Bain Capital Ventures To Open Palo Alto Office This Summer

Bain is heading back to the West Coast. But it’s not the global PE firm that’s returning but Bain Capital Ventures.

BCV, which was formed in 2000 as the VC arm of Bain Capital, plans to open a Palo Alto office this summer, peHUB has learned.

Ajay Agarwal, a Bain Capital Ventures MD, will be moving to Palo Alto to lead the office, I’m told. Several BCV associates will be relocating to the area.

There are also plans to hire. Over the next one to three years, Bain Capital Ventures will be looking to scoop up several senior execs from the Bay Area, peHUB has learned.

This isn’t the first time Bain has been on the West Coast. Bain Capital, the buyout shop, had an office in downtown San Francisco that closed roughly eight years ago. The new Palo Alto site will be all VC, I’m told, and not a precursor to Bain Capital launching a PE office.

The opening of the Palo Alto office doesn’t mean that Bain will be ramping up its focus on VC. It’s part of a long-term growth strategy, I’m told. Also, Bain Capital Ventures has always made West Coast investments from their Boston office. In fact, 25% of BCV’s deals—like LinkedIn and the online music service Lala— have been on the West Coast.

BCV currently has about $1.5 billion in assets under management. Investments can range from several hundred thousand dollars in seed capital to $50 million, according to the firm’s web site.

Bain Capital Ventures was very active in 2010. The firm made 17 new  investments last year including $12 million in EDGAR Online, as well as undisclosed amounts into The Receivables Exchange and BuyWithMe. The firm also made several exits, including the sale of iPay Technologies to Jack Henry  & Assoc. for $300 million (Spectrum Equity also sold their stake).

Last fall, BCV also launched the Bain Capital Ventures Innovation Center, which is geared specifically for early-stage entrepreneurs. The site provides resources for execs to help them start a business including raising capital, vetting a product, and networking.

BCV is currently investing from its fourth fund, Bain Capital Ventures Fund 2009 LP, which raised $525 million.

Bain Capital Ventures declined comment.

Mark Boslet contributed to this report.