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Pietro Dova, 46

Pietro Dova, 46

Co-founder, XG Ventures
Formerly corporate controller and finance director, Google
Investments (a sampling): Tapulous, Plusmo, Posterous, Aardvark

Because he was an early Google employee, Pietro Dova, now a co-founder at XG Ventures, says the philosophies that drove Google’s growth still resonate with him. "Maybe I have more of an affiliation with those things than the person who comes in as the 20,000th employee," he says. Those philosophies mean focusing on the user and doing just one thing well rather than trying to become a jack-of-all-trades. If a company has a mission statement, it had better be clear. Companies that make the cut at XG will typically be getting a $25,000 to $100,000 angel investment and will be looking to raise $1 million to $5 million total. As for XG’s own growth, the firm has not solicited outside investors, known as limited partners. "There will be plenty of opportunity down the road to expand," Dova says. "We want to prove ourselves first." In other words, he wants to do one thing, and do it well.