VC firm hires Harvard professor

Highland Capital has brought on an internet and intellectual property expert to continue the firm’s push in the digital media space.

US venture firm Highland Capital Partners has hired Harvard Law School Professor and internet researcher John Palfrey as a venture executive. Palfrey will look at investment opportunities within his areas of expertise and aid in the development of Highland portfolio companies.

Highland also intends to capitalise on Palfrey’s deep network of relationships in the digital media space, said Highland general partner Dan Nova in a statement.

Palfrey is the executive director of Harvard Law’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society. His research spans internet law, intellectual property, the internet's impact on democracy and how young people use new technologies. His more specific focus is the intellectual property ramifications of digital media and user-generated content.

Palfrey has personally co-founded several technology companies and was a founder of RSS Investors, a private equity firm launched in 2005 and focussed on new syndication technologies.

The addition of Palfrey brings the size of Highland’s IT and digital media team to 14 executives, making it the largest in the firm. Highland currently has 33 IT and digital media investments including social-networking site CafeMom and digital media platform company Gotuit.

Highland invests in companies across four sectors: IT and digital media, communications, consumer and healthcare. The company has $3 billion in committed capital under management.