Chrysalis Plans Georgia Expansion As Part Of New Hires

Dow Jones VentureWire, May 10, 2010, by Jonathan Matsey

Chrysalis Ventures, which invests in both IT and life sciences, said it plans to expand its reach into Georgia with the hire of Greg Foster as an entrepreneur in residence.

The firm, based in Louisville, Ky., said it also plans to beef up its operations at home with the addition of Doug Cobb, a founder of the firm, as EIR, as well as Alan Ying as venture partner and Jill Force as chief operating officer.

“We focus on what we call Middle America – the Midwest and the South,” Chairman and Managing Director David Jones said. “This (the addition of Foster) gives us a person based in Atlanta.”

Foster focuses on media and technology. He most recently was a partner at Noro-Moseley Partners. Previously, he was chief executive of Southern Direct Inc., which was acquired in 2005 by Turner Broadcasting Systems Inc., where he was vice president of corporate development.

Cobb is returning to Chrysalis, which he helped found with Jones in 1993. He left the firm in 1997 to lead Greater Louisville Inc., the region’s economic development organization, later becoming CEO of Chrysalis-backed Appriss Inc., which was sold to Bain Capital Ventures and JMI Equity in 2007.

“He’s remained a close friend of the firm,” said Jones about Cobb. “We’ve made a lot of money together.”

Ying, who focuses on health care IT, was the CEO of MercuryMD Inc., a mobile information company for health care, which was acquired by Thompson Corp. in 2006. He then was chief medical officer for Thompson.

Jones said Ying will help bolster the firm’s health care IT investing – an area he said he sees being of greater importance for the firm – as well as bringing his educational background to Chrysalis. “He’s now the second M.D. on the team,” he said.

Force, who will manage Chrysalis’ day-to-day operations as COO, previously was executive vice president, general counsel and chief administrative officer at LifeCare Hospitals. She takes over from the firm’s retiring COO, Greg Richey.

The new hires come on the heels of a March announcement of the hiring of Janesse Thaw Bruce as executive in residence and Wendy Jarchow as director of business development. The firm also recently hired Derek Fricke as an analyst.

Chrysalis is investing from its $175 million third fund, which closed in early 2008. Jones said that fund, which has backed 14 companies, is roughly two-thirds invested. A subsequent fund would likely be in the $150 million to $200 million range, but he said the firm currently has no fund-raising plans set.