PALO ALTO, Calif. – Accel Partners in June announced the addition of four new partners and the closing of its $1.6 billion Accel Fund VIII, said Peter Wagner, a general partner at the firm.
Accel’s latest fund will back about 35 to 40 early-stage Internet and communications companies, with investments ranging between $10 million and $40 million, over the life of the investment, Wagner said.
Although not necessarily tied to the new fund, Accel’s team has been growing in parallel. The firm has hired Alan Austin, former managing partner and chief operating officer at the Palo Alto-based law firm Wilson, Sonsini, Goodrich & Rosati, to hold Accel’s newly created role of chief operating officer and partner. As such, Austin will be responsible for managing the daily administration and execution of the firm’s operational activities, Wagner said, adding that as the firm expands, demands on the internal operations follow suit with Austin leading the initiatives.
Accel’s communications team is doubling in size with the addition of Partners Jim Goetz and Bill Lanfri, who join Wagner and Partner Jim Flach. Goetz, who will focus on networking, telecommunications and communication services investments, has an operating background and will play a core role in investing, Wagner said. Goetz joins the firm from Lucent Technologies, where he was vice president and general manager of the VitalSoft division. Lanfri joins Accel from Avanex Corp., a developer and manufacturer of photonic processors for the communications sector, where he served as interim chief executive officer. Lanfri will play a greater role in the post-investment development stage of the communications investments.
The fourth newcomer, Partner Kevin Comolli, will join General Partner and Founder Jim Swartz and Partner Joe Schoendorf, in Accel’s European initiative. Comolli comes to Accel from Doughty Hanson & Co., a European private equity firm, where he had been a London-based partner since 1996.
The Internet practice at Accel consists of Managing General Partner Jim Breyer, General Partner and Founder Arthur Patterson, Partners Bud Colligan, Theresia Gouw Ranzetta, Bruce Golden and Mitch Kapor, Recruiting Partner Teri McFadden, and Principal Peter Fenton.
The firm’s previous vehicle, the $480 million Accel Fund VII, which closed in August 1999, also backed about 35 to 40 companies, with smaller investments in each company (VCJ, September 1999, page 27).
Limited partners in the new fund mainly included previous investors – a mix of endowments, institutions, corporate investors and high-net-worth individuals – and some newcomers, Wagner said. As with Fund VII, Accel retains its premium fund status, featuring a 70%/30% carried interest split.
Founded in 1983, Accel has more than $3 billion under management. The firm is based in Palo Alto and has an administrative office in Princeton, N.J. -A.L.