InfoSpace Establishes Formal Venture Fund –

REDMOND, Wash. – InfoSpace.com Inc., a provider of infrastructure services for Web sites, merchants and wireless devices, in January launched the InfoSpace.com Venture Capital Fund to back Internet start-ups.

InfoSpace.com had invested in 10 companies and acquired another eight in the last six months, a wave of activity that prompted the company to launch its own venture fund, said Naveen Jain, chairman and chief executive at Infospace.com.

InfoSpace.com Venture Capital Fund received an initial $30 million investment from InfoSpace.com Jan. 1 and will be entirely funded by its parent company and its employees. The firm expects the fund to hold a second close on capital from InfoSpace.com employees sometime before the end of January, Jain said.

The vehicle will back about 20 to 30 companies, with average investments ranging between $1 million and $5 million. While the fund will have no geographic bias, it only will back companies whose services InfoSpace.com can use or work with.

The vehicle already has a head start, as InfoSpace.com’s 10 most recent investments, which together total about $15 million, will be managed by the new fund, Jain said. The portfolio includes companies such as Catalog City Inc., Gift Services Inc., RightWorks Corp. and InfoMove.

Bernee Strom , former president and chief operating officer at InfoSpace.com, is now president of the fund and will remain a director at the parent company. She will work with a team of four or five InfoSapce.com employees, who at press time had not been selected, Jain said.