Venture Capital

August 7, 2013

Silicon Valley Seed Funding Set to Smash Record

Seed venture capital funding in the San Francisco Bay Area will set a record this year, according to a report issued b CB Insights – an industry research group.

There have already been 242 deals in the region, with $192 million invested, the report said. That is more than what was invested in all of 2010 and is already nearly equal to activity in 2011.

The report indicated a shift in the awarding of seed funds with Internet seed deals dropping below 2012 levels while Mobile seed deals increasing dramatically – double what they were in 2010 levels and already equal to was invested in the sector in 2012.

The research firm also listed the top 10 most active seed investors in the Bay Area. In order the are SV Angel, Andreesen Horowitz, Google Ventures, First Round Capital, Charles River Ventures, True Ventures, Founder’s Collective, Felicis Ventures, CrunchFund, New Enterprise Associates and Floodgate Fund.

The full report can be found at this link: http://www.cbinsights.com/blog/trends/silicon-valley-seed-vc .

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December 3, 2012

Golden Gate Ventures forms Strategic Alliance For Asian Startups

Venture Capital firm Golden Gate Ventures and JFDI.Asia have announced a new strategic alliance that will focus on supporting early-stage digital startups, according to a report in TechCrunch. The program will include intensive mentoring from both early-stage funding specialists to help companies gain market traction.

Golden Gate Ventures has offices in Singapore and San Francisco operates a seed investment program for digital start-up companies that have already launched. Based in Singapore, JFDI.Asia’s accelerator “bootcamp” program takes teams of entrepreneurs from idea to investment in 100 days.

Golden Gate Ventures co-founders Vinnie Lauria, Jeff Paine and Paul Bragiel have joined JFDI.Asia’s bootcamp as mentors. Lauria said in a joint statement that “the next billion people are coming online in our region. It’s a huge opportunity and an equally huge pool of talent in the region is set to make the most of it.” Hugh Mason, co-founder of JFDI.Asia, said that he hopes the partnership will be “the first of several alliances with key partners across the region who share our ambition to support the coming generation of digital success stories across Asia, for Asia.”

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November 23, 2008

CalPERS cuts 80 private equity funds

CalPERS has sold 80 private equity partnerships with a net asset value of $2.1 billion on the secondary markets, according to a report in Pensions and Investments

Leon G. Shahinian, senior investment officer, alternative investment management group, said in an interview that the $189.9 billion California Public Employees’ Retirement System, Sacramento, eliminated 60 partnerships from its alternative investment management program in July and August, he said. UBS assisted in the selection and sale of the private equity fund interests. Mr. Shahinian wouldn’t identify the funds or give selling prices. But according to CalPERS’ June 30 Alternative Investment Management Program Fund Performance review, funds missing from the June 30 list that had appeared on a year-end list run the gamut from buyout to venture capital to a few distressed debt funds and include the following: Technology Partners Fund VII, Thomas Weisel Capital Partners LP, Ticonderoga e-Services Fund II, TL Ventures V, Weston Presidio Capital IV, EuclidSR Biotechnology Partners, JPMorgan Partners Global, Thomas Weisel Global Growth Partners B, Thomas Weisel Strategic Opportunities, Provender Opportunities Fund II, Thomas Weisel Global Growth Partners II, Thomas Weisel Healthcare Ventures, Alta California Partners Fund II, Kohlberg Investors V, OCM Opportunities Fund V, OCM Principal Opportunities Fund III, Paladin Homeland Security Fund, Palomar Ventures III and Belvedere Capital II.

London-based private equity research firm Preqin estimated that funds sold for $2.1 billion in late 2007 in the secondary market — which trades private equity stakes between the pension funds and endowment funds that want to exit or buy. Preqin determined that the net asset value of funds sold equates to 9 percent of CalPERs overall portfolio, and calculates the remaining value of its private equity portfolio at $21.5 billion.

Calpers didn’t confirm Preqin’s calculations. The pension fund said it couldn’t specify how much more it gained from the sale in 2007, when the market was peaking, than if it had tried to sell it today.
But Leon Shahinian, Senior Investment Officer at CalPERS private equity program, said via an email from CalPERS spokesman: “In today’s market, we would have had hundreds of millions in losses.”

The pension fund said that its strategy dated back to late 2005, when its Alternative Investment Management program (AIM) presented a strategic plan to the CalPERS Board to lessen the administrative burden of having so many funds to oversee, and to optimize long-term private equity performance. In 2006, it hired UBS Investment Bank to scrub its private equity portfolio and develop a list to sell. At that time, it had investments in several hundred funds.

The inital sale of the $2.1 billion assets — which were sold in the secondary market and not all in one go — was in the third quarter of 2007, when the Dow was ranging between 13,000 to 14,000.
CalPERS said there were 80 partnerships in this portfolio and 60 different general partnership relationships, diversified over various private equity sectors such as venture capital, distressed, buyouts, etc. Sales were completed in the fourth quarter of 2007.

Filed under Banking and Financial Services, California Government, Venture Capital by

August 6, 2008

Space Exploration company raised $20 million

As reported in Venturebeat:

Space Exploration Technology Corp., the company created by PayPal co-founder Elon Musk and better-known as SpaceX, has raised $20 million from The Founders Fund.

This is the first time SpaceX has raised outside funding, according to the Wall Street Journal; Musk previously invested $100 million of his own money. The news follows right behind the Hawthorne, Calif. company’s third attempted launch. The launch ended in failure last weekend, when the first-stage engine didn’t separate as required. The Falcon 1 (pictured left) carried three satellites — one for the U.S. Department of Defense, two for NASA — as well as the remains of 208 people who paid to have their remains shot into space, including astronaut Gordon Cooper and actor James Doohan, who played Scotty on Star Trek.

But Musk says a fourth launch is “almost ready” to go, and that the new funding is just a “precautionary measure.” Musk already has a connection with The Founders Fund, which was established by his PayPal co-founders Peter Thiel, Luke Nosek and Ken Howery. The Journal reports that SpaceX also held unsuccessful talks with aerospace company Northrop Grumman about a possible investment.

SpaceX has big goals — to make space travel, including missions to other planets, more reliable and affordable by a factor of 10. With three failed launches, it clearly has a way to go on when it comes to reliability, but apparently it’s not unusual to see these kinds of problems during the early stages of a rocket’s developent. SpaceX already has plans for 11 missions.

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April 8, 2008

Intel starts $500 million China investment fund

Intel Corp.’s venture capital arm announced that it has set up a new $500 million fund to invest in Chinese technology startups. The new fund, Intel Capital China Technology II, will invest in Chinese companies involved in wireless broadband, technology, media, telecommunications and environmentally friendly technologies. Intel Capital President Arvind Sodhani said the company’s second China fund plans to invest its US$500 million over five to seven years. The company set up in June 2005 its first fund targeting China, the $200 million Intel Capital China Technology Fund. That fund was meant to spend its allotment over the same period as the new fund but ended up spending all its capital in less than three years.

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March 11, 2008

Comercia freezing accounts of venture-backed start-ups

VentureBeat is reporting that Comerica Bank is freezing the money market accounts of venture-backed companies. They could not get Comerica to deny this and instead quoted a bank spokesperson as saying ““At Comerica, we are working with customers on a case-by-case basis to assist them with their liquidity needs.”. The problem can apparently be traced to the auction-rate note market that has been facing a serious disruption. “Those notes make up a $330 billion market that recently came to a virtual standstill. They represent debt from city governments and other tax-exempt organizations, and the rates are reset at auctions every week” according to the New York Times, and VentureBeat noted that in mid-February, the demand for those notes “completely dried up”. They believe this is one of the first examples of the subprime burst directly affecting venture-backed start-ups.

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February 13, 2008

Benchmark Capital raises $500 million,

Benchmark Capital, one of Silicon Valley’s leading venture firms, has just finished raising its sixth fund, totaling $500 million, according to a report in VentureBeat. Partner Steve Spurlock said the firm’s partners haven’t changed, and that its focus will remain on enterprise software, internet and security companies. The latest fund is somewhat larger than the firm’s previous 2004 fund of $425 million, in part because the firm has added two more partners, but also because it wants to invest in later stage deals. The firm hit it big in the late 1990s with eBay’s IPO, was somewhat barren during the downturn immediately after 2000, but has had a roll of profitable returns on investments lately: MySQL, Zimbra, Vontu and Tellme have all been acquired for large multi-hundred million dollar amounts. Other recent IPOs or sold companies were Infinera, Business.com, Good, Avamar, Entrisphere and Ingenio.

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December 28, 2007

Kayak.com raises $196 million to buy SideStep

Kayak.com, the travel search engine has completed a $196 million funding round that it will use to buy SideStep Inc. Kayak.com said it intends to maintain both the SideStep.com and Kayak.com brands and will develop and promote each site independently. As reported in the Silicon Valley Business Journal, Michael Moritz of Menlo Park-based Sequoia Capital will join Kayak.com’s board. Other participants include existing Kayak.com investors General Catalyst Partners of Cambridge, Mass., and Accel Partners of Palo Alto. SideStep investors involved included Norwest Venture Partners and Trident Capital, both of Palo Alto. New investors include Oak Investment Partners, which has an office in Palo Alto, Lehman Brothers Venture Partners, and debt lenders Silicon Valley Bank and Gold Hill Capital.

Filed under Mergers and Acquisitions, Travel and Tourism, Venture Capital by

November 29, 2007

Clearstone Venture Partners to invest $30 million in India consumer markets

Venture capital investor Clearstone Venture Partners, which has two offices in California and one in Mumbai, plans to invest $30-40 million in companies focusing on India’s consumer market in fiscal 2008. According to a press release from the company, Clearstone, which has $650 million in committed capital under management, has invested a total of $21 million in three Indian companies with partners since 2006. Clearstone Venture Partners, which plans to focus on India’s high-growth, consumer-driven market, says the sector is not overcrowded with investors,”The market is still underplayed. It can take more investors.” said Clearstone Director Rahul Khanna.

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November 14, 2007

Cisco Systems to invest another $100 million in India

Cisco Systems, the giant San Jose, Calif., networking company, will invest a further $100 million in venture capital initiatives in India. VentureBeatWire reports that that tand he plan was mentioned by Chief Executive John Chambers and follows two years after Cisco announced a plan to invest $1.1 billion in India over two to three years, including $100 million in venture investments. This is an expansion of that plan.

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Shasta Ventures closes new $250 million fund

Shasta Ventures closed a $250 million venture capital fund focused on early-stage technology companies, according to a report in the Silicon Valley / San Jose Business Journal. Menlo Park-based Shasta announced that limited partners in Shasta Ventures II LP are primarily returning investors from Shasta’s first fund, including endowments, foundations, pensions and family offices. Shasta Ventures, which began investing its first fund of $210 million in early 2005, has made 22 investments to date in early-stage companies spanning consumer and business Internet services, mobile and wireless, and software and infrastructure.

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August 1, 2007

Technology Partners Announces $300 Million Venture Fund to Invest in Clean Technology

Technology Partners, a Palo Alto, California-based venture capital firm has announced the formation of a new fund capitalized at $300 million and directed toward Cleantech and Life Science companies. Technology Partners’ Cleantech investments primarily focus on energy technology, water technology and advanced materials. Life Science investments focus on opportunities in neuroscience and lifestyle therapies—in areas ranging from aesthetics to obesity to women’s health. Teh company believe it is uniquely positioned to take advantage of convergence opportunities that require experience in both Cleantech and Life Science, such as the next generation of biofuels and biomaterials. Technology Partners’ team includes General Partners Ira Ehrenpreis, Roger Quy, Jim Glasheen and Sheila Mutter; and Ted Ardell as a Venture Partner. “Our Cleantech practice focuses on solving some of the most important problems of the 21st century,” said Ehrenpreis. “Cleantech remains one of the most revolutionary and transformative areas within the venture asset class as we begin to see innovative technologies tackle the world’s critical energy and water problems.”

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July 26, 2007

Canaan Partners invests in India-based career social networking portal

Canaan Partners, a $2.4 billion global venture capital firm, today announced it has led a joint investment with The Entrepreneur’s Funds and Miven Venture Partners in techTribe, India’s leading career networking portal. techTribe is a software company that enables current and future Indian technology professionals to enhance their careers through social networking. The investment will be used to expand techTribe’s sales and marketing infrastructure in India and to drive new revenue growth. Alok Mittal, Canaan’s managing director in India, will be named to the techTribe board of directors.

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June 7, 2007

Tioga Energy gets $10M to offer more solar power

Tioga Energy, a Sunnyvale, Calif. company that wants to makes solar power financing easier for mid-sized businesses, has raised $10 million in a first round of venture financing, according to BlogForward.  

It is just the latest of several players entering the hot solar market to make it easier for companies to buy solar power. Chief executive Paul Detering says the market is so robust that new players focusing on a niche should have no problem attracting customers. Tioga’s niche is solar installations of 50 to 500 kilowatts — which are mid-sized projects. Tioga seeks to partner with solar installation companies. Leading the investments were venture capital groups NGEN Partners, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Rockport Capital, DFJ Frontier and Kirlan Ventures.  Competitors include SunEdison, which focuses on larger installations, MMA Renewable Ventures and Recurrent Energy

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June 6, 2007

Disney’s Steamboat Ventures growing in China

Steamboat Ventures, established a few years ago to invest on behalf of Disney, is working behind the scenes with some big players in the world’s second-largest Internet market. According to a report in the International Herold Tribune, the Burbank, California, firm opened a Hong Kong office last year and has since taken stakes in three Chinese start-ups with a strong presence in Internet broadcasting. China had 137 million Internet users last year, according to the quasi-governmental organization China Internet Network Information Centre, and a large number of those eyeballs are turning to Internet television for programming not offered on local TV.  Last week Steamboat invested alongside Silicon Valley firms Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Sequoia Capital in CTS Media, a Shanghai-based company that inserts advertisements into streaming online video. CTS is the exclusive advertising platform provider to Internet TV provider BestTV. Disney and several other studios reportedly have inked a deal with BestTV to distribute movies through a video-on-demand platform in development. That would be a boon for U.S. studios, which are eager to create a new channel for legal film distribution in China.  Steamboat also put money into video-sharing Web site 56.com in December, and in March it invested with Draper Fisher and Sequoia in UUSee, China’s largest Web TV operator with more than 36 million registered users. Importantly, UUSee is the only peer-to-peer network approved by China, and it distributes programming from state-run CCTV.

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Barry Diller’s IAC Interactive starting new VC firm in Silicon Valley

Media mogul Barry Diller’s IAC Interactive is reported to be starting up a new venture capital fund to invest in internet and Silicon Valley technology companies, according to a report in Mercury News.  Jim Safka, chief executive officer of online dating service Match.com, an IAC subsidiary, will head the fund, which will be called “Primal Ventures and will be located in Palo Alto, California.

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June 1, 2007

California Clean Energy Fund to host conference

Press release:

The California Clean Energy Fund (CalCEF) announced today it will host a full-day conference designed to assess California’s progress in turning clean energy policy initiatives and technology breakthroughs into market realities. Titled “The New Economy of New Energy — California’s Path to a Clean Energy Future,” the conference will take place on Monday, June 18, and consist of sessions comprised of policy, technology and finance experts providing progress reports and detailing specific ways in which public policy and the private market are both working and struggling to bring clean technologies to scale. Keynoting the event will be Dan Reicher, Director of Climate Change and Energy Initiatives at Google.org, and Elon Musk, Chairman of Tesla Motors and Solar City and founder of PayPal. “Because we are on the cutting edge of all aspects of clean energy development, with the eyes of the world upon us, it is key that California’s policy makers, technology innovators and financial backers come together to take a serious look at the progress we are making in reaching our aggressive goals,” said Michael R. Peevey, CalCEF Chairman and California Public Utilities Commission President. “Just as important is taking a hard look at the tough road still ahead and engaging in a frank discussion that tackles the challenges we face. In critically assessing both our progress to date and the road ahead, CalCEF can help ensure that California remains the bellwether in this burgeoning and extremely important market.”

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May 24, 2007

Roth Capital Partners opens office in Shanghai

Roth Capital Partners, LLC announced in a press release that they have received approval to establish a representative office in Shanghai from the China Securities Regulatory Commission.  Gordon McBean, CFA and Director of Research at ROTH, is the company’s appointed Chief Representative for the Shanghai office. “Our new office in Shanghai allows us to provide an even greater level of service to our institutional client base, whose interest in China is growing at a rapid pace,” said Byron Roth, Chairman and CEO of ROTH. “We want to be their source for research on small- and micro-cap Chinese companies.” As part of its China initiative, ROTH conducted a second annual “China Discovery Tour” May 14-20, 2007, during which institutional investors visited with and heard management presentations from 40 companies in five cities, including Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Hong Kong and Macau. In the past two years, ROTH has raised capital for seven Chinese companies and expects that number to grow significantly. “This is a very important step for our China efforts,” said Donald Straszheim, Vice Chairman at ROTH. “The Shanghai office will allow us to more effectively research the small- and micro-cap companies in China. ROTH currently writes research on 13 China-based companies and intends to ramp that number up significantly over the coming months.  Roth Capital Partners is headquartered in Newport Beach, California.

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May 18, 2007

Institutional Venture Partners Closes $600 Million Fund

“Institutional Venture Partners (IVP), one of the nation’s top performing venture capital firms, announced today the closing of IVP XII, a $600 million later-stage venture capital fund. This fund brings the firm’s cumulative committed capital to more than $2.2 billion. IVP XII is the largest fund raised in IVP’s twenty-six year history. The fund will continue IVP’s successful investment strategy of investing in rapidly growing later-stage technology companies in the United States. ‘Our later-stage investment strategy has worked well in both IVP X and IVP XI,” said Todd Chaffee, a general partner of IVP. “Market leading technology companies need more growth capital to stay competitive these days, and our deal flow has never been stronger.’ With IVP XII, the firm will invest in three target sectors: Communications and Wireless, Internet and Digital Media, and Enterprise IT companies. Typical investments will range in size from $10 million to $30 million. In addition, the firm intends to continue its strategy of acting as the lead investor in large venture capital financings above $100 million.”

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May 16, 2007

Golden Gate Capital buying stake in Express Clothing for $548M

“Limited Brands Inc. is selling a majority stake in its Express clothing chain to Golden Gate Capital as it continues to put greater emphasis on its intimate apparel and beauty products businesses. The Columbus, Ohio-based retailer has agreed to sell a 67 percent stake in the 631-store Express chain to an affiliate of San Francisco-based Golden Gate Capital, a private equity firm. The deal is expected to close by July 6. The stake will be sold for $548 million, or about $425 million after taxes, Limited Brands said. Express, which sells casual apparel for men and women, brought in $1.7 billion in sales in 2006, making up nearly 16 percent of Limited Brands’ $10.67 billion in sales.”

Filed under Fashion and Apparel, Venture Capital by

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