The largest fund raised in the final quarter of 2010, so far, was apparently also one of the easiest to raise. Andreessen Horowitz, known as A16Z, raised $650 million for its second fund, and the firm said it only took three weeks to close. Alexi Oreskovic of Thomson Reuters has the story here. My former colleague Dan Primack wrote about the firm’s fundraising plans in August, and he asked some questions then that still need to be addressed, such as how does a firm devoted to early stage deals explain burning through so much cash? LPs don’t seem to mind.
All Things Green
As you no doubt noticed, Mark Boslet joined our team two months ago, and he’s taken a penchant to cleantech stories. This past week, he attended GreenBeat, where he posted how John Doerr feels a that Netscape moment is imminent. Such a Netscape-like cleantech IPO would capture the world’s imagination and spawn more cleantech offerings and startups. Mark’s second post was how some others in the industry are not so sure about Doerr’s vision.
If you’ll recall, some in the cleantech world are perhaps apt to make bold predictions, such as the claim by Steve Westly in mid-2009 that there would be a dozen or more cleantech IPOs within the next 12 months. I had to stop and think for a moment whether we’ve had that many IPOs in general. Yes we have, but since Solyndra pulled its IPO plans, the momentum for cleantech IPOs has definitely waned.
Intel Makes Bank with Accertify Exit
One of the most notable exits last week came courtesy of American Express, which agreed to pay $150 million for VC-backed Accertify, which provides fraud prevention solutions to online retailers. Known VC backers in Accertify include KPMG, which took part in a $700,000 investment earlier this year, and Intel Capital, which invested an undisclosed amount in mid-2008, according to Thomson Reuters data. Additionally, Accertify, raised $2.4 million in mid-2009, according to this regulatory document. I would love to know how much Intel invested, but I have to believe that the exit proved to be a great return for the corporate VC.
Dell Scoops up Boomi
While we’re talking about acquisitions, a very small deal of note last week was Dell’s purchase of Boomi for an undisclosed amount. Dell is flush with cash following a $72 million break up fee that resulted from Hewlett-Packard winning the bidding war to buy 3PAR. After buying Boomi, Dell should have plenty more cash to make additional acquisitions. As Kevin Fong, former chairman of 3PAR recently told me, Michael Dell isn’t going to lose sleep over not buying 3PAR for $2.4 billion, especially when he now has some extra cash.
Thiel Says He Is Really Not Crazy
One of the most popular posts on peHUB in the past week was Connie Loizos’ Q&A with Peter Thiel. Connie gives Thiel a venue to address a Slate article that called him a “hyper-Libertarian” for his current effort to help give college students the chance to become entrepreneurs. The craziest thing to me about the article is that the Slate author never even tried to contact Thiel. I’ve seen Thiel speak at two events in the past year, and I’m sure we all have our opinions of his extracurricular activities outside of the Founders Fund. But you should at least hear what he has to say about his Fellowship program.
Stealth-Mode Health Startup
I was glad to see Connie track down Ron Gutman to write about his newest startup, HealthTap. I met Gutman and others involved in the company more than a year ago at TEDxSiliconValley, which Gutman helped to organize at Stanford University. Gutman previously co-founded and was CEO of Wellsphere, a health-focused informational and community site that was acquired by HealthCentral in early 2009 for an undisclosed amount. So far, it looks like HealthTap is striking the right notes, at least with me. I will typically read all of the HealthTap posts that come up in my Facebook feed. I can’t say that about many news sites.
Is Carlyle a Bellwether?
Perhaps buyout-related dealmaking is recovering from its two-year slump. Or at least that’s my takeaway from The Carlyle Group’s activity of late. My colleague Luisa Beltran reported that the politically connected firm has actually not done as many deals in 2010 as it seems. But they are active, having invested in 27 companies worldwide year-to-date, including two in last week totaling more than $4 billion.
Considering what Carlyle and other buyout firms and have gone through in recent years, we all should stand up and pay notice to their deal activity. In fact, Buyouts (a peHUB affiliate publication) reported last week that U.S. based buyout and mezzanine shops have invested $45 billion in aggregate deal volume, year-to-date, already surpassing last year’s total.
In the buyout fundraising world, Luisa also reported about the recent earnings report of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. Luisa says: “KKR did not disclose how big their next North American fund would be but (said) that fundraising would start in earnest in early 2011.”
I’m wondering if buyout fundraising and deal activities are really ramping, or is this a trial balloon?
Both Sides of the Table
Mark Suster, a onetime entrepreneur and now a GP at GRP Partners, last week tackled the notion of disruptive technology in a recent blog. It’s a lengthy post, and the comments also run long. But the post is an interesting read for investors and entrepreneurs.
Naval Plans New Fund
I think Naval Ravikant is one of the most under-appreciated angel investors around. Whereas folks like Dave McClure and Ron Conway get tons of media attention for their opinions and their Super Angel activity, Ravikant, the co-founder of Venture Hacks with Babak Nivi, has quietly built up a portfolio that includes deals in Twitter, Foursquare, Jambool and others. Plus, I like him cause he always answers my calls and emails. Connie reported last week that Ravikant and Nivi plan to raise a $40 million fund.
Location Location Location
As my social media followers can attest to, I’m a Foursquare user. I’ll check in to most places I go to just to see what kind of reaction I get and because I want to test the value of location-based services (LBS).
Earlier this week, I visited VC-backed lighting company Redwood Systems for a story I’m working on for VCJ. After I checked in, Rob Day tweeted that this is the reason why VCs don’t use Foursquare, meaning that he and other investors don’t want to give away what potential investments they’re meeting with.
Fair enough, but I still have wondered why more folks aren’t using Foursquare and other check-in sites. (Being a BlackBerry user, I’ve been slow to Whrrl and Gowalla) Turns out, despite how often I hear about the coming age of LBS, check-ins perhaps have not hit the Internet mainstream like I thought they would, based on a Pew Internet survey. Mashable author—and a fellow vegan—Jennifer Van Grove has an interesting take on the survey. She notes that there’s hockey stick-like growth going on for LBS.
We’re mindful of how much press we give certain folks and firms, such as the Foundry Group. The Boulder, Colo.-based investment firm last month closed its second fund with $225 million in commitments. Late last month, we also posted a piece about Managing Director Brad Feld, who said that the firm would likely raise a third fund, followed possibly by a fourth. And “then we’re done,” Feld said. “We’re not building a long-term firm.”
Frankly, I’m surprised his comment did not stir up more talk than it did.
Nevertheless, I’ll admit fully that part of the reason why I like to follow Foundry is that the team there, especially Ryan McIntyre, likes to drink beer. McIntyre, in fact, made his first angel investment in San Francisco-based brewery Speakeasy, whose IPA I find rivals that of Lagunitas. You can imagine, then that I took notice of one of Feld’s tweets this week that he was going to grab a beer out of the fridge—a Monty Python Holy Ail.
I guess that’s how VCs do it in Colorado.