Funds: Baumel Joins RWI Preps New Fund, Office –

PALO ALTO, Calif. – RWI Group is preparing a July 1st launch of its $100 million-targeted RWI Group IV LP, while simultaneously awaiting the August arrival of General Partner William Baumel, and a move to Page Mill Road set for October, said Donald A. Lucas, a managing general partner at the firm.

Baumel joins RWI Group from his most recent post as general partner at CORAL Ventures, a technology and health care-focused firm based in Minneapolis. RWI selected Baumel in part for his knowledge and experience in the communications space, a sector in which the firm seeks to become more involved, Lucas said. Baumel has led deals with communications entities including Integral Access Inc. and Optical Solutions Inc., as well as Magnet Communications Inc. and PurePacket Communications.

The firm plans to hold multiple closings on Fund IV, the first of which is expected August 1, followed by another on October 1, Lucas said. The vehicle will target early-stage communications, software and Internet infrastructure companies, with investments ranging between $1.5 million and $3.5 million over several rounds, Lucas said. The fund will back some 20 to 25 companies primarily on the West Coast, with a concentration in the Silicon Valley area.

RWI Group has led deals and co-invested with more than 45 venture firms over the last four years, Lucas said. The firm’s portfolio includes Proxinet Inc., acquired by Puma Technology Inc. in October 1999, Conduct Ltd., acquired by Mercury Interactive Corp. in November 1999, Preview Systems Inc., which went public in December 1999, and Extricity Inc., which filed to go public in May.

The firm expects more than 90% of its existing limited partners to join its latest fund, which will still leave room for some newcomers, primarily institutional investors, Lucas said. The limited partner base for the firm’s first three funds was primarily executives and entrepreneurs of Silicon Valley software and communications companies. The Minneapolis Teachers’ Retirement Fund Association, however, was an investor in Fund III and is expected to join Fund IV as well.

At press time, firm’s previous vehicle, the $41 million RWI Group III LP, which closed in June 1998, was about 90% committed to 19 companies. RWI Group II LP, which closed on $18 million in June 1997, is completely invested in 19 companies, Lucas said.

The investment team includes Lucas and Baumel, and Special Limited Partners Donald L. Lucas, Donald A. Lucas’ father, and Noel Rahn, and the lone associate, Jonathan Barek.

The firm is expected to move from its current location in Palo Alto on University Ave. to Page Mill Road, which it is sharing with Telos Venture Partners, on October 1, Lucas said.