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The Boston Globe

Business

Ex-Akamai CEO joins venture firm

Paul Sagan has joined General Catalyst Partners.

Paul Sagan has joined General Catalyst Partners.

After stepping down last year as chief executive of Internet giant Akamai Technologies Inc., Paul Sagan has moved on to become a venture capitalist, joining General Catalyst Partners in Cambridge.

Sagan, 54, will be a partner at the firm and also a member of its XIR program, in which experienced executives take a more active role in companies backed by General Catalyst.

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“Founders are looking for money but they can find that in a lot of places,” said Sagan. “They are looking for partnerships with people who have been to hell and back, and as a CEO, you have been through hell and back. I can bring that to the table.”

Sagan became president of Akamai in 1999 and later CEO in 2005. During that period, the company’s cofounder Daniel Lewin died in the 9/11 attacks and Akamai struggled through the dot.com collapse.

Under Sagan’s watch, Akamai expanded its global footprint through a string of acquisitions to compete in the increasingly competitive business of Web content delivery.

Sagan’s involvement in the Boston tech economy extends beyond Akamai.

He sits on the boards of EMC Corp. and iRobot Inc., two of the area’s biggest public tech companies. He previously held high-level positions at Time Warner.

General Catalyst itself has also been growing. Earlier this year, Donald Fisher, formerly of Greylock Partners, joined as a partner. In December, General Catalyst closed a $675 million fund. Its portfolio includes such hot startups as Snapchat, Airbnb, and Warby Parker.

Michael B. Farrell can be reached at michael.farrell@globe.com.

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