MENLO PARK, Calif. – The Sprout Group hired Jeani Delagardelle as its sixth venture partner in mid-August, said Philippe Chambon, a general partner at Sprout Group. Delagardelle comes to the firm after a three-year tenure at San Francisco-based Weiss, Peck & Greer Venture Partners, (now Lightspeed Venture Partners, see story, page 16) where she was a general partner.
“The reason I left the firm was because Weiss, Peck & Greer had made a strategic decision to exit the life sciences area,” Delagardelle said. “Sprout is dedicated to investments in health-care technology, they are expanding their health-care group, they are a top tier firm with an excellent reputation and my background and investment history was complimentary and synergistic with the existing partnership.”
Delagardelle said that eliminating life sciences investments was a “strategic decision that I think made sense for the group.” She describes her relationship with Weiss, Peck as a “very friendly situation,” and continues to spend about 15% of her time working with Weiss, Peck portfolio companies of which she is on the board, she said.
Delagardelle considered a handful of other firms, but the quality and integrity of the Sprout partners, combined with their investment strategy, led her to Sprout Group, she said. The new venture partner had co-invested with a number of the Sprout Group partners over the past couple of years, she said, which allowed her to become comfortable with the personal and professional styles of the healthcare-focused partners at the firm.
“We hired Jeani because she has very strong management and marketing background in the medical device industry,” Chambon said. Delagardelle is responsible for health-care technology investments focusing on e-health, genomics tools infrastructure and medical device companies.
Sprout Group is prepping a final close on Sprout IX, which will be “significantly larger than Sprout VIII,” Chambon said. The firm started raising the newest vehicle over the summer and since then has held a first close, he said, although he would not reveal any additional information about the fund or the fund-raising process.
The firm’s previous vehicle, the $860 million Sprout VIII, which closed late in the first quarter of 1998, is completely committed to about 50 companies, Chambon said. The firm makes average initial investments of about $12 million, he said.
Sprout Group, with $3 billion under management, is the venture capital affiliate of Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette and targets companies in the datacom, telecom, e-commerce and software and healthcare technologies sectors. The firm has 11 general partners and is in the market for another general partner and some other junior level people, Chambon said.