Lebovitz was the President and CEO of C-sixty (acquired by Tego Biosciences) and the subsequent CEO of Tego Biosciences. During the last decade, Dr. Lebovitz has managed global projects for a number of Fortune 100 technology companies including Royal Dutch Shell, Nextel, Cingular Wireless, Johnson & Johnson, Compaq Computer, and JP Morgan Chase, as well as leading venture capital and investment banking firms. Dr. Lebovitz has helped raise over $100 million for early and intermediate stage pharmaceutical and biomedical device companies.

Prior to his business activities, Dr. Lebovitz worked for over fifteen years as a successful senior scientist and research physician. He completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Michigan and received his MD and PhD from Washington University in St. Louis. Dr. Lebovitz also served on the faculty of Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and The Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia.

Before joining DFJ Mercury, Dr. Dan Janiak was an Associate in the Physical and Biological Technologies practice at In-Q-Tel, the strategic investment arm of the U.S. Intelligence Community. While at In-Q-Tel, Dr. Janiak was the lead technical staff member on a number of technology development programs and handled technical due diligence on potential investment candidates in the advanced materials space.

Dr. Janiak received his BS and PhD in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Maryland. While at the University of Maryland, Dr. Janiak was a Future Faculty Fellow and held the Robert E. Fischell Fellowship in Biomedical Engineering, conducting research in the design, synthesis and characterization of artificial antibodies with applications in medical diagnostics and biopharmaceutical purification.

Dr. Janiak joins DFJ Mercury in its Houston, Texas headquarters while Dr. Lebovitz will split time between Houston and his office in La Jolla, California. With the addition of Dr. Janiak and the promotion of Dr. Lebovitz, DFJ Mercury now has six investment professionals focused on investments in the science and information technology sectors. Co-founder and Managing Director Blair Garrou, Managing Director Ned Hill, and Associate Aziz Gilani make up the Fund’s Information Technology Team, while Dr. Janiak, Dr. Lebovitz and Dr. Watkins make up the Fund’s Science Team.

About DFJ Mercury

DFJ Mercury is a seed and startup venture capital firm. Headquartered in Houston, Texas, DFJ Mercury invests in compelling and novel information technology and science-based startup opportunities. DFJ Mercury seeks to partner with extraordinary entrepreneurs to build globally competitive businesses, focusing on technology innovation in the U.S. Midcontinent. With a particular focus on university spin-outs and incubation, DFJ Mercury often invests prior to a business plan or management team being formed.

Since inception in 2005, DFJ Mercury has been one of the most active seed funds in the Midcontinent and is a partner in the DFJ Global Network of venture funds. For more information, please visit www.dfjmercury.com.