Accel Partners, Facebook backer, raises new fund

accel-logo.jpgAccel Partners, the Silicon Valley firm that backed Facebook two years ago and expects to make a major profit from that company, has raised a new $520 million fund.

The new fund comes at a time of considerable momentum for the firm. Over the past year, ten of its companies have been bought or gone public each boasting a value of $100 million more.

The cash gives the company fresh “gunpowder” to invest in new companies, now that it is close to finishing investing from its previous fund.

For the past few years, venture capital firms Sequoia and Kleiner Perkins have shared the spotlight as the valley’s most successful, after their investment in Google – which yielded one of the most phenomenal investments ever. However, with its past year’s results, plus its investment in Facebook, Accel shows that it ranks as a top-tier player.

The new fund is Accel’s tenth, and follows a $400 million fund it had raised in 2004. That fund, which includes Facebook,

efrusy.jpgThe new fund includes new partners such as Richard Wong, who is focused on mobile investments, and Andrew Braccia, focused on Internet companies. Kevin Efrusy (left top), who is credited with having sourced Accel’s investment in Facebook, is also a full partner, having been promoted two years ago. He has continued to manage that investment along with partner Jim Breyer (left bottom), who made a personal investment alongside the firm’s investment.

breyer.jpgThe firm’s four IPO companies are Riverbed, Comscore, MetroPCS and Infinera. MetroPCS, which provides mobile phone services, was the largest U.S. technology IPO in this year, raising $1.15 billion. Accel shows how patience can pay off. It was the investor in the first round of financing for each of these companies, meaning that it invested at when the private value of the companies were low, and so generally got a large ownership stake in the companies. In the case of MetroPCS, it backed the company for 12 years, sticking with it even during the bleak years of 2002 and 2003 when many other venture groups pulled out or shut down.

Accel’s companies that got acquired are Airgo, Brassring, Reactivity, Acopia, Xensource, and Zimbra.