Blueprint Ventures Preps Close On Fund I –

SAN FRANCISCO – Blueprint Ventures is slated for a May final close on its $150 million-targeted Emerging Communications Fund, said Bart Schachter, a founder and general partner at the firm.

Blueprint launched its first fund in mid-1999 and held a first close on $130 million in February, he said, adding that the fund was vastly oversubscribed with commitments of over $200 million after just three weeks of fund raising.

Blueprint Ventures plans to invest the vehicle in about 12 to 15 early-stage communications and Internet infrastructure companies with initial investments ranging between $3 million and $10 million, Schachter said. The firm prefers to co-invest with other venture firms and leads deals as often as possible, he said.

At press time, Blueprint invested some $31 million of the fund in five companies: CopperCom, Flashcom, MobileStar Network, Oresis Communications Inc. and ShareGate Inc. The firm concentrates its efforts on companies based in the Western half of the United States, but also considers investments elsewhere in the states and abroad, often in Israel.

Blueprint reserved a maximum of 10% of its vehicle for a strategic investors side fund, which includes more than 100 telecommunications executives, Wall Street telecommunications industry analysts and investment bankers, all of whom are personally connected to the firm. Together, the members of the side fund create what the firm refers to as an ecosystem, assisting with due diligence and connections for the firm’s portfolio companies.

Traditional limited partners in the fund include Merrill Lynch, SalomonSmithBarney, BancBoston Ventures, Moore Capital, J.F. Shea & Co. and Tudor Investments.

Blueprint was founded by Thomas Unterberg, chairman of technology banking firm C.E. Unterberg Towbin, another limited partner in the fund. Schachter was director of business development at Intel Corp. before founding the firm, and Ashley Read, a senior associate at the firm, was previously Intel’s Treasury Manager. Collectively, the partners are investing between 5% to 10% of the total value of the fund, Schachter said.

Blueprint plans to expand the investment team by two in time to invest the current fund, and will hire more investors as it raises its second fund sometime in the next six months, Schachter said.