Shasta Ventures Beefs Up Its SaaS Investment Focus With Three Hires

Aiming to boost its chops even more in the software as a service market, Shasta Ventures had added three to its team.

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The Menlo Park, California-based venture capitalist, which already backs a slew of SaaS companies added former Symantec General Manager Balaji Yelamanchili, Salesforce Chief Information Security Officer Izak Mutlu, and InterWest Board Partner Drew Harman to its team. 

Shasta Ventures has more than $1 billion being invested in enterprise and consumer companies, with a big focus on emerging platforms. Some of its investments include Anaplan, which just went public, surging more than 40% in its debut, Canva, the graphic design tool software maker and sales enabler software developer Highspot. Balaji, Izak, and Drew are the dream team, joining us at a period of rapid growth,” said Shasta Managing Director and Partner Jason Pressman in a recent press release announcing their appointments. “With the promotion of three partners and the addition of two new associates all within the last year, these new team members will be instrumental in helping us build our portfolio of SaaS, next-gen infrastructure, data intelligence, and security investments into world-class companies.”

Shasta Appointments Bring Different Software Expertise

The three executives bring different expertise to the venture capitalist firm as it seeks out new investments and helps its portfolio companies grow. According to Shasta, Yelamanchili, formerly of Symantec, will help the VC expand its efforts in the enterprise software market. Meanwhile, Mutlu of Salesforce, who is joining the VC as an executive-in-residence, will bring his three decades of information security expertise to the practice. Out of Harman, Shasta gets more than twenty-five years of enterprise software experience.  Harman will work with the CEOs of several Shasta portfolio companies as an advisor and board member. Shasta noted that Harman has advised many early-stage enterprise software startups and was tapped to help its portfolio companies grow.

Shasta is beefing up its SaaS company investment team at a time when the market is booming with a slew of startups tapping the public markets in recent months. Many have been successful, enjoying stocks that are still trading above their IPO prices, including Shasta backed Anaplan. That success is also drawing out the venture capitalists, creating fierce competition to get in early with some of the more promising SaaS startups. Shasta is hoping to get more of an edge with the appointments of three long-time industry players.  

The venture capitalist has been around since 2004, investing largely in early-stage companies, reserving follow-on capital for later rounds of financing to grow the companies it invests in. The VC only makes eight to ten investments each year in order to give its team the ability to make the ones it did choose successful. In addition to focusing on software startups, Shasta tends to go with U.S. based companies.