Serial entrepreneur Ben Metcalfe joins newly independent VC Ridge Ventures

Ridge Ventures, which is the new incarnation of the old IDG Ventures USA, has made a significant new hire in its path towards its future as a newly independent VC firm. It’s brought on Ben Metcalfe, formerly of WP Engine and Uber, as its first-ever Principal. He brings a very broad experience as an entrepreneur, angel investor, software engineer, product developer and operator, said the firm.

Metcalfe was part of the early technical team which launched BBC News online, co-founded and scaled WP Engine — a successful SaaS startup that had 70,000 customers and over 500,000 websites rely on it — and he’s built accessibility products for Uber.

He’s also implemented strategic marketing plans, evaluated technical solutions and business models as an investor. At WP Engine, he helped grow the company to tens of millions of dollars in revenue, while contributing to product, sales, marketing, and partnerships. Metcalfe is literally a jack of all trades.

Speaking to TechCrunch he said: “I’ve always been a technologist and operational person. So this is an interesting move for me. If I look at my career, it feels like a long fight for the user. From BBC data, Uber, deaf and hard of hearing drivers, WP Engine and democratising publishing. So for me, fighting for the user can also be having a seat on the other side of the table, wanting to improve the experience for founders. So that’s why I’m joining Ridge Ventures.”

Metcalfe said he wanted to be in a “smaller firm where I can make a bigger difference, rather than a larger firm where it would be harder.”

“I love B2B Saas, as they are always interesting companies to invest in. I’ve been a software engineer, done product and public policy, and because of this varied experience and I’m interested in a lot of things.”

In a statement Ridge Ventures said: “Ben provides a background and fresh perspective that we welcome and value: he understands the needs of today’s founders better than most investors, drawing from his time learning about technology and scaling businesses with no formal university background. He also helps expand Ridge’s network among young, ambitious founders so we can continue to work with the best and brightest.”