Apperian Founder Goldman on Joining Great Hill to Do Mobile Rollups

Any time a founder leaves a startup, it makes news. That’s why we were interested to hear that Apperian founder Chuck Goldman has joined Great Hill Partners as an executive-in-residence (see news brief here).

Goldman, a former Apple executive who helped launch the original iPhone, started Boston-based Apperian in 2009 and led the company from its early days in enterprise mobility into the era of BYOD (bring your own device) and mobile app management.

Reached by phone, Goldman says he’s still working with Apperian, leading its strategic advisory board—a group of the company’s top partners and customers. And that he’s spent the past year and a half building out Apperian’s international business, particularly in China and Europe; some of that progress is through relationships he had at Apple.

Goldman says his move to Great Hill is “very amicable,” and he retains all his stock in his startup. “It’s still my baby,” he says. “I want nothing more than to see Apperian continue its phenomenal growth in the market.” (Great Hill is not involved with Apperian.)

So why leave? “I’m more of an early, genesis guy, on vision and strategy,” Goldman says. “More on formulating strategy and pulling teams together.” Like a lot of entrepreneurs, he seems less excited about day-to-day operations and more interested in starting new projects. Which in this case doesn’t mean a new startup, but rather a new way of working with and acquiring companies in the enterprise mobile industry.

With Great Hill, he’s joining a later-stage private equity firm that is “looking at rolling up some interesting companies in the industry,” he says. “I truly believe there is something to be done in enterprise mobility that has not been done before, and it will take a private equity firm with the resources of Great Hill” to achieve that.

Where does all of this leave Apperian? Mobile-industry observers want to know what the outlook is, now that its founder has stepped back.

The company has raised $28 million to date from North Bridge Venture Partners, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Bessemer Venture Partners, Intel Capital, and others. It has grown to well over 60 people, with the majority in Boston.

Along the way, Apperian has amassed an experienced leadership team, including CEO David Patrick, CFO Brian Day, head of products Alan Murray, head of sales Jeff Murphy, and chief marketing officer Mark Lorion.

Lorion says Goldman “realizes he’s a startup-founder type of personality. His ideas are beyond what we at Apperian would pursue with our platform.” Those ideas, he adds, will “ultimately benefit the industry.”

Meanwhile, Apperian isn’t giving specifics about its growth trajectory, but Lorion says all is going well. “We are beating our 2013 plan, and we exceeded our objectives for the third quarter,” he says. “Spirits are high, and we’re moving up and to the right.”

We’ll continue to keep an eye on this company, but it sounds like Goldman is leaving it in capable hands. “He’s put a good team in place,” Lorion says.

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