Recap: Summary of recent fund news from around the world


Seed-focused Romulus closes third fund with $75 mln

Boston-based Romulus Capital, an investor in CohealoGinger.ioPlacester and other companies, has closed its third seed-focused fund with $75 million in commitments. The fund, which focuses on early-stage tech and science-enabled companies, is 50 percent larger than Fund II, which closed at $50 million in 2014.

Romulus Capital
Krishna K. Gupta, founder, Romulus Capital. Photo courtesy of the firm.

The fund commitments were raised from investors in 15 countries, including three royal families, Asia’s largest conglomerates, and individuals with ties to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Romulus typically invests $100,000 to $500,000 in seed-stage companies but is able to scale up to $4 million over time.

The fund is managed by General Partners Krishna Gupta, who founded the fund from his MIT dorm room as an undergraduate in 2008, and Neil Chheda. The two partners are both under the age of 30. –Alastair Goldfisher

Revolution Growth closes third fund at $525 mln

Revolution Growth has raised $525 million for its third fund. Led by Steve Case, Donn Davis and Ted Leonsis, Revolution Growth III will focus on tech companies that are not in Silicon Valley.

With an investment horizon of four to five years, it will dole out capital at a measured pace, with three to four investments annually and initial checks of $25 million to $50 million.

What’s striking is the increase in partners managing the capital pool: six partners instead of three supporting the previous fund.

Revolution Growth’s previous fund closed at $450 million.

In addition to the fund closing, Revolution Growth has named Steve Murray, who previously worked at Softbank, as a partner while promoting Scott Hilleboe and Evan Morgan to the same role.

1315 Capital closes initial healthcare-focused fund at $200 mln

Philadelphia-based growth equity firm 1315 Capital LLC has raised $200 million for its debut healthcare-focused fund.

The pool’s investors include endowments, foundations, state and corporate pension funds and family offices.

The fund is led by co-founders Adele Oliva and Michael Koby.

Kellogg launches $100 mln venture fund

Battle Creek, Michigan-based Kellogg Company is forming a venture fund that will make minority investments in emerging companies, including those focused on developing new ingredients, foods and packaging.

The fund, called eighteen94 capital (1894), seeks to invest about $100 million.

Kellogg has teamed up with Touchdown Ventures to help manage the fund while Simon Burton, a Kellogg executive, will manage it.

The year 1894 is when John Harvey Kellogg first made corn flakes cereal.

FirstMark racks up $480 mln for two funds

FirstMark Capital has raised $480 million for two separate funds, managing director Amish Jani announced in a blog post on the venture firm’s site. FirstMark IV, which targets early-stage investments, raised $275 million while FirstMark OF II, which focuses on backing companies as they scale, closed at $205 million.

Sherpa raises $470 mln for two funds

Sherpa Capital has raised $470 million for two new funds.

The new funds are Sherpa Ventures II, an early-stage fund of about $172 million, and Sherpa Everest, which will have about $298 million for expansion stage companies.

The firm’s managing directors are Shervin Pishevar and Scott Stanford.

SoftTech rakes in $150 mln for two funds

San Francisco-based SoftTech VC, which had its first portfolio company IPO with the exit of Fitbit last year, has raised $100 million for its fifth seed-stage venture fund and $50 million for its opportunity fund.

Fund V will focus on backing about 40 startups over three years in sectors that include SaaS/b2b, connected devices and monetized consumer services. The opportunity fund will target growth-stage investments across previous SoftTech VC funds.

Ohio TechAngel Funds raises $5.1 mln for fifth fund

Ohio TechAngel Funds (OTAF), which invests in Ohio-based companies in IT, advanced materials and life sciences, has raised $5.1 million for its fifth fund. Half of the funds came from accredited investors, while the State of Ohio matched the other half with a loan, said OTAF Managing Director Parker MacDonell.

OTAF raised $7.3 million in a similar structure for its fourth fund, which it began putting to work in 2014. MacDonnell said that fund is about two-thirds invested.

OTAF, which is managed by Columbus-based Rev1 Ventures, typically serves as the leading investor in area companies, making investments of about $325,000 with money reserved for follow-on deals. Rev1 also manages X Squared Angels, which invests in Ohio companies that have at least one woman in a C-level position.

Since 2004, OTAF’s’ four funds have invested more than $14 million in more than 50 Ohio-based technology startups, including Columbus-based MentorCliQ, a mentoring software technology company. –Alastair Goldfisher

500 Startups announces $25 mln fund to back black, Latino entrepreneurs

500 Startups announced it is raising a $25 million fund to invest in startups headed by black and Latino entrepreneurs. The firm said the new fund is expected to invest in about 100 companies.

As is its custom when announcing a new microfund, 500 Startups said the new vehicle will be led by founding partner Dave McClure. Also leading the new fund isMonique Woodard, a venture partner at 500 Startups and co-founder of Black Founders, a national organization that aims to increase the number of black entrepreneurs in tech. Previously, Woodard was one of the first Innovation Fellows for the City of San Francisco.

500 Startups announced the new fund at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit. –Alastair Goldfisher

Commerce Ventures holds initial close on Fund II

San Francisco-based Commerce Ventures, which focuses on retail and fintech technologies, has raised $25.595 million toward a $40 million fund, according to a regulatory filing. The filing reports the commitments have come from 30 investors.

The fund target is twice the size of Fund I, which raised $20 million in 2013, according to data from Thomson Reuters.

Commerce Ventures was founded by General Partner Dan Rosen, who was with Highland Capital Partners for six years. –Alastair Goldfisher

Salesforce Ventures unveils $50 mln Lightning Fund and incubator

Salesforce Ventures has kicked off a $50 million Lightning Fund to back entrepreneurs building Lightning apps and components, according to a press release.

The firm said it will partner with Bessemer Venture Partners, Cloud Apps Capital Partners, Emergence Capital, Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers and Lightspeed Venture Partners to identify opportunities for joint investing

Salesforce also announced an incubator for early-stage companies leveraging Lightning. The incubator will provide space within Salesforce offices and open in the San Francisco Bay Area by the end of 2016. –Mark Boslet

SV Life Sciences nearing $400 mln target

Boston-based SV Life Sciences has raised $273.5 million toward a $400 million targeted sixth fund. The commitments have come from 24 investors, according to a regulatory filing.

A total of $126.5 million, or nearly 32 percent of the fund, remains to be sold.

The target of Fund VI is about 24 percent less than the fifth fund, which closed in 2010 with $523.5 million in commitments. The firm also has offices in San Francisco and London and invests in biotech, healthcare services and medical devices. –Alastair Goldfisher

Data Collective collects $177.5 mln for fourth fund

Big data investor Data Collective has raised $177.45 million in commitments for its fourth fund, according to a regulatory filing. The fund is about 20 percent larger than its third fund, which raised $148.4 million and closed in 2014, according to Thomson Reuters. The fourth fund was initially targeted at $155 million, according to a regulatory filing from March.

Separately, the firm is seeking $125 million for its second opportunity fund to back growth-stage companies, called DCVC Opportunity Fund II LP.

The firm, which has offices in San Francisco and Palo Alto, California, is led by Zachary Bogue and Matt Ocko. Portfolio companies include Heavybit Industries, Planet Labs and Space Monkeyamong others. Alastair Goldfisher

New York’s ffVC aims to raise $150 mln opportunity fund

New York-based ff Venture Capital, which recently raised about $54 million for its fourth fund, is seeking to raise $150 million for its first opportunity fund, according to a regulatory filing.

VCJ  previously reported that ffVC was seeking to raise ff Select Opportunity Fund to back some of its portfolio companies. But the target was not yet disclosed. –Alastair Goldfisher

Clear Ventures launches with $120 mln

Palo Alto, California-based Clear Ventures announced it has raised $120 million for its inaugural fund from a mix of institutional pension, endowments, foundations and undisclosed tech executives. The early-stage firm said it initially targeted the fund at $80 million, but raised it to accommodate demand

Clear Ventures was founded by Chris Rust and Rajeev Madhavan. Rust, a former partner at Sequoia Capital and U.S. Venture Partners, and Rajeev, a tech investor and an independent investor, say they have invested in more than 50 companies, 34 of which have exited.

UPDATE: A regulatory filing on June 2 indicates the firm raised $121.2 million from 46 investors. –Alastair Goldfisher

Matter Ventures more than halfway toward media accelerator fund

San Francisco-based Matter Ventures has raised $6.99 million toward a $12 million fund, according to a recent regulatory filing. Matter operates media-focused startup incubators in San Francisco and New York.

Matter raised the commitments from eight investors, according to the filing.

Matter Ventures is led by Managing Partner Corey Ford. Portfolio companies that have gone through the firm’s program include Contextly and Huzza, among others, according to AngelList. –Alastair Goldfisher

New Richmond Ventures seeks $30 mln fund

Richmond, Virginia-based New Richmond Ventures seeks to raise $30 million for NRV Early Stage Growth Fund LP, according to a regulatory filing. The filing indicates the firm has not held a close yet.

The firm was founded in 2011 by Jim UkropBob Mooney and Ted Chandler in 2011 to invest in area companies, but has since broadened its geographic focus. NRV says it has invested in 14 companies in five years. –Alastair Goldfisher

Longitude raises a $525 mln third fund

Longitude Capital has raised a $525 million third fund.

The fund, Longitude Venture Partners III, exceeded its target of $450 million. It will invest in private and public biotech and medtech companies across all stages, with an average commitment of $15 million to $25 million in about 25 companies.

Managing directors of the Menlo Park, California-based firm are Sandip Agarwala, Juliet Bakker, Patrick Enright, Marc Galletti, Gregory Grunberg and David Hirsch.

5am Ventures raises $285 mln for fifth fund

5AM Venture Management has raised $285 million for a fifth life sciences fund, 5AM Ventures V, according to a blog post and filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The firm said the money came from new and existing LPs and that the fund would target early stage companies in the discovery and development of therapeutics, drug delivery technologies, and research instruments and reagents. Eighty LPs participated, according to the filing.­Mark Boslet

Next Frontier collects over $21 mln

Next Frontier Capital, a Bozeman, Montana-based venture firm, has closed its debut fund at over $21 million. The fund’s focus is on Montana tech and healthcare companies. According to the firm, it has already made undisclosed investments in three unidentified Montana companies in the biotech, software and clean water tech sectors.

Greenspring raises $200 mln

Greenspring Associates, which focuses exclusively on venture investments, raised $200 million for Greenspring Secondaries Fund II.

The fund will invest in limited partner interests in venture capital funds, as well as in growth-stage companies mainly on a secondary basis.


Chrysalix raising robotics fund in partnership with RoboValley

Chrysalix Venture Capital is raising a $111.5 million robotics fund in partnership with RoboValley, a center for robotics commercialization located at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, according to a press release.

The RoboValley Fund will invest in North America, Europe and potentially Asia with seed and Series A rounds, said Mike Sherman, a Chrysalix managing partner. It will look at component technology, intelligent software, communications technology and power technology. The fund also can incubate companies.

The RoboValley Fund is Chrysalix’s first robotics fund. –Mark Boslet

Draper Esprit goes public

Draper Esprit went public on the London and Dublin Stock Exchanges on June 15, raising about $144 million.

Draper Esprit
Partners of Draper Esprit (left to right) Stuart Chapman, Simon Cook and Brian Caulfield. Photo by Daniel Jones Photography courtesy of Draper Esprit.

The firm in a blog post said the money raised would create a “permanent” supply of capital to invest again and again in new generations of startups, in contrast to one-time funds. It added that the arrangement would enable it to back companies with larger rounds over longer periods of time.

The firm’s existing portfolio has been transferred to its balance sheet.

“Like the entrepreneurs we support, we have always seen the world a little differently and believe that, just because there’s a way it’s always been done, it doesn’t always have to be that way,” the firm stated in a blog post. –Mark Boslet

EQT establishes major force in European VC

While most of Europe’s large buyout houses have offloaded their VC arms since the financial crisis, one firm has completed a rare move in the opposite direction.

With €29 billion ($33 billion) under its private equity belt, Stockholm-based EQT has secured €566 million ($640 million) for EQT Ventures, a new unit with a multi-stage remit for technology deals focused on Europe.

This gives EQT Ventures one of the largest war chests in European venture, and, accordingly, its minority tickets can range from €1 million to €75 million ($1.1 million to $84 million)

Institutional commitments have come from AP4, the Swedish public pension fund; European Investment Fund; Finnish Industry Investment; Ilmarinen; HarbourVest Partners; SEB Pension och Försäkring; and Vaekstfonden.

Entrepreneurs account for another 10 percent of the fund, while EQT management also committed 10 percent.

“I don’t think anyone in Europe rivals our team no matter if it’s about earlier-stage innovation or about scaling a company to become a global winner,” said Kees Koolen, who co-founded EQT Ventures with Hjalmar Winbladh and Lars Jornow, in a statement. –Alex Derber

LSP reveals new fundraising plans

Amsterdam-based Life Sciences Partners (LSP) will launch fundraising for a second medtech fund towards the end of 2016, Managing Partner Rene Kuijten tells VCJ.

LSP Rene Kuijten
Rene Kuijten, managing partner of Amsterdam-based LSP. Photo courtesy of the firm.

Health Economics II will target up to €150 million ($170 million), slightly more than the €112 million that LSP raised for its predecessor in 2014, mainly from health insurers.

LSP hopes this investor class will again be drawn to the fund’s focus on technologies that reduce the cost of healthcare.

Unlike LSP’s flagship funds, which invests across life sciences and at several stages, the Health Economics vehicles concentrate on late-stage medtech deals, and are also more active in bringing American companies into Europe.

Where there is overlap between its flagship and Health Economics funds, which occurs in about 10 percent of deals according to Kuijten, the two invest in parallel. –Alex Derber

Frog jumps up a gear

Frog Capital, the London-based software investor, has managed to diversify its LP base for its second growth-equity fund.

After deploying €60 million ($67 million) from a single family for its first fund, Frog has won over three more family offices as well as the British Business Bank and European Investment Fund to close Fund II at €90 million ($101 million)

With tickets ranging from €7 million to €10 million ($7.8 million to $11.1 million) for post-Series A deals, Frog targets software companies across what Managing Director Mike Reid terms the “beer-drinking countries” of Northern Europe.

Although the fund’s size will only allow for about eight investments, Reid says he wouldn’t be comfortable pursuing smaller venture deals in Europe.

“Unlike the U.S., Europe doesn’t have a track record of major, frequent exits, but it does have a steady flow,” Reid says. –Alex Derber

Intesa, Quadrivio anchor joint fund

In Europe, Italy’s venture sector is the most reliant on local banks, a fact underlined by a new partnership between Milanese firm Quadrivio and Intesa Sanpaolo.

The partners have committed a combined €70 million ($78 million) to a planned €120 million ($134 million) VC and seed fund covering the medtech, electronics and cleantech sectors.

Their new company will also assume management of three of Intesa’s funds, Atlante Ventures, Atlante Seed and Atlante Ventures Mezzogiorno, plus Quadrivio’s TTVenture.

However, the status of TTVenture II, a €100 million ($111 million) vehicle launched in 2014, is unclear.

In addition it appears that Intesa’s new fintech fund, announced in May, is not part of the deal.

Davide Turco, Intesa’s current venture manager, will head the joint operation, which has not yet been named.

The new fund will invest mainly in Italy but also elsewhere in Europe, and in Israel. –Alex Derber

Galdana finalizes global FoF

After a rocky start to fundraising, Galdana has closed its first venture fund-of-funds at a hard cap of €250 million ($283 million).

The Barcelona-based firm has raised €44 million ($50 million), as of January, before a flurry of commitments from institutional investors, family offices and Spanish technology entrepreneurs brought it closer to target.

The firm said about €100 million ($111 million) has already been deployed across 12 venture funds.

Once fully committed, Galdana expects to have invested about €190 million ($212 million) in the United States and Europe, with €60 million ($67  million) in Asia.

It targets funds in such tech sectors as e-commerce, software and mobile solutions, and plans to be fully invested by Summer 2018. –Alex Derber


Golden Gate Ventures raises $60 mln for Southeast Asia fund

Golden Gate Ventures has closed its second oversubscribed early-stage venture fund at $60 million, beating its original $50 million target. The fund will focus on Southeast Asia.

Limited partners include Temasek, two unidentified Asia-based institutions and Hanwha Life Insurance.

Lightspeed targets $240 mln for third China fund

Lightspeed China Partners is seeking to raise $240 million for its third fund, according to a regulatory filing. The firm’s previous fund closed at $260 million two years ago.

Compiled by VCJ staff

Downloadable Data: U.S.-based venture fundraising (May 2016)

Downloadable Data: Worldwide venture fundraising (May 2016)

Photo of various world currencies including Chinese Yuan, US Dollar, Euro, British Pound. Reuters//Kacper Pempel