Weathergage FoF sees end of rainbow

Four former principal investors of Knightsbridge Advisors, a fund of funds focused on U.S. venture capital, closed their first new fund of funds and blew past their target after six months of fund-raising.

Managing Principals Judith Elsea, Tim Bliamptis, Brad Hammond and Sandra Wallis, co-founders of Weathergage Venture Capital Management Partners, said in July that the had closed on $250 million in commitments for their San Francisco-based FoF.

Each of the investors had worked at least five years at Knightsbridge before he or she left separately sometime after June 2006 to launch the new FoF, which will invest in venture funds.

Weathergage’s partners have no dearth of experience. Bliamptis co-led Brinson Partners and managed a $10 billion alternative asset portfolio before joining Knightsbridge. Elsea was previously the chief investment officer of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation for eight years, where she managed a $2 billion portfolio. Hammond was a lawyer at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati and made partner at Oklahoma law firm Crowe & Dunlevy.

Joel Romines, the founder of Knightsbridge and the only managing principal to remain at the firm, moved fast to fill the holes in his team. He hired Barbara Piette in September as a managing principal. Piette joined from Blackwood Capital, where she was a president and had worked since 2000.

Weathergage isn’t the only fund of funds on the fund-raising route. VCJ reported about the launch of Vedanta Venture Capital, a New York-based private equity fund of funds at the beginning of the year. The firm has filed to raise up to $300 million from investors, though a recent regulatory filing lists its initial target as $27.75 million. Vedanta was co-founded by three departees of Invesco Private Capital, including noted VC Parag Saxena.

Fund-raising for FoF declined last year. In 2006, 77 funds of funds raised almost $21 billion, a 15% drop from the 94 FoF that raised $24.5 billion during 2005, according to Thomson Financial (publisher of VCJ). —Alexander Haislip