Chuck Goldman has been one of the most impactful figures in the mobile sector for over a decade. Not only did he play a lynchpin role in the development of Apple's iPhone, but he started and dynamically lead one of the figurehead Boston mobile tech companies in Apperian.
A couple of weeks ago, Goldman transitioned out of his role as CSO of the mobile company which he founded, for the EIR gig at Great Hill Partners. The reason for the move? Goldman can now be more influential in bringing new innovative companies to the forefront of the mobile/enterprise sector.
A lot of thought went into the move to Great Hill, but primarily, he was attracted by the opportunity that private equity, and Great Hill specifically, presented. As Goldman explained, the venture firm has been involved in enterprise for some time so a bigger play in the mobile sector is the natural next phase of their strategy. "They've been looking to do a pretty aggressive play in the [enterprise mobile] market, and the strategy itself is still in motion," he said. "We are really focused on mobility that is going to return great value to the enterprise. We are really into empowering the mobile workforce."
So how are Goldman and Great Hill going to do that. All we can do is speculate, but there are a number of possible ways that the new partnership can have a monster impact on the mobile space including a "Syndicate"-like crowd-funding cluster, incubators, accelerators, or the formation of an umbrella-like mobile-focused parent company. When more details are revealed, one thing is for sure, the Goldman/Great Hill project will be a huge positive for companies looking to disrupt the mobile space.
While he is still playing an influential role at Apperian, Goldman felt that he needed a different environment to achieve some of his lofty aspirations. As Goldman said, "I've felt for the past couple of years that the leadership at Apperian has allowed me to do some great things, particularly overseas, in Asia. I feel like Apperian is way ahead of it competitors overseas."
But, he added, "I am much more of a strategy/idea guy at the high level. I like to put ideas to work and execute them up to a certain stage and then bring in teams that are qualified to take over from there. That's what I enjoy most, being the architect of these high level strategies."
"I get the chance to do that," Goldman continued, "with what I believe only private equity can do. It is going to take resources to really do what I want to do, my vision for venture mobility."
As he sees it, all parties involved benefit from the move, something that is very rare. "This is a win-win-win," Goldman said. "Apperian keeps me on in an advisory level as Chairman of the Strategic Advisory Group. I am going to be advising them in their biz dev relationships around the world, but I am going to work with private equity in the market to do something that is needed."
On stepping into the role of Entrepreneur in Residence, Goldman had some revealing insight. "The role is what you make of it," he explained. "The traditional role of an EIR is an executive that is going to run one of [a VC firm's] portfolio companies, a kind of CEO in waiting."
"But I don't look at it that way," Goldman said, "I am looking as much at the strategy and the architecture. I get to go and leverage my contacts in this small [mobile] ecosystem."
"I am architecting a strategy and a vision that is inline with Great Hill, but in doing that, I get to do what I love to do best, which is talk to people about the ultimate goals for mobility."
It should be fascinating to see what the new Great Hill Partners/Chuck Goldman partnership comes up with. Most likely, we will find out very soon, and when we do, it should be the start of an exciting new era for mobile technology in Boston and beyond.