Brand Equity Nears Fund II’s First Close –

GREENWICH, Conn. – Brand Equity Ventures at press time was anticipating a mid-January first close on about $100 million for Brand Equity Ventures II.

The fund, launched last fall (VCJ, October 1999, page 22), targets $200 million and will be invested in branded consumer companies, from restaurants to e-commerce businesses.

Managing Partner Chris Kirchen said he thought the first close likely would notch about $100 million.

He declined to name limited partners committing to the vehicle, but Kirchen said marketing among BEV’s existing investors had met with a very positive response. Getting the attention of other potential backers has been more difficult, however, because so many venture firms are raising capital and many would-be investors are filling their plates with follow-on funds sponsored by firms with which the institutions already invest, Kirchen added.

BEV I wrapped in the spring of 1997 on $95 million and backed companies such as computer goods seller Cyberian Outpost Inc. and teenage e-commerce site Alloy Online Inc.

BEV II will invest $7 million to $10 million in each portfolio company over time, focusing primarily on early expansion-stage companies. Brand Equity also will back some start-ups and undertake some buyouts.