Fund briefs, December 2007

Former CMGI exec launches fund

Dace Ventures, which is led by Dave Andonian, former president and COO of CMGI, has held a first close of more than $70 million for its debut fund. The Waltham, Mass.-based firm focuses on early stage Internet-related companies. The firm also announced last month that it led the $10 million Series B investment in Vitrue Inc., a provider of video-centric social media services. Vitrue is one of five companies in Dace’s portfolio.

Indian firm targets $150M

VenturEast, an Indian firm previously known as APIDC Venture Capital, is targeting $150 million for a new fund that will focus on early stage and growth stage technology opportunities. The Hyderabad-based firm already has secured nearly $100 million in commitments for the fund, which will focus on the digital divide and small and medium-sized enterprises. Its team includes founder and Managing Partner Sarath Naru and General Partners Raghu Mendu and Siddhartha Das.

Bay City nears $500M goal

Bay City Capital has raised $446 million toward a fifth venture fund with a target of $500 million, according to a regulatory filing. The San Francisco-based health care investor raised $350 million for its fourth fund in 2004, according to Thomson Financial (publisher of VCJ). The filing shows that there were 55 investors. It did not list the names of general or limited partners.

Guggenheim loses one of three partnersJavier Fernandez has left Guggenheim Venture Partners, an early stage tech shop formed last year as a spinout from TL Ventures. Fernandez lef to start Ginkgo Capital in Portland, Ore. He was one of three partners at the firm, which had a debut fund-raising target of $150 million. WIth two partners remaining—Michael Burns and Eric Rothfus—Guggenheim will likely raise under $100 million.

Guggenheim is now using Moravia Capital as an outside placement agent rather than Guggenheim’s in-house team, and also has added “re-start technology companies” to its focus area.

Cisco launches China initiative

San Jose, Calif.-based network equipment maker Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) last month announced a $16 billion expansion into China, including a $100 million venture capital investment partnership with government-owned China Development Bank. The venture partnership with CDB will invest in Chinese businesses in the areas of information technology, health care and communications.

The agreement includes a partnership with Alibaba Group, China’s largest online commerce company, to explore developing business services for small and medium-size companies.

Chevron fund raises $75MChevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX) has committed $75 million to the fourth fund raised by its venture arm, Chevron Technology Ventures. It is the oil company’s largest investment to date in its corporate venturing division. In 2002, Chevron committed $50 million for the previous fund of the San Ramon, Calif.-based investor. Trond Unneland, who joined in August as managing executive, says that the fund will be equally split to invest in upstream and downstream oil and gas technologies, IT and cleantech or renewable energy.

Carlyle closes on $605M

The Carlyle Group, known best for its buyout investments, has closed its third Carlyle Venture Partners fund with $605 million in capital commitments. Its previous venture funds raised $210 million in 1997 and $602 million in 2002. The new fund will be broader in strategy than its predecessors, by investing in a mix of early stage, expansion stage growth equity and growth buyout opportunities. “As traditional buyout funds have gotten significantly larger, there is an attractive opportunity to acquire growing businesses using modest leverage in a way that provides an attractive risk-reward tradeoff for investors,” Brooke Coburn, co-head of Carlyle Venture Partners, said in a statement.

New Leaf branches out

New Leaf Venture Partners has closed its second fund with $450 million in capital commitments. The bi-coastal firm was founded in 2004 by the life sciences team of Sprout Group, the longstanding affiliate of DLJ (and later Credit Suisse). The firm, with offices in New York and Menlo Park, Calif., closed its inaugural fund in August 2005 with $310 million. Late last year, New Leaf had a liquidity event with the $480 million sale of Cerexa to Forest Labs. That exit could grow even larger, with $100 million in possible milestone payments. Cerexa, which develops treatments for life-threatening infections, had previously raised $50 million from New Leaf and other investors.

Ascension rises to secure $200M

Ascension Health Ventures has closed its second fund with $200 million in capital commitments. The St. Louis-based firm launched in 2001 with $125 million to invest in medical device, health care technology and health care services companies. Ascension had just one LP for its first fund, Catholic health system Ascension Health. The firm’s second fund expanded the LP base to include Catholic Health Initiatives and Catholic Health East.Wasatch holds first close

Wasatch Venture Fund of Salt Lake City has held a first and final close on $150 million for its fourth venture fund, according to a regulatory filing. This is its largest fund to date. It raised $58 million for its third fund in 2001. The general partners are Todd Stevens, Kent Madsen and Eleftherios “Nick” Efstratis. The filing did not list the number or names of limited partners. —VCJ staff