Who Knew? Xconomy Uncovers the Strange-But-True Details of Boston’s Innovation Leaders

Sure, they might be technological visionaries, multi-millionaire entrepreneurs, imposing CEOs, legendary venture capitalists, and the like. Everyone around them knows what they do professionally. But did you know one of them was also a Top Gun fighter pilot? Or that another accompanied Yo-Yo Ma on piano at the wedding of Bill Nye the Science Guy? And then there’s the wealthy investor who endowed not a classroom or a laboratory—but a men’s room.

Here at Xconomy, we’re all about telling the story of the Greater Boston innovation community—and let’s face it, we have a taste for the offbeat. So we’ve been hanging out at water coolers, listening in on the rumor mills, and pumping folks for information to get at those juicy details about the innovation elite that usually don’t show up on a company’s executive bio page.

So who endowed that men’s room? Read on to find out. And if you know something we don’t know about one of this area’s key tech players, by all means pass it along (self-disclosure welcome) by e-mailing us at [email protected]. We plan to share the information bounty at irregular intervals.

Here’s our inaugural installment:

David Aronoff, general partner of IDG Ventures Boston, was a ski jumper from age 5 through high school. He grew up in Lyndonville, VT, home of “Bag Balm,” a lubricant that helps cows avoid chapped teats.

Xconomist Bill Aulet, Entrepreneur in Residence at the MIT Entrepreneurship Center, played professional basketball for the Colchester (UK) Moels (it was the 1980-81 season, so anyone can take him now) and was player-coach for the second half of the season.

Many people know that Jonathan Bush, Jr., chairman and CEO of Athenahealth, is related to the President, but did you know just how cheeky he is about that fact? “The President is my cousin, and he lobbied hard for the role and succeeded in the end. We took him. Sometimes we think about putting him back,” says Bush.

John Chory, WilmerHale partner and chair of the firm’s Venture Group in Waltham, graduated as a distinguished cadet from West Point (top 5 percent of his class). He served five years as an active duty intelligence officer, including time in Korea’s DMZ, achieved the rank of major, and is Airborne qualified.

MIT grad and venture capitalist Brad Feld, managing director at Foundry Group and Mobius Venture Capital in Colorado, recently paid $25,000 to endow a men’s room at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Feld blogs that despite having bachelor’s and master’s degrees from MIT, that school rejected his offer to do the same. “No such challenge at CU Boulder,” he writes. … Next Page »

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