Enterprise IT investor Dharmesh Thakker joins Battery Ventures

Battery Ventures will soon have a new general partner: Dharmesh Thakker, formerly of Intel Capital, will join Roger Lee and Chelsea Stoner in Battery’s Menlo Park, California office.

At Intel, Thakker was involved in the funding of several high-profile infrastructure vendors — he was the first investor in OpenStack provider Mirantis, for example. He also invested in DynamicsOps and Maginetics, which were subsequently acquired by VMware and EMC, respectively.

So why move? Thakker said Battery has both the domain expertise and geological reach needed for successful investment. He also liked that Battery is “stage-agnostic” — getting into startups early but also getting involved in later-stage investments if appropriate.

While he will look for more opportunities in the Valley, he said he won’t be restricted to it. “Investment focus has broadened — there’s a ton of innovation in Eastern Europe, China, India, and Israel,” he said. In his opinion, the proliferation of high-quality open source software has “democratized innovation.” With offices in the Valley, Boston and Israel — a San Francisco satellite is coming soon — Battery can attack some of these opportunities, he said.

Thanks to the availability of solid open source software tools and affordable cloud infrastructure, a startup can get into the game of building business software without spending all of its seed and Series A funding on software and hardware.

And there is the prospect of a good exit since many legacy IT companies put their own R&D on hold during the economic downturn and now may need to buy their way into new markets.

The downside of all that cheap, capable software and rentable cloud is that as the barriers of entry erode there are a lot more startups — not all of them stellar.  “the signal to noise ratio” is getting worse, Thakker said. All the more reason for a VC to know what’s what when it comes to enterprise infrastructure and business software.

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