Garnett & Helfrich Capital has postponed raising a second fund with a target of $750 million following the departure of two directors and a vice president.
The departures started in December. First to leave was Betty Hung, vice president of portfolio development. She took a similar job with Vista Equity Partners. Next was Mark Barrenechea, a director whose new business address was unknown as of early February. Emails sent to his personal account were not returned. Finally, Director Mike Guthrie left to join Symphony Technology Group, a financial holding group that invests in enterprise software and services and is currently raising a fund.
Guthrie, who co-founded and was a general partner with TPG Ventures before joining G&H, did not respond to a request for comment. At the time of his departure, G&H had been preparing to start raising a $750 million-targeted second fund and firm co-founder Terry Garnett was planning a temporary move to London with his family.
But the fund-raising plans and the overseas move were postponed. A firm spokeswoman insisted that all was copacetic with a “strong team” still in place. It is unclear whether G&H’s two associates, Neeraj Gunsagar and Grace Koo, remain. The firm pulled down the “team” page from its website on Jan. 24 and it was still down as of Feb. 6.
Those close to the situation say that one factor in the shakeup may be the managerial and financial control held by co-founders Garnett and David Helfrich, but one source says that the situation was transparent from the beginning. “Their names are on the door, so it’s not accurate to say people were surprised by the level of economics or control they have,” says the source. “They could have named the firm after a lake or a tree, but they didn’t.”
G&H was founded in 2004 with an inaugural fund of $250 million. That fund was later expanded to $350 million.
Among its investments, G&H acquired mobile phone company Celunite for $30 million last fall. The deal was the firm’s latest move in India, where it said it planned to open an office in 2007. Barrenechea, who joined the firm last summer, had previously managed Indian operations for Computer Associates and Oracle Corp. Other G&H portfolio companies with operations in India include Wyse Technology, which makes low cost “thin” computers, and Ingres Corp., which is an open-source database company. —Dan Primack