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CONFIRMED: Mike Hirshland Out at Polaris; Metcalfe Scales Back Further, Too

UPDATING: Mike Hirshland has posted an item at his own blog, in which he confirms his departure from Polaris, and states that he will launch a seed investment fund.

Michael Hirshland, who joined Polaris Venture Partners in 1999 to focus on Internet investments, is leaving the venture firm, peHUB has learned from two sources.

Hirshland has not responded to a request for comment from peHUB. The firm said it has nothing to announce when contacted about his departure.

Hirshland has largely been the face of Polaris’s earliest-stage Internet efforts. In fact, as the “Instigator in Chief” of the firm’s Dogpatch Labs — a self-described “frat house for geeks” that offers aspiring entrepreneurs desk space, bandwidth, coffee and lunch in Boston, New York, and San Francisco — Hirshland has spent much of the last several years flying between the three locations.

Hirshland has also been an active investor on behalf of the firm, representing Polaris on the boards of Automattic, maker of WordPress; Hangout Industries; Quantcast; Sproutbuilder; Thing Labs; KISSmetrics; and LolApps.

Polaris Venture Partners’ general partner Bob Metcalfe is also scaling back his role at the firm. In an auto-respond to an email sent to him by peHUB, Metcalfe — who famously co-invented Ethernet and founded 3Com, states, “I’ve moved to Austin, Texas to begin my 5th 10-year career. I am now Professor of Innovation and Murchison Fellow of Free Enterprise in The University of Texas at Austin’s Cockrell School of Engineering.”

Late last year, Metcalfe revealed that he would join the University of Texas to work with startups and collaborate with business and engineering schools. However, according to his e-mail, he’s now reducing his work as a venture partner at Polaris to focusing on 5 “enertech” startups: 1366, Ember, Infinite Power Solutions, SiOnyx, and Sun Catalytix.

Polaris Venture Partners has lost several other staff members from its IT investing team this year. Among them is Ryan Woodley, who had served as a principal for Polaris since 2004, moved into a CFO role with the Utah startup DigiCert. UPDATING: Woodley, though CFO with DigiCert, still maintains a part-time role with the organization.