Fundraising recap from around the world Jan 26, 2016

United States

Norwest raises another $1.2 bln fund

Norwest Venture Partners, an investor in MisfitLending Club and Skybox Imaging, has closed its third consecutive $1.2 billion fund.

Fund XIII is the same size as its two previous funds, which closed in 2014 and 2010. They are the only $1 billion-plus funds in the firm’s 55-year history. LPs were not disclosed, but the firm’s main institutional investor is Wells Fargo & Co.

Promod Haque, senior managing partner of Norwest Venture Partners, is flanked by Managing Partners Jeff Crowe and Matt Howard (left to right in photo) outside the firm's office in the SoMa region of San Francisco.
Promod Haque (center), senior managing partner of Norwest Venture Partners, is flanked by Managing Partners Jeff Crowe and Matt Howard (left to right in photo) outside the firm’s office in the SoMa region of San Francisco.

The Palo Alto, Calif.-based multi-stage firm backs companies worldwide in various sectors from the same fund, including healthcare, consumer Internet and enterprise startups. About 80 percent of its investments are in the United States and the remaining 20 percent are in India, where it has four partners, and Israel, where it has one partner.

Since the announcement of the firm’s previous fund, Norwest has opened new offices in San Francisco and in New York City.  Late last year, the firm promoted Casper de Clercq and Ryan Harris to general partner. Managing Partner Matt Howard noted that the firm has also expanded its value-add portfolio services to include support with talent and retention, business development, marketing and operations, such as tax counsel.

The announcement of Norwest Venture Partners XIII comes on the back of a string of 22 exits from the firm’s portfolio in the previous 18 months, including 15 acquisitions and seven IPOs. Among the exits were the IPOs of Lending Club (in which Norwest was the lead Series A investor); Intersect ENTApigeeMobileIron; SadbhavSnowman Logistics; and Solar Edge Technologies.

The firm also sold satellite imaging company Skybox to Google for $500 million; wearable tech company Misfit was acquired by the Fossil Group for $260 million; video processing startup Elemental was sold to Amazon for $296 million, and outplacement provider RiseSmart was sold to Randstad for $100 million, among other liquidity events. –Alastair Goldfisher

SoftTech files to raise $130 mln for two new funds, promotes two to partner

SoftTech VC has set out to raise $130 million in new capital for two new funds, according to two regulatory filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The firm also promoted two investors to partners.

The new funds are the $100 million SoftTech VC V, as well as the $30 million SoftTech VC Breakout Fund for backing SoftTech portfolio companies. The breakout fund has already had a $3 million first close with a single LP, the documents show.

The new core fund is an 18 percent step up in size from the $85 million it raised for its fourth fund in 2014. The firm has not previously raised an opportunity fund.

In a blog post, firm founder Jeff Clavier said the firm promoted Stephanie Palmeri and Andy McLoughlin to partners.

Stephanie Palmeri, partner, SoftTech VC
Stephanie Palmeri, partner, SoftTech VC

Palmeri joined the firm in 2011 and invests in edtech, consumer health, mobile services, market places and other sectors.

Andy McLoughlin, partner, SoftTech VC
Andy McLoughlin, partner, SoftTech VC

McLoughlin joined in 2015 and was previously co-founder of Huddle.

Former Partner Charles Hudson remains listed as a venture partner, although he’s also working as managing director of Precursor Ventures, which he formed last year. –Mark Boslet

Jackson Square aims to raise $150 mln

San Francisco-based Jackson Square Ventures has filed to raise $150 million for Jackson Square Ventures II LP, according to a regulatory document.

It will be the firm’s first fund since it rebranded in September.

Money iStock
Photo from ©iStock/RapidEye

The early-stage firm, which invests in SaaS and marketplaces, was previously called Sigma West after the team spun out from their East Coast colleagues at Sigma Partners and relocated on the West Coast.

The firm has been based in the Jackson Square neighborhood of San Francisco since 2013 when it moved out of its digs in Menlo Park, Calif.

The second fund is a step up from the $125 million fund it closed in 2012. Listed as managing directors on the new fund are Josh BreinlingerGreg Gretsch and Pete Solvik. Not listed is Managing Director Bob Spinner. –Alastair Goldfisher

Courtside Ventures launches

Sports-themed Courtside Ventures has kicked off its operations and plans to invest $35 million in early-stage technology and media companies that focus on sports. The firm will house its operations in Detroit and New York.

Dan Gilbert, founder and chairman of Rock VenturesQuicken Loans and a majority owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers, was the anchor investor for Courtside. Other investors include WPP and Bruin Sports Capital.

George Pyne, founder and CEO of Bruin Sports Capital, will serve as non-executive chairman of the firm. Courtside partners include Deepen Parikh (previously a venture partner at Interplay Ventures and co-founder of NYVC Sports; Vasu Kulkarni (formerly founder and CEO of sports analytics company Krossover); and Brian Hermelin, (onetime managing partner and co-founder of Rockbridge Growth Equity and Detroit Venture Partners). –Alastair Goldfisher

Canvas to raise $250 mln second fund

Canvas Ventures has set out to raise a second venture fund with a target of $250 million, according to a regulatory filing.

Canvas Ventures 2 has four listed partners: Gary Little, Rebecca Lynn, Paul Hsiao, who joined in May 2014, and Ben Narasin, who joined the firm in September. Partner Gary Morgenthaler is not mentioned in the filing.

Canvas had no comment about Morgenthaler.

The firm’s first fund, raised in 2013, was $175 million, according to Thomson Reuters.

Vertex Ventures raises nearly $151 mln

Palo Alto, Calif.-based Vertex Ventures has raised $150.95 million for its inaugural early-stage fund, according to a regulatory filing. The filing indicates Vertex Ventures US Fund I was raised from 43 LPs.

The firm, co-founded by General Partners In Sik Rhee and Jonathan Heiliger to make early-stage investments in enterprise and cloud infrastructure companies, held a previous close in August, when it raised $140.85 million, according to a regulatory filing.

Vertex Ventures has already announced a handful of investments, including Perfecto Mobile in November.

Draper Associates nets over $119 mln

Draper Associates has raised more than $119 million for its fifth funding, according to a regulatory filing. The target is $150 million. The Menlo Park, Calif.-based venture firm mostly focuses on making seed investments in consumer technology, fintech, healthcare, manufacturing, education and government tech.

Danhua Capital targets $200 mln

Danhua Capital is seeking to raise $200 million for its second venture fund, according to a regulatory filing. Palo Alto, Calif.-based Danhua Capital is a venture fund that invests in early-stage tech companies.


Canadian Piggy Bank

Information Venture Partners nears fund target as LPs warm to fintech

Information Venture Partners, a venture firm launched in 2014 by former RBC principals, has secured most of the $71 million C$100 million ($71 million) target set for its second fund, as investors show a growing appetite for opportunities in North America’s fintech sector.

The Toronto-based firm raised an initial C$72.5 million ($51 million) in committed capital for Information Venture Partners II, earmarked for financings of fintech and enterprise software companies in Canada and the United States.

The raise puts Fund II within reach of its C$100 million goal, expected in a final close later this year, Information Venture Partners’ GPs Robert Antoniades and David Unsworth told VCJ.

A mix of corporate and institutional investors signed on to the initial close. Funds affiliated with HarbourVest Partners, including HarbourVest Canada Growth Fund, led commitments. They were joined by Northleaf Venture Catalyst Fund, Teralys Capital Innovation Fund and Permal Capital. Additionally, D+H, a global fintech solutions provider, made a strategic investment in the fund.

Fund II’s initial close comes a little over a year after the founding of Information Venture Partners by Antoniades and Unsworth. In October 2014, they led a management buyout of the portfolio of RBC Venture Partners, the in-house fund of RBC, Canada’s largest bank.

Antoniades and Unsworth spent more than a decade investing together at RBC. Their role included giving the bank a lens on financial innovations and advising on strategic opportunities. They believe their track record positions Information Venture Partners as “a well-established platform for fintech investment.”

“Our long experience in the sector tells us that fintech is not a two-year bubble, but a 20-year macro-trend with huge disruptive power,” Unsworth said. “We think its potential is unlimited and will ultimately be felt right across the financial services spectrum.”

He pointed to a number of innovations by fintech startups, which includes everything from alternative lending and payment systems to crypto-currencies, data analytics and security.

Antoniades and Unsworth said the fintech sector’s rapid growth has prompted leading banks to spend huge sums on efforts to tap opportunities and offset competitive challenges.

It has also spurred record investment from VC and private equity firms. CB Insights reported more than 730 deals captured about $12 billion from investors in 2014, its most recent full-year estimate of global fintech trends. That was up 201 percent from the year before.

Fund II will lead or co-lead Series A, Series B or later-stage investments in software and services for enterprise, financial and analytics applications. Antoniades and Unsworth expect a significant share of the fund’s deals will be located in Canada, where an emerging fintech sector has gained traction of late. FinanceitPayfirmaSecureKeyTrulioo and Wealthsimple are among the fintech startups that raised money in 2015. Such companies have accounted for about C$1 billion in investment since 2010, according to a recent report published by OMERS Ventures.

Information Venture Partners currently manages a portfolio of six companies. They include Verafin, a fraud detection platform based in St. John’s, Newfoundland. Another investment, Adaptive Insights, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based maker of cloud-based finance software, raised a $75 million pre-IPO financing last year.

Antoniades and Unsworth said they expect to close Fund II’s debut investment during the first half of 2016. –Kirk Falconer

Leaders Fund unveils debut fund

Leaders Fund has launched an inaugural $100 million fund. With offices in Toronto and Atlanta, Leaders Fund will focus on making investments in SaaS companies in Canada and the United States.

“We believe great opportunities exist for companies that are providing compelling, enterprise SaaS solutions that take advantage of cloud, mobile and machine learning,” wrote co-founder and Managing Partner David Stein in a blog post.

Stein (previously co-founder and co-CEO of Rypple and co-founder of Workbrain) is joined by Managing Partner Steve DeBacco (former CRO of Applied Predictive Technologies and COO of Workbrain); and Partner Gideon Hayden (previously an associate at OMERS Ventures). Howard Gwin (a onetime partner with Bridgescale Partners and a former enterprise software operator) will serve as a venture partner.


BlueYard sets up shop in Berlin

After hanging under the radar for several months, ex-Earlybird Venture Capital partners Ciarán O’Leary and Jason Whitmire have emerged onto the European venture scene with a new firm: BlueYard Capital.

The Berlin-based firm reached a first and final close of $120 million for its maiden fund, which will seek early-stage technology investments across Europe.

Sources close to BlueYard say its LPs come almost entirely from the United States, and comprise family offices, endowments and funds of funds.

Although no target sectors have been named, O’Leary has identified the decentralization of markets, the democratisation of technology and the liberation of data as eye-catching trends.

“We are trying not to think of the world too much in terms of specific sectors, but rather what the macro-level economic and social changes are that technology is driving,” he wrote in a blog post.

He also said he was willing to shutter the firm after just a single fund cycle if he believed that LPs were losing interest. –Alex Derber

Galdana FoF is a go

Spanish and South American investors have taken the debut fund of-funds from Barcelona-based Galdana Ventures to a first close of €44 million ($48 million)

Galdana plans to invest in late-stage venture and growth equity funds across Europe, the United States and China, with deals between €5 million and €10 million ($5.4 million and $11 million). The firm will focus on Internet, software and mobile solutions. Galdana will also consider secondary and co-investments.

The firm is targeting €150 million ($165 million) for the fund of funds, and has sealed commitments thus far from pension funds, family offices, wealthy individuals and its own management.

Galdana’s leadership includes Marcel Rafart and Javier Rubio, co-founders of Barcelona-based venture firm Nauta Capital. –Alex Derber

Talde launches in Spain

A rare growth equity fund is off the ground in Spain following Bilbao-based Talde’s €67 million ($74 million) first close.

With a minimum target of €100 million ($110 million), Talde wants to back seven to 12 industrial and services companies seeking to expand into Latin America, investing €7 million to €15 million ($7.6 million and $16.3 million) in deals.

Spanish state-backed finance body ICO has contributed a quarter of the new fund, while other investors include family offices and the Bank for the Development of Latin America (CAF)

The majority of Talde’s fund will invest in Spanish companies. These will also benefit from Talde’s existing evergreen vehicle, which manages about €30 million ($33 million) and will co-invest with the new growth fund. –Alex Derber

360 builds dedicated seed fund

Multi-stage venture firm 360 Capital Partners has attracted some of France’s biggest institutional investors to a new seed fund called 360 Square.

The €35 million ($39 million) fund will invest from €300,000 to €1 million ($327,000 million $1.1 million) in digital-focused startups in France, Italy, Germany and elsewhere in Europe.

Backers include French sovereign investor bpifrance, national insurer MAIF and bank Societe Generale.

Paris-based 360 last closed a fund in late 2012, when it raised €60 million ($66 million) for seed and Series A deals. The firm says deal flow has doubled since then.

About a quarter of 360’s historical first investments have been at seed stage. –Alex Derber

South America

LIV looks abroad

Venture and growth capital investor LIV Capital has raised $170 million for the Mexican component of its newest late-stage vehicle LIV Mexico Growth Fund IV.

Like fellow Mexico City firm Ignia, LIV used CKDs, listed securities created after the financial crisis to spur institutional investment, for fundraising within Mexico, while pursuing a traditional LP structure in its marketing abroad.

The firm hopes to raise another $80 million from foreign investors keen for exposure to high-growth Mexican companies.

LIV, formerly known as Latin Idea Ventures, specializes in technology, media, telecoms and business services, and plans to invest from $15 million to $30 million per company with the new fund. –Alex Derber

Alta eyes new heights

As government improves its support for startups in Mexico, Monterrey-based Alta Ventures Mexico hopes to almost triple the size of its next venture fund.

The seed, venture and growth capital investor is targeting $200 million for its second fund, according to an interview with founder Paul Ahlstrom by Mexican financial journal El Economista.

Ahlstrom said that initiatives such as Mexico’s Institute for Entrepreneurship, set up three years ago, helped to kick start the country’s venture ecosystem, adding that he hoped to back 45 businesses with the new fund.

Since raising $70 million for its first fund in 2012, Alta has targeted the Internet, mobile, software, communications and healthcare sectors, backing 30 companies total. The firm typically invests from $2 million to $3 million initially and up to $10 million over the life of a company. –Alex Derber

Compiled by VCJ staff

To download a table in Excel: U.S.-based venture fundraising (December 2015)

To download a table of international firms: Worldwide venture fundraising (December 2015)

Photo illustration of worldwide currencies from Shutterstock.