DFJ Raises $350 Million for Tenth Fund

Draper Fisher Jurvetson has wrapped up its tenth fund, with $350 million in capital commitments. The firm posted a related press release to its website late Friday, but didn’t submit it to the newswires.

“Raising a fund is no longer a newsworthy event from our perspective,” DFJ partner Josh Stein explained to me over the weekend. “We want to generate attention for our exits.”

It’s an interesting argument, and one worth further discussion. Maybe tomorrow. For now, however, let’s discuss the fundraise (because that is, for better or worse, what we do here)…

DFJ originally sent out books in late 2008 with a $600 million cover, which was a slight reduction from the $650 million raised in 2007 for Fund IX. But launching a venture fundraise in late 2008 was a lot like me trying to buy a Porsche. You can say you’re going to do it. You can go through the opening motions. But, eventually, some inescapable realities turn the entire thing into a farce.

Not only was the overall VC fundraising window shut, but DFJ experienced some messaging problems related to older deals done out of affiliate funds like ePlanet Ventures. So the firm slowed down the process, and later scaled back its capital ambitions to $400 million.

DFJ ultimately came up short of the revised target, but Stein says that the partners “feel pretty good.” He adds: “This has been a very unusual fund cycle. Our traditional investing model led us to believe that we’d be done with Fund IX in mid-2009, but we just made the last investment in that fund a couple of weeks ago.”

Don’t expect any major changes in terms of investment strategy, including a diversified sector focus that includes IT, mobile, cleantech and life sciences. The team remains mostly the same with ten investing partners, including one in China and one in India. The only partner cutting back for this vehicle is Warren Packard, who will continue to manage existing investments but will not make new ones.