Felda Hardymon is MBA Class of 1975 Professor of Management Practice at Harvard Business School, where he has taught Venture Capital and Private Equity as well as The Entreprenurial Manager, and is a Partner at Bessemer Venture Partners, a global first-tier venture firm.
Felda graduated from Rose Polytechnic Institute with a degree in mathematics. He attended Duke University, where he earned a Ph.D. in mathematics and remained at Duke to teach, eventually serving as Duke's Director of Systems and Research. He left Duke, and an academic career, to attend HBS (MBA '79, Baker Scholar), and in 1979 joined Business Development Services, Inc. (BDSI), the venture capital subsidiary of General Electric.
At BDSI Felda became a Vice President and was an investor in the start-up of Stratus Computer (the second fault-tolerant computer company, later sold to Ascend), the turnaround of Western Digital (a communications chip company, later to become a disk drive company), and the growth financing of Ungermann-Bass (the first local-area network company, later sold to Newbridge Networks).
Felda joined Bessemer Venture Partners (BVP) as a general partner in 1981. BVP is among the oldest venture firms (founded 1911) with offices in Cambridge (MA), Larchmont (NY), Silicon Valley, Herzliya (Israel), Bangalore and Mumbai (India). BVP invests approximately $300 million annually worldwide and has over $3 billion under management.
Felda has led BVP's investment in a number of young companies in the software, communications and retail sectors, including American Superconductor, Cascade Communications (acquired by Ascend), Celcore Communications Corp (acquired by DSC), Sahara Networks (acquired by Cascade), Parametric Technology Corp, Metapath Software International (acquired by Marconi), Sirocco Networks (acquired by Sycamore), LBMS (acquired by Platinum Technology), Wavesmith (acquired by Ciena), Celtel International (acquired by MTC), VideoServer (now called Ezenia), Vertica, Streambase and Endeca. His investments in the start-ups of The Sports Authority and Staples were the initial investments for BVP's retail practice.
He served on the Board of Directors of the National Venture Capital Association for a number of years in the 90's where he was Chairman of the Tax Committee. In May 2010 he was awarded the NVCA's rarely given Liftime Achievement Award.
Felda joined the HBS faculty in 1998, and with Josh Lerner developed the second-year MBA elective Venture Capital and Private Equity. He teaches in--and has been course head for--the Private Equity and Venture Capital Executive Education program held each fall. Beginning December 2010 Felda will be on leave from HBS. In winter 2011 he will be in residence at London School of Economics and Political Science where he has been appointed Visiting Professor of Finance.
In addition to his teaching duties, Felda continues to serve as a partner of BVP and is currently active with five investments. He serves on four private company boards as well as on the board of directors of Silicon Valley Bancshares (NASDAQ:SIVB). He advises several Venture Capital and Private Equity firms by sitting on investment committees and LP advisory boards.
With Josh Lerner he wrote Venture Capital and Private Equity: A Casebook, Volume II (John Wiley & Sons, 2002). With Josh Lerner and Ann Leamon, he wrote Venture Capital and Private Equity: A Casebook, Third Edition (John Wiley & Sons, 2005) and Venture Capital and Private Equity: A Casebook, Fourth Edition (John Wiley & Sons, 2008). With Ann Leamon, Denis Saulnier and the HBS IT department, he co-authored the VC Game, a massive, multi-player simulation of a venture capital market used to teach portfolio practices in private equity. Currently Felda is writing a VCPE text book with Josh Lerner and Ann Leamon to be published in the 2011 by John Wiley & Sons.