WPG Loses Bianchi, Preps Fund Anyway –

SAN FRANCISCO – Annette Bianchi, a general partner at Weiss, Peck & Greer Venture Partners, has departed the firm after seven years to become a managing director at Pacific Venture Group, a Southern California health-care venture group.

Ms. Bianchi, who is a medical technology investor, said the transition was a “natural progression” for her, noting that Weiss Peck intends to focus future funds by industry. With the semi-retirement of General Partner Ellen Feeney, who has taken off time to raise a family, Ms. Bianchi realized that she and General Partner Jeani Dellagardelle would be left responsible to raise a separate medical fund. Instead, Ms. Bianchi decided to join a firm that focuses exclusively on health-care and life sciences investing. Weiss Peck is seeking a new health care partner.

Without providing details, Ms. Bianchi confirmed that Weiss Peck currently is raising a new vehicle to invest in both health care and information technology. Weiss Peck did not return phone calls seeking comment about Ms. Bianchi’s departure or the new fund. Barry Colvin, vice president of alternative investments at St. Louis’s Asset Consulting Group Inc., has reviewed the new Weiss Peck vehicle for a pension client who is committing to the fund. Mr. Colvin said the fund will have a cap of roughly $250 million and will feature a 2% to 2.5% management fee, depending on the size of the commitment. The new fund will have a 75%/25% carried interest split.

Before joining Weiss Peck, Ms. Bianchi was a general partner at the venture firm Burr, Egan, Deleage & Co. She will remain in San Francisco to open Pacific Venture’s Northern California office, and she expects her new role will closely resemble her life sciences-oriented post at Weiss Peck.

Ralph Sabin, a managing director at Pacific Venture, said his firm has had a close working relationship with Ms. Bianchi since the group formed in 1995. The two venture firms had co-invested in several deals, and when Ms. Bianchi “sort of became available, it seemed like a natural thing to at least consider” bringing her into Pacific Venture.

With her addition, Pacific Venture will broaden its scope from health-care services to take advantage of Bianchi’s medical technology expertise.

Pacific Venture is raising its sophomore fund, targeting $150 million. At press time, the firm had closed on $63 million and had commitments totaling $77.7 million, Mr. Sabin said. Pacific Venture Group II was launched in the third quarter of 1998, targeting institutional investors, including banks and insurance companies. The firm’s first fund closed on $100 million in 1995 and is fully invested.