“In The Studio,” XG Ventures’ Pietro Dova Prefers To Fly Under The Radar

Editor’s Note: Semil Shah is a contributor to TechCrunch. You can follow him on Twitter at @semil.

“In the Studio” welcomes a quiet, unassuming early-stage company veteran who has been through the ups and downs of Valley startups before landing at a certain search engine around the year 2000, after which he spent nearly seven years in various finance leadership roles and helped steer the company to its blockbuster public offering.

Pietro Dova, now a Managing Partner at XG Ventures, is not a name that comes up much in the noise of today’s funding stories, but that’s probably just fine for him. Along with his business partner, Andrea Zurek (also a former Google executive), Dova has slowly helped steer XG (stands for X-Google) into the ever-changing world of angel investing, focusing the fund on areas such as mobile, e-commerce, analytics, gaming, and business intelligence. Like the folks from Freestyle did, Dova and his colleagues are focusing on staying small and lean, closing about 12 deals per year, and trying to prove their model before making any decions to when and how grow.

I had to ask Dova a few times to come in, and he finally relented. He was, in fact, one of the first people I met in the Valley, as we were randomly seated together at a random startup dinner event back in June 2010. Somehow, we managed to stay in touch and I was able to convince him to sit down in the studio with me. Today, four years into XG, it will be fascinating to see what Dova and Zurek do for their next move, as they’re both young, strongly positioned in the Valley and particularly within Google’s deep network (which is especially important given the increasing strength of Google Ventures), and could take their fund in many new directions. In this discussion, Dova talks about his time at Google, the formation of XG, how XG engages with founders, and how he and Zurek approach the opportunities that lay ahead.