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Gemvara founder's next act

April 1, 2013: 2:35 PM ET

matt_lauzonFrom entrepreneur to EIR to ... mayor?

FORTUNE -- Matt Lauzon last year stepped down as CEO of Gemvara, the Boston-based online retailer of customizable fine jewelry that he had co-founded back in 2006. Today he has resurfaced as an entrepreneur-in-residence with venture capital firm Matrix Partners.

I reached out to discuss the move with Lauzon, and an edited transcript of our conversation is below:

Fortune: You had talks about becoming an entrepreneur-in-residence with several VC firms, before settling on Matrix. What interested you in the position, generally speaking?

Lauzon: I'd love to start another business, and expect that's what I'm going to do. What interested me was having a platform where I could sit with people I respect vetting ideas and seeing a lot more throughput in terms of people I might want to recruit. And I'm thrilled to be joining Matrix, which is a firm I haven't worked with but which I have a great amount of respect for.

Even absent an EIR role, I've been talking with young teams looking for a CEO of other ideas different people have. I have a really high bar that whatever I do next should be really a great opportunity. If I feel I'm onto that two weeks from now, great. If it takes me a year, that's fine too.

Is the fact that you joined Matrix over a firm like Highland, which was an original Gemvara backer, a reflection on your relationship with Highland?

No. I would love to work with Highland again and know they'd like to work with me. This was really more about my interest in working with Antonio Rodriguez at Matrix, who is a very thoughtful kind of guy who spends lots of time thinking about what the world will look like in five years from now in terms of behavior. The way we both think about building businesses is similar, and Matrix as a firm obviously has great returns and rates of repeat entrepreneurs.

Do you expect you next startup will also be e-commerce?

My experience obviously is in consumer web and e-commerce, and I've thought about a lot of things there. In particular, marketplace models with invisible inventory. Like the spare capacity of cabs in Uber, for example. The other space that I'm really passionate about is the way the relationships between employers and employees are changing dramatically, so I'm trying to understand that better.

It's now been four months since you stepped down as Gemvara's CEO. Any regrets about the decision or the timing?

No, the timing was actually perfect. We had folks in place and the company had great momentum. And we had a board meeting last week where 2013 looked really exciting. For me, I took a couple months off as a sort of sabbatical and only in the last month or so began seriously looking at new ideas.

You were known for advocating that entrepreneurs form companies in downtown Boston. Still feel that way, given that Matrix has an office just outside the city limits in Cambridge?

I think it's in everyone's best interest to think of the whole area as a single area, because that's how people outside of here think of it. What's important to be is the whole area collectively winning. I like downtown Boston, and live there. But I'm now going to be hanging out with Matrix in Cambridge.

Boston's longtime mayor just announced that he is stepping down, and you joked on Twitter about running for the job. Any actual interest?

I would love to find a way to make Boston generally a more awesome place to live and work, but I'm not yet sure how. I was surprised at the support on Twitter, but my focus now really is on finding the next great startup.

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About This Author
Dan Primack
Dan Primack
Senior Editor, Fortune

Dan Primack joined Fortune.com in September 2010 to cover deals and dealmakers, from Wall Street to Sand Hill Road. Previously, Dan was an editor-at-large with Thomson Reuters, where he launched both peHUB.com and the peHUB Wire email service. In a past journalistic life, Dan ran a community paper in Roxbury, Massachusetts. He currently lives just outside of Boston.

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