Fund briefs, December 2006

Adobe draws on $100M for investments

Adobe Systems Inc. launched a $100 million initiative to invest in startups that will spur development around its software applications, specifically its Apollo development platform. Apollo, which is expected to be launched next year, allows users to run Web 2.0 applications while not connected to the Internet.

Adobe will invest the $100 million over three to five years.

Adobe is careful to point out that it is creating an investment program instead of a fund, which Paul Weiskopf, vice president of corporate development, says “establishes an expectation or requirement to put the money to work.”

The company last year ended its long-standing engagement with Granite Ventures, a firm that spun out of Hambrecht and Quist in 1998 and which had managed funds for Adobe and Texas Instruments for several years.

Bertelsmann launches new media fund

German media conglomerate Bertelsmann announced last month it has formed a $63 million venture fund aimed at digital media. Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments will primarily invest in minority positions in early stage companies.

Richard Sarnoff, president of Random House’s corporate development group, will head the new fund, which is based in Luxembourg. Random House is a business unit of Bertelsmann.

DFJ, VinaCapital launch tech fund in Vietnam

Draper Fisher Jurvetson and VinaCapital Investment Management Co. have partnered to launch a $50 million fund that will invest in tech companies and privatized telecom companies in Vietnam. DFJ VinaCapital has already invested $2 million in a website, which provides information on music, lifestyle, sports, real estate, cars and shopping.

DFJ VinaCapital LP is assessing 20 other IT and telecommunications companies, mainly based in HCM City, for investment. The fund’s executive director, Louis Nguyen, said he expects to invest the fund within the next two to three years.

Formative adds to fund

Formative Ventures raised an additional $12.5 million for its inaugural fund, which closed last year with $77.5 million in commitments. In the summer, the Menlo Park, Calif.-based firm named Dino Vendetti, formerly of Bay Partners, a general partner.

CalPERS, Daiichi back Kearney

Kearny Venture Partners, formerly known as Thomas Weisel Healthcare Ventures, has raised $85 million for its new VC fund, which is targeted at $180 million. The San Francisco-based firm will invest in U.S. life sciences.

LPs include the California Public Employees’ Retirement System and Daiichi Sankyo Co., a Tokyo-based pharmaceutical holding company. Daiichi is the sole pharmaceutical

partner participating in the fund, and it may form research collaborations with the fund’s portfolio companies. Daiichi announced that it will invest $60 million in the fund.

Xilinx launches $75M Asia Pacific fund

San Jose, Calif.-based chipmaker Xilinx Inc. (Nasdaq: XLNX) has launched a $75 million corporate VC fund to boost innovation of programmable systems within the Asia Pacific technology market.

The company said that the Asia Pacific Technology Fund is its first regionally-focused funding initiative for the Asia Pacific programmable logic device market, and will be administered by Xilinx Asia Pacific headquarters in Singapore.

The fund will look for opportunities to invest in companies throughout China, India, Taiwan and Korea.

Potential investments will range from $500,000 to $5 million. The company has already committed about $2 million in an undisclosed Indian design company. —VCJ staff