Chris Lynch joins Atlas Venture

Chris Lynch has decided to join Atlas Venture. Needless to say, we’re very excited. This brings our tech team to a total of five investors: Dustin Dolginow, Jeff Fagnan, Ryan Moore, Chris and I.

I first got to know Chris after he came in as an EIR in January 2010. I expected him to find and run a great startup we could fund.  He didn’t: Chris joined Vertica as CEO in the Spring of 2010. Vertica: a Stonebraker company funded by a flurry of VC’s (Highland, Bessemer, KP, NEA) but not, of course, by us.

You may wonder how that happens: how did we let our prized EIR slip away to another business ? I remember the circusmtances vividly, and the story provides a clue to why Chris decided to join us today. I was driving down from a partner offsite meeting in New Hampshire with Jeff Fagnan at the wheel, who spent a good hour on the phone with Chris.  Chris was about to give up on a new opportunity he was looking at called Vertica, because he thought the company was going to be hard to fix.  Jeff was pointing out what he thought were strengths of the company, from engineering team and product to board. In the end, Chris agreed he should continue his due diligence. The rest, as they say, is history. Chris joined as CEO, turned the company around and sold the business to HP for a $300M+.

Jeff figured we might find a way to invest down the line, but mostly he wanted to do right by our EIR and this seemed a great fit for him. Chris is the kind of guy who stands by his team no matter what, and he was impressed.

The Pay-It-Forward attitude that Jeff took and that we espouse as a group is proving itself today, more than two years later. After I moved to the US I got a chance to know Chris and learned to love him, as one of the few people I actually derive good personal insights from. The guy is a machine (how he turned Vertica around and orchestrated the sale to HP is a story worth telling) but he’s also very subtle at motivating people. I’m thrilled to have him on board; we all are.

Chris was previously CEO of Vertica Systems, where he led the company from late-stage startup to the number one ranked Big Data company in the market and its acquisition by HP in March of 2011. Prior to Vertica, Chris was SVP of Data Solutions at F5 Networks and was responsible for building the company’s vision in the data management space — a role he took on after the acquisition of Acopia Networks where he was President & CEO. Chris was previously VP of Sales and Marketing for Cisco’s Content Management business post Cisco’s $5.7B acquisition of Arrowpoint Communications where he led sales and marketing globally.

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