First Round Quickly Raises Sophomore Fund

First Round Capital, which has already recorded more than a dozen exits from its 2-year-old debut fund, has raised a sophomore fund totaling $126.4 million, according to a regulatory filing.

The filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission did not disclose the names of limited partners, but at least two LPs in the firm’s first institutional fund include The Investment Fund for Foundations and Princeton University.

The new fund is just $1.4 million larger than the first institutional fund raised in 2008 by the early stage firm, which is based in West Conshohocken, Pa. It isn’t clear if this is the final close for the fund. Firm founder Josh Kopelman told Venture Capital Journal on Oct. 15 that the firm wasn’t commenting on the new fund, which suggests it may still be in fund-raising mode.

Prior to raising its first institutional fund, First Round raised $37 million via five small funds raised from 2004 to 2007.

First Round is one of the most active investors in Internet startups. In 2008, it was the second most active Internet investor, according to data from Thomson Reuters (publisher of VCJ). And despite the recession, First Round backed 41 startups last year, ranking fourth among firms that made the most venture investments across any sector.

Overall, the firm has backed about 100 startups. That number is particularly notable given that the firm has just seven partners, and its initial investments are typically about $400,000 and reach to upwards of $2 million to $3 million per company.

For a young fund, First Round has had more than its fair share of exits. For example, portfolio company Powerset, a natural language search engine, sold to Microsoft in 2008 for a reported $100 million. It had previously raised $22.5 million from First Round and other investors.

The firm also participated in the $1.5 million funding round for StumbleUpon before the company was acquired by eBay in 2007 for $75 million. (First Round then joined the syndicate that includes Accel Partners, August Capital and Ram Shriram of Sherpalo Ventures, which bought the company back from eBay last year for an undisclosed amount.)

Another exit: Web security appliance company Mi5 Networks, which was acquired by Symantec last year in an all-cash transaction whose terms weren’t disclosed. First Round, Band of Angels and Labrador Ventures invested an undisclosed amount in Mi5.

More recently, First Round has seen exits via portfolio companies CoTweet, Hot Potato and Like.com. San Francisco-based CoTweet, which manages companies’ marketing and customer service activities over Twitter, raised just $1.1 million from Baseline Ventures, Freestyle Capital, First Round and others before selling for an undisclosed amount to marketing giant ExactTarget last March.

First Round also participated in the $1.42 million seed funding of Brooklyn, N.Y.-based social networking startup Hot Potato in November 2009. The company, founded in January 2009, sold to Facebook for $10 million in cash a couple of months ago.

And First Round was one of the first investors of Like.com, a San Mateo, Calif.-based visual search startup bought by Google in August in a deal that TechCrunch reported to be worth upwards of $100 million. The 6-year-old company had previously raised $47.3 million in venture funding from First Round, Leapfrog Ventures, Bay Partners and Menlo Ventures.

First Round was started in 2005 by Kopelman, who had previously co-founded three companies: Infonautics Corp., which went public in 1996; Half.com, which was bought by eBay for $312 million in stock in 2000; and TurnTide, which sold for $28 million to Symantec six months after its founding.

Among FirstRound’s newest investments is Belmont, Mass.-based SaveWave, which manages retail offer programs and raised a $2.3 million Series A round this summer, including from Flybridge Capital Partners and Founder Collective. —Constance Loizos