New VC in Boston: Arch Venture Partners Opens Small Office With Eye Toward Basic Science, Multidisciplinary Collaborations

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across the board.” Arch has always had a strongly multi-disciplinary approach, often investing in startups that bridge several fields, he says. Fate was one example, involving researchers from Boston, Seattle, the Bay Area, and San Diego with different but complementary areas of expertise who joined forces to develop a new approach to stem cell medicine. A more recent example is Sapphire Energy of San Diego, in which Arch was a co-founder and later co-invested with the Wellcome Trust, Venrock Associates and Cascade Investment, the investment arm of Bill Gates. The biofuels company was formed around expertise in life sciences, energy, and physical sciences, Rives says.

Having another top-tier venture firm like Arch join the Boston startup scene has to be good for the area, and Rives seems poised to make a name for himself. He earned a B.S. in biology and philosophy from Yale University, where he graduated magna cum laude with a commendation in biotechnology. After graduation in 2004, he returned to his native Seattle to work at the Accelerator, a famous biotech incubator where he assisted in the early development of a small array of start-up companies. Arch is an investor in Acclerator, and after about a year there, Rives was offered a job at the venture firm. He was in Arch’s Seattle office before moving here.

Rives says he welcomes the move to New England, which he knows well from his college days. “I know it. I love it. I’m happy to be out there,” he says.

And he’s especially happy with his role as a young venture capitalist. “When I left college, that’s exactly what I wanted to do,” he says. “What motivates me is the opportunity to work together with brilliant people to build a company that has the potential to transform human health.”

[Update, Sept. 22] Rives will not be working completely alone for Arch in Boston, I have just learned. Cindy Bayley, an Arch affiliate, is also in the Boston area and has helped start many companies for the firm, including deCode Genetics, Adolor, and Elixir Pharmaceuticals. She also had early involvement in Alnylam and Agios, Arch reports.

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