Scott Maxwell of OpenView Partners Thinking Positive Thoughts Again

You can excuse Scott Maxwell, senior managing director of OpenView Venture Partners, for feeling a little pessimistic over the last two years.

His firm’s second fund, a $125 million effort to invest in growth stage companies, closed in the fall 2008. Yup, it closed the day Lehman Brothers collapsed, said Maxwell, a former managing director at Insight Venture Partners, who formed OpenView with many of his Insight colleagues. Included are Firas Raouf, Kobie Fuller and Igor Altman. The team raised $100 million for its debut effort in 2006.

“In 2008, I thought we were falling off a cliff, although I hoped we wouldn’t,” said Maxwell, who told me that he started seeing the economic impact of the recession on companies beginning in early 2009.

However, Maxwell is gaining optimism. The firm, which focuses on companies with a North American growth strategy, has a dozen companies in its portfolio, and he says that 2010 has returned to a more normal pace. Meanwhile, he is working on a term sheet for a Seattle company, which he says will be announced soon. Maxwell says he doesn’t expect to raise another fund until early 2012.

“We’re gaining optimism. Things are feeling more normal,” he says.

Meanwhile, the firm has launched efforts to communicate more with its portfolio companies. OpenView recently launched what it calls OpenView Labs, a website that includes blog posts from the OpenView team members and other posted research items, to provide what Maxwell calls “tips and tricks.”

Among one of the recent items on the site was information about blogging and how to develop a corporate blog, something that Maxwell himself has done off and on over the years.

“Blogging started out as sharing one’s thoughts, but it’s now become a pretty good communication tool,” Maxwell says. “It’s a great way to reach the people you need to reach.”