According to the Israeli newspaper Globes, the Israeli venture capital firm Pitango is setting out to raise a $350 million sixth fund.
The firm, founded in 1993, closed its fifth fund in 2007 with $330 million. Amazingly, Pitango — whose LPs include the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, the Pennsylvania State Employees’ Retirement System, and the YMCA Retirement Fund — has never received funding from an Israeli institutional investor. Indeed, according to Globes, only foreign investors have invested in all Israeli venture capital funds.
Some of the Pitango’s most recent investments include a stake in the social media center company Boxee, which has raised $26.5 million over its four-year history; Pageonce, a four-year-old daily finance service for mobile devices that has raised $25 million; and five-year-old VideoSurf, a computer vision search engine that lets users more easily find and watch videos from across the Web. VideoSurf has raised $21.5 million to date, including a $16 million round that Pitango led in April.
Pitango also invests in storage and networking, healthcare and clean tech, among other areas. It has backed, for example, Boston-based Kaminario, a solid-state storage company with an Israel-based R&D divison; BrainsGate, a medical device company outside Tel-Aviv that’s developing therapies to combat central nervous system diseases; and Focal Energy, whose mission is to fund and manage income-generating assets in the distributed energy and clean infrastructure sectors.
Kaminario, founded in early 2008, has raised $15 million so far, including from Sequoia Capital and Globespan Capital Partners. BrainsGate, founded in 2000, has raised roughly $42 million over the years, including from Johnson & Johnson. Meanwhile, three-year-old, Cyprus-based Focal Energy has raised one $35 million round of funding, including from Bronfman-Fisher International, Granite Hacarmel, and Ronin Investment Management Co.
Pitango has seen a number of its portfolio companies go public or become acquired over the years. Judging by Thomson Reuters data, it looks like its newest exit centers on China-based Jinko Solar, a semiconductor company whose silicon wafers are used to make photovoltaic solar cells and panels. The five-year-old company, which had raised $35 million from Pitango, Hupumone Capital Partners, Shenzhen Capital Group and CIVC Partners, went public on the New York Stock Exchange last week, raising approximately $64 million.
Whether Jinko Solar’s lackluster performance will impact Pitango’s odds of reaching its target are far from clear. Reluctant LPs may be more focused on the performance of the firm’s earlier funds. As the Globes‘ piece observed, Pitango’s third, $500 million fund, closed in 1999, has a -6% IRR, according to the newest available data from CalPERS. Its fourth, $300 million fund, closed in 2004, has a 2% IRR.
Pitango didn’t respond to a request for comment this morning.