Report Finds 127 Early Stage Fund Now Being Raised

GSR Ventures announced Tuesday morning it closed a $350 million early stage venture fund targeting investments in China.

The new fund was oversubscribed, the firm reports, with 80% of its money coming from previous GSR investors.

It also might be on the leading edge of a new wave of early stage funds being raised across the globe. Preqin said Monday that 127 early stage venture funds are presently seeking cash. Their goal is $10.9 billion for young startups.

Preqin’s report found that 41% of the funds have had at least a first close, gathering commitments so far of $1.6 billion.

The new interest in early stage represents a noticeable increase. From the start of 2010 to midyear 2011, 74 early stage funds closed on $9.6 billion. Among them was the $1.5 billion Yun Feng fund announced in January, which by itself provided a large share of the total. Yun Feng Capital counts among its founder Alibaba Group Chairman Jack Ma, and Giant Interactive Chairman Shi Yuzhu.

More than half of the new funds will zero in on North America (55%, says Preqin). Twenty-two percent will look for opportunities in Europe and 23% will focus on Asia and the rest of the world.

Among the funds presently in the market is a $500 million fund from Summit Partners.