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TiVo backer Alsop to leave VC firm

Prominent venture capitalist at Silicon Valley's New Enterprise Associates wants to "see if I can design a working life for myself."

Stewart Alsop, the venture capitalist who helped foster TiVo, is leaving his firm to try something new.

Stewart Alsop

In a memo to staffers, Alsop said he will leave New Enterprise Associates by the end of the year to "see if I can design a working life for myself that is focused entirely on working with a few early-stage companies, whether that is in a smaller partnership or something more individualized." A spokeswoman for the firm confirmed his pending departure.

NEA is one of Silicon Valley's more prominent venture capital firms. The firm has about $6 billion in active management, according to its Web site. Over the years, it has put money into, among others companies, contract manufacturing giant Flextronics, PMC-Sierra and Silicon Graphics Inc.

More recent investments include solar-energy specialist Konarka, TiVo, Salesforce.com and Chinese chip giant Semiconductor Manufacturing International.

NEA definitely has a brainy twist. Arno Penzias, who won the Nobel Prize in physics in 1978 for his work in helping support the big-bang theory, is a venture partner, as is Forest Baskett, formerly the chief technology officer at SGI and a professor of engineering at Stanford University.

Alsop had been one of the more visible partners in the firm, with a rising interest in consumer electronics. He led the firm's investment in TiVo and formerly sat on the company's board. Prior to NEA, he served as editor in chief of InfoWorld.