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Katzman: From Kodiak to Commonwealth

Elliot Katzman has joined Commonwealth Capital Ventures as a general partner, just as the firm is nearing a final close for its fourth fund.

Katzman is a staple of the Boston-area venture scene, having founded VC-backed MyTeam.com before joining Kodiak Venture Partners as a general partner in 2002. His focus at Kodiak has mostly been on software and new media plays, with investments in companies like Groove Mobile, Mindreef, Newforma, Spaceclaim and Wis.dm (f.k.a. Soflow). He also had been expected to remain a partner with Kodiak, when the firm began pre-marketing its fourth fund near the beginning of November.

Soon after, however, Kodiak began getting LP pushback on possible “team instability” issues. What happened next is a bit unclear (read: depends on who you talk to), in terms of whether Kodiak first asked Katzman if he was looking elsewhere, or if Katzman first told Kodiak that he was considering a new opportunity. Either way, Kodiak informed its LPs a couple of weeks ago that Katzman was leaving the firm, and that it would need a bit more time to get its revised fund PPM ready (expect it to hit LP desks shortly). It also told LPs that it would hire a new partner focused on the convergence of IT and healthcare. Certain LPs already have been told the person’s identity, but all I’ve been able to glean so far is that it’s the outgoing CEO of a VC-backed company (any help?).

Commonwealth also had some documentation changes to make, given that it is nearing a final close on its own fourth fund. A first close came last week, with a pair of rolling closes expected to occur this week and next.

Katzman says that he expects to maintain a similar investment focus with Commonwealth that he had with Kodiak, and that he’ll maintain a couple of Kodiak board seats.

He adds that the decision to switch firms was made after “determining that Commonwealth was just a better fit for me,” and that he could foresee co-investing with Kodiak in the future.