Fund briefs, July ’07

3i shutters Boston-area office

3i Group has closed its Waltham, Mass.-based office as part of its moves away from early stage investing in the United States. The firm will continue to make later stage venture investments out of its recently consolidated Silicon Valley office, plus growth equity transactions from New York. 3i spokeswoman Rachel Richards said that the decision to close the Boston-area office came after a recent internal analysis showed that just a few of its VC portfolio companies were based in the greater Boston area.

The Boston office dissolution began when Allan Ferguson retired last year, thus leaving just two partners in the Bay State. The staff was cut to one when Peter Bollier announced his retirement. Marko Maschek has reportedly been shopping his resume. 3i Director David Shapiro will maintain the office through the end of the year.

SXVP goes over down under

Southern Cross Venture Partners, an Australia-based early stage venture firm, has closed its debut fund with $140 million in capital commitments. Limited partners include Macquarie Bank (which invested about $50 million), Industry Funds Management and SunSuper. SXVP, as the firm calls itself, focuses on information technology, telecommunications, nanotech and cleantech deals.

The firm invests in startups in the United States, Australia and New Zealand. SXVP is led by founder Bob Christiansen, who was a partner at Allen & Buckeridge. Former Apple Inc. executive John Scoll is the fund’s Silicon Valley-based director.

Blue Chip expects to raise $200M in ’07

Blue Chip Venture Co. hopes to raise up to $200 million for its fifth fund later this year and is on track to have 10 exits, Managing Director Jack Wyant told the Cincinnati Business Courier.

The Cincinnati-based firm—which invests in early stage life sciences, media and tech companies in the Midwest and on the East Coast—raised $190 million for its fourth fund in 2001. It recently scored an exit when AOL agreed to acquire Third Screen Media, a Boston-based provider of mobile advertising and marketing software, for about $100 million. Third Screen had raised about $8 million from Blue Chip and TD Capital Venture Co.

Signs of life on Third Rock

Third Rock Ventures, a life sciences venture firm founded by four ex-Millennium Pharmaceutical executives, is looking to raise $300 million for its inaugural fund. The team includes former Millennium CEO Mark Levin, who was a partner with Mayfield Fund up until 1994.

Joining Levin is Robert Tepper, Millennium’s former head of research and development; Kevin Starr, Millennium’s former CFO; and Nick Leschly, who was project leader for Millennium cancer drug Velcade.

Third Rock will likely look at early stage drug companies, according to the In Vivo blog (invivoblog.blogspot.com).

Accuitive hits a triple

Accuitive Medical Ventures has raised $175 million in commitments for its sophomore fund. The new fund came in $25 million above target and is more than three times the size of the firm’s inaugural fund, a $55 million vehicle raised in 2004.

Acuitive, based in Duluth, Ga., invests in early stage medical device companies, plans to invest in 20 companies over the next three or four years.

The firm’s portfolio of a dozen early stage life science companies includes Irvine, Calif.-based AcuFocus Inc., a developer of implants for the eye that has raised about $57 million.

Tudor closes fund III

Tudor Ventures has closed its third fund with $262 million in commitments. The Boston-based firm—the late stage venture arm of Tudor Investment Corp.—focuses on information technology companies in such sectors as financial technology, software, communications, media and IT infrastructure.

Diller goes Primal

IAC/InterActive, the New York-based media and ecommerce conglomerate headed by Barry Diller, has launching a venture capital unit called Primal Ventures.

The effort will be led by former Match.com CEO Jim Safka, who is relocating from Dallas to San Francisco. Safka says that the shop will focus on wireless and video startups, companies in the jobs and recruitment category, and sites focusing on content for consumers of health care.

NY pension fund bets on Milestone

Milestone Venture Partners announced in May that it has received a $15 million commitment for its third fund from the New York State Common Retirement Fund. This brings the fund total up to $50 million, with a third and final close expected later this year. Milestone focuses on tech-enhanced services companies in the greater New York metropolitan area.

Artiman raises $185M

Palo, Alto, Calif.-based Artiman Ventures has closed its second fund with $185 million in capital commitments, including $10 million from friends and family for a side fund. Stanwich Advisors served as placement agent. Limited partners include the University of Texas Investment Management Co. (UTIMCO) and the Pennsylvania State Employees’ Retirement System (PennSERS).

Artiman raised $165 million for its inaugural fund in 2000. It invests in the seed and early stage rounds of tech companies.

Translink sets sights on $75M

Translink Capital is raising up to $75 million for its debut venture capital fund, according to a regulatory filing. The Palo Alto, Calif.-based firm already has secured about $21 million from limited partners UMC Capital and Nikko Antfactory. —VCJ staff