Deals

Sequoia and Battery raise piles of cash for new funds

Sharpen up those pitches — there’s over a billion dollars worth of newly minted VC funding flowing in the Valley now.

Two of the more respected venture capital firms, Sequoia Capital (arguably top dog in the valley, having invested in Google, Apple and many others) and Battery Ventures, each have disclosed new funds through regulatory filings, with Sequoia raising its largest fund ever.Sequoia has raised $929.5 million for its latest “growth” fund, designated for investments into companies that are more mature than your typical Silicon Valley start-up. The Menlo Park-based company, founded in 1972, has also recently been hiring investment professionals outside of just private investments.

While the firm has been quiet on specifics, the firm confirmed to VentureBeat yesterday that three professionals with background in public investing have been hired (our earlier mention of this here). The firm says it makes sense to say, know what a public web analytics company like Omiture is up to; Sequoia can better decide what sort of analytics start-ups to invest in. This might be the start of a “cross over” strategy, where Sequoia begins a more aggressive strategy of making investments in public companies. But the partner we talked with on background wouldn’t comment specifically on that, and he said the firm doesn’t intend to divert focus from private company investing, so there’s apparently a limit to the “Blackstone-of-Venture- Capital” vision creep speculated about recently.

Sequoia, currently comprised of 88 investors, has had a historic record of picking winners, including investments in Apple in 1978, Google in 1999, and YouTube in 2005. Last week, the company also closed a newly formed $725 million growth fund that will invest in private and public companies in India.

Battery Ventures also closed a $250 million fund, meant to act as a supplement to its $750 million main growth fund. Battery, founded in 1983 and based in Waltham, Mass., currently has 64 investors. The company has invested in companies such as Akamai Technologies, MetroPCS, and Nextel, as well as making targeted acquisitions of technology platform companies such as HighJump. The fund also managed to gain a bit of notoriety after, in 2004, it passed on investing in a small, nascent social networking company called Facebook.