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Barksdale investing in online grocer

Privately held HomeGrocer is expected to announce as early as tomorrow that the former Netscape chief executive has invested about $5 million.

Jim Barksdale has found a life after Netscape, and it includes investing in the online grocery business.

Privately held HomeGrocer is expected to announce as early as tomorrow that the former Netscape chief executive has invested about $5 million in the online grocery company, which serves the Seattle area, sources said. Barksdale also is expected to receive a seat on HomeGrocer's board of directors, the sources added.

This deal marks the first for Barksdale since he left Netscape. The former CEO took to his new job a month after the software maker was acquired by online giant America Online.

Barksdale and two other former Netscape executives have created an investment firm to make such deals, the sources said. Joining him in the venture are Peter Currie, former chief administrative officer, and Quincy Smith, former investor relations and new business development manager. The Barksdale Group's office will be located in Menlo Park, California.

Barksdale previously said that he planned to invest in start-up Internet-related companies as an individual investor.

The investment in HomeGrocer draws on Barksdale's previous background in distribution and the Internet. While promising, the online grocery business has grown slower than many analysts had expected.

In addition to heading up Netscape, the former CEO also served as chief operating officer of Federal Express.

Barksdale has made other investments as an individual. For example, he joined in a $10 million second round of financing for SpringStreet's Allapartments.com last June. Joining him in that investment round were Technology Crossover Ventures, along with Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers and Rosewood Capital.