Fund Briefs, June ’07

Redpoint raises $250M

Redpoint Ventures has closed its Redpoint Omega fund with $250 million in capital commitments. The vehicle aims to be the first institutional investor in established companies, rather than the early stage plays that Redpoint’s general fund focuses on. The fund close comes as Redpoint portfolio company Right Media Inc. last month was acquired by Yahoo Inc. for $680 million in stock and cash.

Piper Jaffray beats cleantech target

Piper Jaffray

closed on $62.5 million for its cleantech fund of funds investment vehicle, according to a regulatory filing. The firm had raised $31.8 million toward a $50 million target as of October. Piper Jaffray has tripled its investor base to 96 since then.

The executive officers listed in the filing come from Piper Jaffray’s fund-of-funds team: Scott Barrington, Daniel Donoghue and Danny Zouber. The fund is already a limited partner in VantagePoint Cleantech Partners’ $150 million fund, which closed on $73.6 million last August.

The Piper Jaffray website says it has been investing in the sector for the last two years. The firm has also invested in DFJ Element and Nth Power.

Mason Wells spins off VC unit

Milwaukee, Wis.-based private equity firm Mason Wells last month spin off of its venture capital business as an independent firm called Broadwell Ventures. Broadwell Ventures will focus on biomedical investments throughout the Midwest, particularly in Wisconsin.

As part of the spinoff, Dan Broderick will step down as managing director of Mason Wells Biomedical Fund I, a Mason Wells venture fund, to lead the new firm as managing director. Trevor D’Souza, another managing director, will remain at Mason Wells to manage the biomedical fund.

PTV wraps up life sciences fund

PTV Sciences has closed its second venture fund with about $175 million in capital commitments, according to a regulatory filing. The Houston, Texas-based firm focuses on seed and early stage opportunities in the life sciences and materials science sectors.

Limited partners include The University of Texas Investment Management Co. The firm raised $66 million for its inaugural fund in 2003.

Velocity speeds to first fund

Velocity Financial Group Inc. has launched as a specialty finance company focused on middle-market and venture-backed technology companies. Its initial capitalization is about $400 million, with American Capital Strategies serving as lead sponsor and investor.

Chicago-based Velocity, which has offices in Silicon Valley and Boston, was co-founded by former Comdisco executives Frank Cirone and Jan Haas.

Coller collars record secondary fund

Coller Capital has closed its fifth fund with $4.5 billion in capital commitments, the largest secondaries fund ever raised. London-based Coller said its initial goal was to raise $3.75 billion, but that investors wanted to put up to $5.6 billion in the fund, so Coller raised the cap to $4.5 billion.

Among Coller’s investors is the California Public Employee Retirement System.

Qatar Capital launches

Qatar Capital Partners has launched as a venture capital firm focused on opportunities in Qatar, an emirate located next to Saudi Arabia. It currently manages two funds: Technology Venture Fund, a $100 million early stage vehicle, and New Enterprise Fund, a $30 million seed-stage vehicle.

The firm was formed via a partnership between Qatar National Bank, Oxford Capital Partners and Ansbacher.

Darwin evolves with second fund

Darwin Ventures is looking to raise $60 million for its second venture capital fund-of-funds. The San Francisco-based firm closed its initial VC fund-of-funds in 2004 with $42 million, and committed to such firms as Accel Partners, Lightspeed Venture Partners, New Enterprise Associates, Sierra Ventures and U.S. Venture Partners.

Darwin’s management team includes Frank Caufield Jr., son of Frank Caufield Sr., co-founder of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, who also serves as an advisor to Darwin Ventures.

CapitalSouth launches fund

CapitalSouth Partners is launching a $300 million private equity fund, nearly a third of which will focus on taking majority ownership stakes in small companies, according to the Charlotte Business Journal. The Charlotte, N.C.-based firm also added five investment professionals, three of whom will scout deals for the fund from new offices in Atlanta, Dallas and Louisville, Ky.

CapitalSouth, which launched in 1998, manages two funds that total $185 million. The firm traditionally makes investments of about $5 million in small companies with annual earnings of $2 million to $10 million.

The new fund will consist of $125 million from the Small Business Administration’s SBIC program and $100 million raised in private capital, most of it from community and regional banks that invested in the previous two funds.

President Joe Alala and other investors at CapitalSouth have also put in more than $4 million in fund III, with Alala accounting for about $2 million.

Former SVB partner shops new fund

Farouk Ladha, a former partner in Silicon Valley Bank’s private equity division, is shopping his own venture fund called Four Rivers Partners, according to a regulatory filing. The firm has raised $10.5 million for its first fund, collecting most of its cash from high net worth accredited investors.

No word on what the San Francisco-based fund is focused on. Ladha declined to comment. One limited partner in the fund is Weismann Associates of New York, a family asset management firm run by Dietrich Weismann.

Austin GP heads west

Basil Horangic is leaving Austin Ventures, after six years of service at the firm. Horangic began talking a few months back about wanting to move to either the East Coast or the West Coast, in part because his oldest child is planning to begin first grade in the fall. He ultimately settled on Silicon Valley, but declined to divulge his new employer’s name. “I’ll be able to tell you soon, but not yet,” he says.

Horangic plans to continue to be active with Texas entrepreneurs, but feels that it might be easier to work Texas from California rather than the other way around. More than half of his current portfolio companies are in California.

Horangic, who was promoted to general partner at Austin Ventures in late 2004, focuses on a variety of sectors, including data center equipment, EDA, IP, and semiconductors and components. Recently he’s looked at medical imaging deals. “I’m kind of a serial specialist—every two years I get interested in something else,” he says. —VCJ staff