Artis Capital Management Raises $43 Million Fund

Want further proof that hedge funds are yesterday’s news? Artis Capital Management, the hedge fund with close ties to Sequoia Capital and an investor in YouTube, has just raised a modest, $43.1 million venture capital fund, according to a regulatory filing.

The filing gives about as much away to the outside world as Artis’s website, unfortunately.  It says only that the fund, named Artis Private Growth Partners, counts 49 accredited investors. It was signed by Stuart Peterson, the president of the San Francisco-based firm (and, somewhat famously, the newish owner of a $20 million estate in Tiburon, Calif., one previously owned by tennis stars Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf).

My colleague, Alex Haislip, reported back in May that Artis was shopping the idea of a venture fund to its limited partners. Alex’s sources reported that the fund would be run by David Lamond, son of Sequoia general partner Pierre Lamond. I’ve left a message with the firm, asking whether or not that’s the case and haven’t heard back yet.

Given some of Artis’s publicly disclosed holdings, the move isn’t a surprise. Last year, it backed six startups, including GPS company Dash Navigation, alcohol-based fuel cell maker Oorja Protonics, fables semiconductor company Open-Silicon, enterprise software concern SchemaLogic, security service provider Cast Iron Systems, and Internet advertising network Adbrite.

The firm has been tied publicly to only one private company this year. In January, it participated in a $21 million Series D for wide-area-network technology startup Silver Peak Systems.

Artis tends to invest behind Sequoia Capital, as it famously did when it invested behind the Sand Hill Road firm in the video-sharing service YouTube, collecting shares worth $83 million as a result of YouTube’s sale to Google in 2006 for $1.6 billion in stock.

Of Artis’s aforementioned investments, Sequoia has been an investor in each but Silver Peak Systems. In fact, Pierre Lamond has served as the chairman of Cast Iron Systems and continues to chair the board of Open-Silicon.

In the meantime, both firms have become embroiled in entertainment giant Viacom’s ongoing battle against Google. Earlier this month, to prove that YouTube’s business model depends on copyright infringement, Viacom filed discovery requests against Sequoia, Artis, and specialty finance company TriplePoint Capital, which also held a stake in YouTube when it was acquired. The firms agreeed to produce the documents by today, according to court filings.