General Catalyst is adding former Zipcar CEO and Chairman Scott Griffith to its partnership.
Griffith was the CEO and Chairman of car sharing company Zipcar from 2003, until 2013, leading the company through an IPO, and its eventual sale to Avis for $500 million. Prior to Zipcar, Griffith held senior positions at The Boeing Company, Information America, and The Parthenon Group.
At General Catalyst, he’ll be what the firms call an XIR. These are former CEOs and founders who identify investments in an industry and work alongside founders to provide leadership, mentorship and operational support. The idea is the XIR becomes the chairman of the board of one of these companies, and General Catalyst will put an institutional investment in the company.
GC’s managing director David Fialkow explains that the target company traditionally doesn’t need a lot of financial help, but instead needs operational experience, and CEO experience to help take the company to the next level. These companies are usually still founder owned, and have around $10 to $30 million in revenue. Traditionally, XIRs take on one or two companies.
For example, former Akamai CEO Paul Sagan is an XIR at General Catalyst and is currently working with data backup company Datto. “There are clear results that are coming from this model,” explained Fialkow. XIR Paul Verrochi joined as Chairman of energy management company CLEAResult, which was subsequently acquired by General Atlantic in July 2013.
In terms of specific areas Griffith is excited about, he’s particularly interested in finding a marketplace company or a startup tackling the connected car.