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Please take a moment and make a financial contribution to TheFunded. If we have helped you, help us with resources to further grow the both the site and our entrepreneur training program, The Founder Institute.

Paul Maeder

Partner Rating:

Rated 4.1 / 5.0 by 11

Partner Information:

Title:     General Partner

Location:  Lexington, US East

Blog:      Paul Maeder

Firm Rating:

Rated 2.7 / 5.0 by 35

Firm Information:

Company:   Highland Capital Partners

Type:      Large Private VC

URL:       Firm Homepage

PERSONAL SPECIALTY: Cleantech

FIRM DESCRIPTION: Since 1988, we have taken a sector focused approach to investing in exceptional seed through later stage growth companies in the communications, consumer, digital media, healthcare and information technology markets. Highland takes an active lead approach to working with companies, serving on the boards of directors in over 90% of our investments. We work hard to build value in each of our companies, contributing well beyond board participation, to continually seek and deliver competitive advantage to the teams that we back. We are actively investing Highland Capital Partners VII ($800M). In addition, we have launched Highland Consumer Fund I, a $300M fund focused on investment opportunities in consumer-facing enterprises. Key tenets of our strategy include: - We back great teams and great people. - We invest globally in big ideas that address large and expanding markets - We focus by industry and possess strong cross-sector expertise in communications, consumer, digital media, healthcare and information technology - We invest at all stages of company growth, from seed capital through later stage - We leverage our experience, network and relationships, and pride ourselves in being a value-added partner

17
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4
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Avoid Associates at All Cost

Fund: Highland Capital Partners

Posted by Anonymous on 2007-08-27

PUBLIC:

I agree with the other posters. Do not bother if you can't get a meeting with a partner. The associates are very green and lack any power in the decision making process. All they can do is say no. Stay away from Faisal, he seems to be particularly clueless.

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14
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2
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Be Careful if They Call You Unsolicited

Fund: Highland Capital Partners

Posted by Anonymous on 2007-06-07

PUBLIC:

I received an "urgent" call from one of their associates. He claimed that they were surveying my industry and wanted to get in touch with all of the companies in the space... but that he needed to speak with me ASAP. I smelled a rat and asked around and it turns out they were considering funding a direct competitor.

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11
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Get the Right Introduction or It's a Waste of Time

Fund: Highland Capital Partners

Posted by Anonymous on 2007-07-25

PRIVATE: Members Only (264 Characters)

9
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1
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Don't Tust Them

Fund: Highland Capital Partners

Posted by Anonymous on 2007-08-09

PUBLIC:

Typical arrogant VC which shared our confidential material with competitors and focused on irrelevant questions - a useless exercise on their part to train their new guy on the DD process at our expense.

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6
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High Irr Expectations for Growth Equity

Fund: Highland Capital Partners

Posted by Anonymous on 2008-05-01

PUBLIC:

Our company pitched Highland Capital Partners on an investment opportunity in the digital media space. Our deal fit nicely within their venture growth equity criteria, however, their return expectations far exceeded what one would see with a traditional private equity firm. Highland was seeking an IRR of 40% to 45%, which is in the venture range, while a private equity firm would likely target an IRR of 25% to 35%. So what does this mean for your deal" It means that they are eating your lunch (in other words, it is coming out of your potential return). Highland is another example of a venture capital firm that wants to be a private equity firm. This leads to them to look at growth equity deals, but they are really still seeking a venture return.

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6
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2
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Not Kosher

Fund: Highland Capital Partners

Posted by FixItNow on 2007-05-21

PUBLIC:

Had them in here after a tug of war concerning just getting it setup. Constantly swung from hot and cold in the meetings and also feedback wise. That should have been clue #1 for us but lots of people were saying how good they were... eventually got down to a major meeting with a GP and VP only...

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5
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Unprofessional Associate

Fund: Highland Capital Partners

Posted by Anonymous on 2007-11-30

PUBLIC:

An associate pursued me for a number of weeks and when we finally talked, expressed great eagerness. I agreed to share some info with him and then never heard back. I would have been fine with any response he would have given, but to not hear back after sharing private info just feels unprofessional. I wonder, of course, if the information I gave him was used competitively.

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5
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Created Real Value

Fund: Highland Capital Partners

Posted by pigratdog on 2007-10-05

PUBLIC:

Highland created real value for our tech startup - I had never worked with them before (but had raised money from top tier funds in Boston and Bay Area). We hired at least 2-3 key people they referred to us and many of our early adopters came through their network. I'd work with them again in a heartbeat.

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5
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2
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Partners Who Can Decide

Fund: Highland Capital Partners

Posted by Farlington on 2007-08-07

PUBLIC:

From my perspective, Higgins, Maeder and Nova are the decision makers - the rest of the team lack deal making juice. Everything about the firm is polished. They are solid supporters if you can get them in your deal. Terms were fair.

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5
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Very Smart Guys

Fund: Highland Capital Partners

Posted by pharkins on 2007-07-06

PUBLIC:

Met with several guys -- read on

PRIVATE: Members Only (476 Characters)

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Gaurav Tewari and Hcp Were More Than We Could Have Ever Asked for

Fund: Highland Capital Partners

Posted by Anonymous on 2009-02-06

PUBLIC:

Gaurav Tewari is a perfect example of what a VC should offer an early stage company, not just cash, but resourcefulness, broad industry perspectives, and deep insight into the business model. Gaurav spent many late nights at our office helping the team hammer out solutions to tough problems. His considerable network of connections enabled us to create advantageous partnerships that made it possible for us to thrive and push forward in ways we could not have done without his assistance. He enjoys the spirit of entrepreneurship and it shows. His domain expertise and experience were invaluable, and he was adept at rallying other people within Highland to also support our startup. He is truly a class act and a joy to be around. I definitely plan to discuss any future startups with Gaurav and hope to continue having him involved.

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4
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Recommendation for Healthcare/Med Tech Companies

Fund: Highland Capital Partners

Posted by anonymous on 2007-08-16

PUBLIC:

We met with Highland during our recent fundraising. I can't say I loved everyone at the firm, but Dr. Salehizadeh is an impressive guy. As an early stage healthcare company, we didn't come across many VCs who were able to understand our concept, offer insight into our model and put us in touch with good people. We went another way for valuation reasons - although Highland's terms were pretty much market - but I genuinely wish I could have found a way to get Bijan involved. Highly recommended.

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4
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Really Solid Group!

Fund: Highland Capital Partners

Posted by docinventor on 2007-08-15

PUBLIC:

Working with them has been very positive- they are really sharp. If you can get them engaged, then I would definitely recommend working with them. Even if you don't end up working with them, they do great diligence and will freely share any information that led to a negative decision.

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3
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Highly Recommend Matt Nichols

Fund: Highland Capital Partners

Posted by Anonymous on 2008-10-08

PUBLIC:

I have interacted with Matt for over a year and have finally come around to writing an endorsement, not at all solicited by him. Matt is a Principal at Highland who is getting deals done in the internet/digital media space. He understands disruptive models and seems most interested in cutting edge consumer internet. I recommend him to anyone looking to pitch a thoughtful, honest venture guy that will likely add immediate value and feedback. In my experience, he has proven to be a valuable asset to our company and consistently acts as a sounding board as we think through our business.

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3
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Inisightful Feedback From Corey

Fund: Highland Capital Partners

Posted by scottdunlap on 2008-03-10

PUBLIC:

After an intro through one of our investors, Corey gave us a thoughtful and timely review of our business. He let us know they like to be the first institutional investor and prefer earlier rounds, but thought our business had enough momentum to bring it to the partnership. They declined, but I found the process efficient and helpful.

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3
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Avoid Pitching Rich De Silva

Fund: Highland Capital Partners

Posted by Anonymous on 2007-12-18

PUBLIC:

I had a similar experience to others who commented. I pitched an associate who seemed rather interested and then didn't bother to respond. I echo the recommendation that if you cannot get to a partner, don't bother.

After working hard at getting to Rich I finally got a meeting. He showed up late, kept responding to Blackberry messages throughout the meeting and was interrupted twice by his assistant for an "emergency" and left me sitting at the conference table staring at the wall.

PRIVATE: Members Only (416 Characters)

2
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Fine Firm, Terrible Process

Fund: Highland Capital Partners

Posted by JohnEKins on 2010-04-17

PRIVATE: Members Only (659 Characters)

2
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Gaurav Tewari

Fund: Highland Capital Partners

Posted by Anonymous on 2009-02-06

PUBLIC:

Gaurav was very interested in our innovative model. However, we had a lot of work to do in order to become "fundable". He was patient and helpful, both in terms of advice and in introductions to key resources. He showed considerable endurance in waiting for our team to come together organizationally as well as with execution. He should have blown us off instead, as a VC should, dedicated the time and effort to help us move forward. Ultimately, a deal never materialized, but it wasn't because of Gaurav's lack of effort.

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2
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Good Experience with Bijan

Fund: Highland Capital Partners

Posted by laengr on 2008-04-05

PUBLIC:

I was introduced to Bijan Salehizadeh through a mutual friend and pitched our medical device company to him. He was very attentive and asked great questions. Ultimately the deal was not large enough for HCP, but he took the effort to personally call me and talk it over. My understanding (from a different source) is that, at least in the med device sector, they are moving away from early stage companies like ours.

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Great Discussion and Very Helpful with Introductions Even Though Our Seed Round Wasn't a Fit.

Fund: Highland Capital Partners

Posted by Chris Shaw - Co-Founder & CEO of LexSpot on 2012-02-29

PUBLIC:

Value added insight, helpful introductions, quick turnaround and great personalities to boot.

I was introduced to Dan Nova at Highland about a month ago. We had also chatted with John Palfrey--one of Highland's venture executives as well.

We were pre-launch, but had a basic product together and we were looking for seed funding--pretty much out of Highland's traditional sweet spot.

It didn't matter. Dan gave us a great deal of his time. He spent time picking our deck apart and offered to give us a bunch of intros to angels and lawyers in town. (We build SaaS for lawyers).

He kindly and quickly gave us reasons why Highland isn't interested in the seed stage, but would like to chat as we validated assumptions and looked for a true series A investment (3-5 million). He never asked anything beyond what we offered to share and was helpful in every meaningful way. Definitely worth talking with Highland and Dan and we'll be chatting with them again when we go to raise our A.

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1
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Richard De Silva is the Guy to Talk To

Fund: Highland Capital Partners

Posted by Anonymous on 2008-03-07

PUBLIC:

If you want to talk to Highland about your IT/Digital Media company, you should talk to Richard De Silva. This is especially true if you are on the west coast. He is very well connected, and can get deals done quickly.

We pitched Richard early on, and he was immediately engaged and added value right away. He made introductions to potential customers at very senior levels, and introduced us to two great hires for our early team - all before we even had a term sheet. We ended up doing our series A with Highland, and things have been going well ever since.

The point is that if you want to do a deal with Highland you should talk to Richard. He relates well to entrepreneurs, having been one himself. He will give you great feedback, and he is willing to do what it takes to get innovative companies off the ground.

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Tired Paying for Cable Operator's R&D

Fund: Highland Capital Partners

Posted by Anonymous on 2007-05-25

PUBLIC:

I don't know if all the partners feel this way, but the response to our pitch was that they are tired of paying for the cable company's R&D, so they're not interested in investing in anything that will be sold to or through broadband providers.

PRIVATE: Members Only (147 Characters)

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"The End of Venture Capital as We Know It."

Fund: Highland Capital Partners

Posted by Anonymous on 2009-05-28

PUBLIC:

Everyone on TheFunded knows that "Venture Capital 1.0" is dead. It's good to see that older venture capitalists are starting to realize that their days are numbered. The meteor is about to strike, Paul...

"Paul Maeder Maeder expects that a number of venture funds will disappear and that the venture capital industry will contract for the next few years. His prediction is that the amount of venture capital invested annually - which was some $30 billion in 2008 - will be cut in half."

http://tinyurl.com/r2e24j

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