Charter Nabs Bischoff To Focus on B2B –

PALO ALTO, Calif. – Charter Growth Capital recently added George Bischoff, of FleetBoston Robertson Stephens Inc. as a general partner to source and evaluate business-to-business e-commerce deals.

Bischoff, a former vice president of Robertson Stephens, who oversaw the investment bank’s West Coast corporate finance and B2B e-commerce banking practice, helped raise more than $4.5 billion for over 60 companies since joining the bank in 1989, said Jim Boettcher, one of Charter’s four general partners.

Charter backs expansion-stage enterprise software, B2B e-commerce and telecommunications network deals, and saw Bischoff as the man to help increase the firm’s investments in the B2B space.

“With George’s past coverage of this sector … we are really hopeful that he can help us get in on more great deals in this area,” Boettcher said, explaining that the firm wants to place more emphasis on this sector with its latest fund.

Charter expected a late March close for the $440 million Charter Growth Capital II and a $20 million side fund (VCJ, March, 36). Launched in October 1999, the vehicle was originally targeted at $200 million but more than doubled in size because of hearty investor interest, including a number of strategic investors from Asia. The increased fund size also allows the firm to invest larger stakes in portfolio companies and Charter’s investment team wanted a three year investment cycle before having to raise another fund, Boettcher said.

After nearly a decade as an investment banker, Bischoff turned to venture capital because he wanted to help build companies, rather than just raise money for them. “Evaluating opportunities and building a business is more interesting than the next-deal, transactional mentality of the banking world,” he said.

Bischoff was drawn to Charter’s industry and late-stage focus because he had spent most of his professional life helping more mature private companies go public or giving public companies advice on mergers and acquisitions. “I…understand who the winners will be, ” he added.

The vehicle will back about 40 companies with average investments of between $8 million to $10 million over several rounds of financing, Boettcher said. About half of the fund’s capital will be devoted to telecom companies, with the other half going to enterprise software and B2B e-commerce companies.

The new fund’s limited partners include General Motors Corp, the Cha Group, GTE Corp., ADC Telecommunications Inc. and Temasek Holdings. The side vehicle’s limited partners include about 120 entrepreneurs, CEOs and venture capitalist who can help Charter with deal flow and due diligence, Boettcher said.

In addition to Boettcher and Bischoff, Charter’s investment team includes general partners Kevin McQuillan, Steve Bird and Analyst Dan Ho. The firm has plans to add two more analysts in the coming months to assist with the new fund.