Fifteen years after Aydin Senkut started investing as a super angel, Felicis Ventures, the venture firm he founded, has closed its eighth and largest fund with $900 million in commitments.
Felicis has also added Viviana Faga as its sixth general partner.
“In some ways, I still feel new at this,” Senkut told Venture Capital Journal. “But our aim is to scale the firm without crushing the soul and hopefully, by putting the founder first, that’s what we are doing.”
The firm’s eighth fund comes 11 years after Senkut closed the first institutional vehicle for Felicis Ventures in 2010 at $41 million. The latest fund is also one of the quickest raised, coming about 17 months after Felicis announced it had closed on $510 million for its seventh vehicle in March 2020.
Fund 8 includes a $600 million core vehicle to invest in stages from seed to Series C. The remaining $300 million is for what the firm calls a Focus Fund to put capital into its better-performing or fastest-growing investments. Felicis’s portfolio companies include such recently marked-up deals as Canva, Gusto, Guild Education and Komodo Health.
As VCJ has reported, opportunity funds or separately raised vehicles to help firms maintain pro rata rights in their portfolio as it matures are an ongoing trend.
Rather than raise a separate opportunity fund, however, Senkut said the firm has always maintained one umbrella fund to invest across stages, geographies and sectors. He also noted that the funding dynamics of the Focus Fund have been adjusted for the betterment of the LPs, including how fees will be included on invested capital from the Focus Fund, rather than on committed capital.
Felicis has reason to want to maintain more ownership in its portfolio. It reported that 18 of its companies valued at the unicorn level of at least $1 billion have exited over the life of the firm.
It also reported that its cash-on-cash return, over the lifetime of all its funds, is now at 6x, which it said was up from the 5.4x at the close of Fund 7 last year.
The firm has yet to invest from Fund 8, but Senkut said its first deal is close to being done.
Senkut said that Faga, the firm’s new general partner, will be one of the few Latin American female GPs in venture. She joins Senkut and fellow GPs Sundeep Peechu, Wesley Chan, Victoria Treyger and Niki Pezeshki. Pezeshki was promoted to general partner in May.
In many ways, Felicis is already gender and ethnically diverse. The firm reported that 45 percent of its LPs are female-led organizations, including such institutional investors as women’s colleges, environmental organizations, and those with touchpoints to historically Black colleges and universities.
Senkut, who is from Turkey, said Faga’s heritage was not why the firm hired her.
“Viv could’ve been from anywhere, it didn’t matter,” he said. “She has amazing talent and she’s a great cultural fit.”
Faga was previously an operating partner for more than three years at Emergence Capital, where she advised dozens of entrepreneurs. A source at Emergence said she was well liked by the portfolio companies she worked closely with.
Prior to Emergence, Faga served as vice-president of marketing for Yammer. After its acquisition by Microsoft, she became the head of marketing for enterprise social, which included Office 365, Skype and Lync. She also spent more than six years at Salesforce.
Since leaving Emergence last year, she has advised and invested in several start-ups, including Mode Analytics, Sora and Command E.