Return to search

Fund Briefs, January 2009

Mayfield forms India fund

Mayfield Fund, a Menlo Park, Calif.-based venture firm, has formed its first fund dedicated to investing in India. The $110 million vehicle will focus on growth equity opportunities in the Indian tech, infrastructure and consumer sectors.

Mayfield will use the fund for companies focused primarily on the Indian market, while its general fund will continue to back India-based companies focused on global opportunities.

The new fund’s managing directors are Nikhil Khattau and Vikram Godse, who are based in Mumbai, and Navin Chaddha and Robin Vasan, who are based in Menlo Park.

“We believe that India continues to present attractive mid-market investment opportunities across a variety of sectors,” Chaddha said in a statement. “The middle-class appetite for services, the continuing need to upgrade India’s infrastructure and the rise of global technology providers are the three drivers that define our investment strategy.”

To date, the fund has invested in six India-based companies: technology providers Tejas Networks and Paymate, consumer service providers Consim Info and Genesis Colors and infrastructure providers Geodesic Systems and Servomax.

Branson’s Virgin Green adds $17M

Virgin Green Fund, billionaire Richard Branson’s cleantech venture fund, added another $17 million from five investors to its inaugural fund, which now totals $217 million, according to a regulatory filing.

The firm, which has offices in San Francisco and London, has raised the capital from limited partners Corvina Holdings Ltd., PCG Clean Energy & Technology Fund, Wolverhampton City Council and Macquarie Clean Technology Fund, according to the filing.

Virgin Green Fund has not disclosed the target of the fund, but it is believed to be in excess of $400 million. The firm is raising funds on a rolling basis. A spokesperson says the firm will wrap up fund-raising in 2009.

Virgin Green, which focuses on energy and resource efficiency, is targeting growth stage companies in the United States and Europe, with investments that range between $15 million and $20 million. —Alexander Haislip3i to maintain North American presence

In November, London-based 3i Group announced that it was closing its Menlo Park, Calif.-based office by year-end, as part of a move away from early stage venture investing.

A spokeswoman for the firm later added: “3i will maintain a core North American team run from our New York office as we continue to believe that there is a strong investment opportunity to partner with businesses across North America and grow their value on an international scale.”

A former VC who worked in the Menlo Park office said that the firm’s appetite for venture investing began diminishing in 2006. “It looked a little impatient, given how long it takes to build a venture firm of substance,” said the source. “But the decision was made.”

David Aslin, once a partner with 3i, joined Nexit Ventures earlier this year. Robin Murray recently joined Adams Street Capital’s venture capital team, making direct investments.

Kevin Scott, who joined 3i in 2000, will continue to manage the firm’s portfolio. Part of that means selling some of its assets in a secondary sale. Scott said in a note to acquaintances in December that he is also forming a new venture firm called Maywood Capital Partners in Redwood City, Calif.

“I will continue to manage the bulk of 3i’s U.S. early stage venture portfolio and will also be looking at new primary and secondary investment opportunities,” he said in the note. —Constance Loizos

KPG Ventures raises second fund

KPG Ventures announced that it has closed its second fund with an undisclosed amount of capital commitments. The San Francisco-based firm focuses on seed-stage consumer Internet companies. KPG II is similar in structure to the firm’s first fund, KPG I, which was established in September 2006 with an undisclosed amount.

KPG has invested in SezWho, The Nile Guide Inc., BrightRoll Inc. and Ribbit Corp., which was acquired for $105 million in August by BT Group.

KPG’s general partners are Vince Vannelli and Dave Hills.

Earth Capital eyes $5B for environmental VC

Earth Capital Partners, a new environmentally focused investment group, said in December that it plans to raise $5 billion in five years to invest in projects and firms involved in climate change and energy security.

Earth Capital Partners, chaired by Stanley Fink and based in London, plans to launch a series of venture capital funds to attract companies, financial institutions and sovereign wealth funds into environmentally friendly investment.

The group said a management umbrella group will organize investment into areas such as infrastructure, agriculture and forestry, new technologies, carbon trading and energy arbitrage.

The company will offer a so-called “Earth Dividend” to investors, which will measure whether an investment is helping the environment.

Earth Capital Partners said it is currently seeking authorization from the Financial Services Authority. —Nina Chestney, ReutersBain Capital in market

Bain Capital Ventures has begun raising its fourth fund with a $500 million target and $750 million hard cap, according to Dow Jones. A first close is expected in early 2009. The Boston-based firm closed its third fund in 2007 with $550 million.

GSR Ventures hits $365M with third fund

GSR Ventures, a Chinese venture fund affiliated with U.S.-based Mayfield Fund, has secured $365.25 million in capital commitments for its third fund, according to a regulatory filing. Thomson Reuters (publisher of VCJ) reports that it is the final close on the fund, but a GSR spokeswoman declined to confirm that information.

The firm, which has offices in Beijing and Silicon Valley, raised $200 million for its second fund in 2007.

Saints buys Rustic Canyon investments

Rustic Canyon Partners in December announced that it had sold its positions in 19 portfolio companies to secondary investor Saints Capital. It also sold 20% of its stakes in another eight companies in what is known as a strip sale.

Tom Unterman, managing partner of Rustic Canyon Partners, said in a statement that “our first fund was supported by a single investor who wanted to rebalance his asset allocation. This investor remains the largest investor in our second and new third fund that closed in October.”

“We provided liquidity to the single limited partner in Rustic Canyon Ventures LP by acquiring the LP interest,” Ken Sawyer, managing director of Saints Capital, said in a statement. “In the strip transaction, we purchased a percentage of the shares held by Rustic in each company, thus generating liquidity for that fund.”

Starfish closes fund II

Starfish Ventures of Australia has closed its second fund with about $115 million in capital commitments. It will invest in IT, life sciences and cleantech companies. The firm raised about $100 million for its first fund, which closed in 2004.

Sofinnova raises $360M

Sofinnova Partners, a Paris-based venture firm focused on early stage life sciences and technology companies, has raised more than $360 million in capital commitments for its sixth fund. No official target was reported, although the firm is expected to approach the $495 million it raised for its fifth fund, which closed in 2004.

Navitas nears close

Navitas Capital plans to close its debut fund in January with $35 million to $50 million in commitments. The Berkeley, Calif.-based firm plans to invest in companies developing “green building” technologies.