Gary Swart Becomes General Partner at Polaris Partners

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Former CEO of oDesk Will Continue to Advance Firm’s West Coast Technology Investment Strategy

At our core, Polaris is about building extraordinary relationships. Having known Gary for the last 20 years, working with each other in our past operating lives, I can attest that he ‘walks the talk’.

Polaris Partners today announced that Gary Swart has been named a general partner of the firm. Following a successful tenure as the CEO of oDesk, Swart joined Polaris last year as a venture partner and quickly transitioned from an experienced operations executive to an active investor. Focusing on marketplace and SaaS opportunities on the West Coast, he has led numerous investments on behalf of the firm and currently sits on the boards of CliQr, SimplyInsured and Quantcast, and serves as a board observer for TalkIQ. Swart will continue to invest as a key member of the Polaris team nationwide and serve as the primary technology investment presence in Silicon Valley and San Francisco.

Polaris Managing Partner Dave Barrett recognized Swart’s contributions thus far, citing his partner’s passion for building businesses and his strong cultural fit with the Polaris team as key success factors:

“Over the past year, Gary has added tremendous value to our firm and our portfolio companies,” said Barrett. “He has contributed additional, meaningful operating chops and domain expertise to our technology team, mentored countless entrepreneurs, and helped to fortify our West Coast presence. As an operating executive, he experienced exceptional success and developed strong empathy for the entrepreneurial journey which we, as partners, pride ourselves in having. At our core, Polaris is about building extraordinary relationships. Having known Gary for the last 20 years, working with each other in our past operating lives, I can attest that he ‘walks the talk’. We are all super-proud to have him as our partner.”

In his general partner role at Polaris, Swart will support his portfolio while actively seeking additional opportunities primarily in San Francisco but nationally as well. He will continue his coaching and mentoring initiatives with company founders and innovators in pursuit of transformative endeavors in the Bay Area entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Remarking on his partnership at the firm, Swart shared his enthusiasm for continuing to do the work he loves:

“Today’s company builders are not looking for just money; they want a partner who has walked in their shoes and is willing to roll up his or her sleeves and work right alongside them when they need it,” Swart said. “It is here that I am most gratified - offering support to the entrepreneur who is seeking to transform the status quo. I am thrilled to have found a home at Polaris with opportunities to do great things together with our founders and teams.”

About Gary Swart

Gary Swart is a partner with Polaris Partners, and serves as an advisor and mentor to dozens of companies. He joined the firm as a venture partner in September 2014 following his tenure as the CEO of oDesk, the world's largest online workplace with more than three million clients and ten million freelancers. Gary guided the company to industry leadership and through a merger with Elance, while serving as an influential voice for the future of work and the emerging online work industry.

Prior to oDesk, Gary was VP of Worldwide Sales for Intellibank, responsible for building the direct and indirect sales organization and channel development. Previous to Intellibank, he was a Business Unit Executive for IBM's Rational Software Product Group. Gary joined IBM through the acquisition of Rational Software where he ran Western Field Operations and held a number of other senior management positions, including Americas Medium Business Leader, Area Manager, District Manager, and Director of Telesales. Prior to Rational Gary held a number of sales, management, and leadership positions with Pure Software, subsequently Pure-Atria, which previously merged with Rational. He currently sits on the Boards of CliQr, SimplyInsured and Quantcast, and serves as a Board Observer at TalkIQ. Gary holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Maryland.

About Polaris Partners

Polaris Partners invests in exceptional technology and healthcare companies across all stages of their life cycles. With offices in Boston, San Francisco, and Dublin, we partner globally with an unparalleled network of repeat entrepreneurs, top scientists and emerging innovators who are making significant contributions in their fields and vastly improving the way in which we live and work. http://www.polarispartners.com

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Emily Mendell
@PolarisVC
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