Special Report: Mumford gets VC’s point across

Published on .

Who: John Mumford

What: Founding partner

Where: Crosspoint Venture Partners


Behind most empires are the money men who bankrolled them. If Ariba Inc.’s executives get their way and create a b-to-b dynasty, they’ll have John Mumford to thank.

"We began incubating Ariba in 1996," said Mumford, founding partner of Crosspoint Venture Partners, a Los Altos, Calif.-based venture capital firm, He said that he saw a future in the company’s b-to-b approach that made him think it would have a unique place in Internet history. "Ariba’s was the first really scaleable Java platform out there," he said.

Indeed, Ariba fulfilled Crosspoint’s high-bandwidth requirement. It was something the VC firm had not seen a whole lot of. "Our group looked at the Internet in the early 90s and just laughed at it," Mumford said. "Unless you wanted to do pornography or computer games, there wasn’t a whole lot to it. Unless you could get high bandwidth to the desktop."

The co-founder of Office Club (which in 1984 merged into Office Depot Inc.), today serves on the advisory boards of not only Ariba, but also the National Transportation Exchange Inc., Alliente Inc. and Inc. His unique b-to-b start-up view has led him to become bullish on the sector’s long-term future. But he is sour on the short-term business and capital markets environment.

"We’re going to continue to see the stock market slide," Mumford said. "It’s going to be a very disruptive year or two. We’ve had a great party. And now we’re going to have one hell of a hangover."

—Philip B. Clark

Who: James Dixon What: Executive Where: Why: Dixon oversees all b-to-b Internet initiatives at the U.S.’s largest bank. One of his biggest coups: teaming with Ariba Inc. to introduce a financial services engine that will tie into other exchanges.

Who: Theresia Gouw Ranzetta What: Partner Where: Accel Partners. Why: A former consultant with Bain & Co. and a marketing veteran of Release Software, Gouw Ranzetta has taken a leading role on the
b-to-b development of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and other Fortune 500s.

Who: Michael Hodes What: VP-securities analyst, e-finance Where: Goldman Sachs & Co. Why: Goldman Sachs is at the top of the b-to-b investment banking food chain, and Hodes is the company’s last word on e-finance, and an authority on small business e-finance.

Who: Laura Jennings What: Senior principal Where: Atlas Venture Why: Before joining Atlas, Jennings oversaw Microsoft Corp.’s b-to-b investment strategy. The experience should serve her well as she leads a West Coast expansion for the East Coast-based VC.

Who: Dennis Jones What: President-CEO Where: Accel-KKR Internet Co. Why: Jones has emerged as one of the best at getting old-line Fortune 500 companies to go b-to-b, and among his recent converts are McDonald’s Corp. and Tyson Foods Inc.

Who: Katie Nittler What: Senior director Where: Commerce One Ventures Why: Nittler is a leading force at the newly launched $100 million VC division. It’s one of the most significant financing plays for a tech company to date, especially among b-to-b exchange builders.

Who: Michael Packer What: Managing director-corporate and institutional client group Where: Merrill Lynch & Co. Why: Packer created Direct Markets Online, the $70 million full-service institutional investor portal which was a first for the investment banking industry.

Who: Ramanan Raghavendran What: Chairman-CEO What: ConnectCapital Why: He’s the b-to-b VC man in India for Microsoft Corp., i2 Technologies Inc. and MSD Capital L.P., all who want to capitalize on the world’s fourth-largest economy and tech development hotbed.

Who: Nicolas Rohatyn What: Co-head, LabMorgan Where: J.P. Morgan & Co. Inc. Why: He leads the investment bank’s $1 billion e-finance arm, and his role should take on even more clout as J.P. Morgan completes its merger with Chase Manhattan Bank Corp. later this year.

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