Fund Briefs, March 2008

BlueRun Ventures holds initial close

BlueRun Ventures has held an initial close on $200 million for BlueRun Ventures IV. Last year, VCJ reported that fund was being marketed with a $350 million target, but John Malloy, partner and founder of the firm, says that figure is a hard cap. He says that the firm expects to hold another close of an additional $100 million in the first half of this year.

The fund’s target is slightly higher than BlueRun’s previous $315 million fund, raised in 2005, but smaller than its vintage 2000 fund, which weighed in at $500 million when the firm was called Nokia Venture Partners.

Benchmark closes fund VI

Benchmark Capital has wrapped up its sixth fund with about $500 million. It includes commitments from the firm’s partners and several portfolio company founders, both past and present. The Menlo Park, Calif.-based firm raised about $400 million for fund V in 2004. The capital increase, in part, reflects an expanded partnership.

Benchmark’s fifth fund was the first not to feature Andy Rachleff and David Beirne as general partners (they transitioned into part-time “partner” roles). The firm has since bulked back up with the additions of General Partners Peter Fenton (previously with Accel Partners) and Mitch Lasky (previously with Electronic Arts) and a number of entrepreneurs-in-residence.

Benchmark Capital VI will focus on West Coast opportunities, but has the flexibility to invest anywhere, including co-investment opportunities in Europe with Balderton Capital, a London-based affiliate that last year spun out from Benchmark as an independent entity.

First Round raised $125M

First Round Capital has closed on its second fund with $125 million in capital commitments. Limited partners in First Round Capital II include Princeton University, the University of Notre Dame and the Investment Fund for Foundations.

There had been speculation that this fund’s size was an indication that the firm was moving toward later stage investing, but First Round co-founder Josh Kopelman says that the firm’s strategy hasn’t changed. “We still plan to make initial investments of around $500,000 in early stage and seed stage companies,” he said. “We’ve been making between 15 and 20 investments per year, and expect to maintain that pace.”

New Atlantic ups sidecar

New Atlantic Ventures has raised $4.1 million for a proposed $20 million “Entrepreneurs Fund.” The sidecar investment vehicle comes on the heels of a first close of $70 million for the firm’s first fund.

The firm, which formed during 2007 as a merger between the partners of Draper Atlantic and DFJ New England, is targeting $175 million with a $200 million cap. New Atlantic Ventures has four managing partners: John Backus and Thanasis Delistathis in Reston, Va., and former DFJ New England co-founders Todd Hixon and Scott Johnson in Cambridge, Mass.

The partners split from the Draper Fisher Jurvetson affiliate network in late 2006.

Cardinal hits $152M

Princeton, N.J.-based Cardinal Partners, f.k.a. Cardinal Health Partners, has raised $152 million of a proposed $175 million third fund, according to a regulatory filing. The firm was founded in 1968 as Data Science Ventures Inc. and raised five funds before adopting the Cardinal name.

CHP III’s limited partners include the Los Angeles City Employees’ Retirement System and the State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio. Previous investors in Cardinal funds include AIG Global Investors Corp., Bank America Capital Corp., Northwestern University and The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

The early stage firm invested $20 million in eight life sciences startups during 2007, according to Thomson Financial (publisher of VCJ).

MentorTech holds first close

MentorTech Ventures has held a $16 million first close for its second fund, which has a target of $20 million. The Philadelphia-based firm invests in early stage IT, e-commerce and medical technology companies spinning out of the University of Pennsylvania, or founded by students and alumni. The firm is run by former Wharton School faculty member Michael Aronson and operates a business incubator on the campus of U of Penn.

Fund II will follow an investment strategy similar to that of the portfolio of fund I, which closed on $11.7 million in 2005. Fund I’s investments include Diapers.com, NeatReceipts and Yodle. The firm says that as of Dec. 31, fund I had generated a gross IRR of 53.6% and a 1.5x multiple of cost. —VCJ staff