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MENLO PARK, CA January 26, 2006 As part of a continuous process of refining its "venture craftsmanship" approach to investing, ONSET Ventures announced today the appointment of Richard Schell as a venture partner. Schell is a repeat entrepreneur who has been at the forefront of a number of significant information technology business changes over the last several decades. He is expected to bring insight, as well as significant startup operating experience, to the early-stage firm.
"Craftsmanship is our name for an investment strategy that focuses upon the successive, up-front refinement of technologies and business strategies to meet clearly-identified market needs and trends, rather than forecasting (or hoping) that a new technology will change behavior or tastes," said Terry Opdendyk, general partner of ONSET Ventures. "Rick has a long and successful track record of not only identifying important computing trends, but also steering them into products that resonate with the market."
Schell, 56, who was an early employee at Intel, Netscape's first vice president of engineering, and an early investor in NetFlix, has held a variety of cutting-edge roles in the technology industry. At ONSET, he will help unearth new trends and important entrepreneurial ideas, and work to transform those ideas into viable businesses.
Schell comes to ONSET from NetIQ Corporation (Nasdaq:NTIQ), where he was chief technologist and senior vice president for product planning, strategy, and process. Before NetIQ, he founded internet start-up, iSharp. Earlier at Netscape, Schell served as vice president of engineering, taking the company from the beginning to commercial success. He began his career with Intel, then Sun Microsystems and Borland. Schell holds a BA in math and computer science (1972) and MS and PhD in computer science (1977-78), all from the University of Illinois.
Opdendyk explained that ONSET's uniqueness comes from being able to assist entrepreneurs in rationalizing their ideas into, often new, provable business models. The "craftsmanship" comes from being able to transform an initial interesting idea or technology with a questionable or speculative market into a product that will see an immediate uptake and continued growth. The art in this, particularly in developing both the business and operational plans, depends upon the accumulated expertise of ONSET's partners and their typically-repeat entrepreneurs. Schell will be an outstanding addition to this mix, said Opdendyk.
"There are several important technology trends converging today," said Schell. "Some of the core questions we will look at are 'how do you leverage the disruptions that result from the advent and combination of mobility, web services, open source, widespread broadband, and ubiquitous computing?'; 'how are business models changing and what companies will be in the best position to take advantage of them?'; and 'what kind of entrepreneur is best suited for this transition?' ONSET is specifically set up to look at these questions and to help nurture interesting new companies based upon the answers."
In its 22 year history, ONSET has had numerous successes with companies that it worked with engineering provable business models from scratch, starting with only the glimmer of an idea, or with technologies whose immediate application was not obvious. Examples include Nektar Therapeutics (Nasdaq: NKTR) which brought to market the first commercially-available inhalable delivery of proteins and peptides; Callidus Software (Nasdaq: CALD), which invented incentive management software for enterprises; and several younger companies such as Nextance, that has uniquely automated the process of contract management; and Adaptive Planning, which has pioneered on-demand, Web-service-based enterprise financial planning and analytics.
ONSET Ventures specializes in providing an ideal mix of start-up, follow-on, and intellectual capital to entrepreneurs and early-stage technology ventures, to help transform world-class ideas into sustainable and valuable businesses. The firm has backed nearly 100 companies since 1984 and now has more than $700 million under management.
ONSET pioneered, and has refined over 20 years, a highly-optimized tool set for risk and capital management, and a shirt-sleeves style of active collaboration with entrepreneurs that leverages the firm's substantial operating experience. That collaboration frequently begins before the closing of any financing, and typically continues throughout the life of the venture. The combined process, which has become the hallmark of the firm, has resulted in ventures that have consistently met their operational and financing milestones. In addition, it has resulted in a franchise that not only brings successful, serial entrepreneurs back to ONSET Ventures time and again, but also attracts investors who want the increasingly rare opportunity to participate in very early stage venture investing.
ONSET Ventures focuses exclusively on information and medical technology-based start-ups, and has a long history of successful ventures in each of these sectors.