Draper makes international push

Draper Fisher Jurvetson is working to rebuild its affiliate network this year, adding funds in Vietnam and Brazil.

The Menlo Park, Calif.-based firm announced in May that it was raising a $40 million early stage Brazilian technology fund in conjunction with FIR Capital Partners. The two firms also agreed to raise a follow-on fund called DFJ FIR Brazil Fund II, which hopes to pull in $100 million from offshore investors.

Meanwhile, DFJ and VinaCapital recently raised $25 million toward an early stage tech fund that promises to invest in startups and equitized state-owned enterprises in Vietnam. VinaCapital’s website lists the fund size as $50 million, suggesting that it may be only half raised, as of the most recent regulatory filing in late March.

The global push of the affiliate network is spearheaded by DFJ Managing Director Don Wood, who joined the firm in October 2006 from Vanguard Ventures. “His primary role at DFJ will be to bring new value to our network funds and lead our expansion into new geographic and sector markets,” says Managing Director John Fisher. When Wood was hired, Fisher outlined plans for funds in India, Korea, Vietnam, Canada, Brazil, Israel and the southeastern United States. Wood was out of the country and unreachable for comment when VCJ went to press.

The hiring of Wood and the firm’s subsequent global expansion comes after a year of changes for DFJ’s affiliate network. It lost DFJ ePlanet Ventures in January 2006 when firm founder Asad Jamal launched his own fund In October 2006. Then, Draper Atlantic Ventures and DFJ New England opted out of the network and formed a new independent entity known as New Atlantic Ventures.

DFJ ePlanet, which raised $650 million in 2000, bankrolled several DFJ successes, including Baidu.com (Nasdaq: BIDU) and Skype Technologies (which eBay bought for $2.6 billion in 2005).

While DFJ is geared to expand internationally, the firm is also trying to reach new asset classes with the launch of a late stage venture growth fund. Reception to the growth vehicle has been cool, in comparison the rest of DFJ’s eary stage fund-raising. It has secured commitments for just over $155 million toward its $250 million target after more than 16 months in the market, according to a recent regulatory filing.

DFJ was able to put together its ninth core fund in just three months. That $600 million vehicle, which closed in March, stands as its largest fund since the dot-com boom. —Alexander Haislip