Greylock: $1 billion more and new fund for "winner's circle"

Venture capital firm Greylock Partners said today it would expand an early-stage fund to $1 billion and start a growth fund to usher in the next phase of its investment strategy.

The new funds show that while angel investors like Chris Sacca and Mike Maples have managed to take on impressive stakes by betting on startups like Twitter when they’re still quite young, the conventional venture-capital model as practiced by Greylock and a few other elite firms is still going strong.

While venture-capital fundraising last year was at a record low since 2003, according to the National Venture Capital Association and Thomson Reuters, several firms have been surging forward to raise large funds. Accel is in the process of raising $2 billion for four different funds in the U.S. and China. Sequoia Capital recently raised $1.3 billion for investments in Silicon Valley and Chinese companies. In November, Andreesen Horowitz confirmed they had raised a $650 million fund.

The firm said the expansion capital for its early-stage fund, Greylock XIII, was raised from existing limited partners and was oversubscribed. The company initially closed $575 million for the fund in November 2009. So far, that fund has backed startups like Airbnb, One Kings Lane, Pure Storage, Rally Software and Shopkick.

The new growth fund, Greylock Growth, is the next phase of the company’s plans to executive a later-stage investment strategy, and it has been working particularly hard to mastermind social web opportunities. Since Greylock’s initial Facebook investment in early 2006, approximately 40 percent of the firm’s dollars have gone toward later stage companies, the firm said. The growth fund will be focused on later-stage financings in “breakout consumer Internet and enterprise companies,” and will invest $25 million to $200 million at a time.

The company’s growth investments will be aimed as helping companies “in the ‘winner’s circle’ maintain their dominant positions while they continue to grow and expand,” says partner David Sze, who’s leading the growth initiative.

In addition to the Facebook investment, Greylock owns 15.8 percent of LinkedIn and backs Groupon, Redfin, Constant Contact, Pandora and Zipcar (the latter two are filing to go public). The firm also recently brought on new partner Frank Slootman, former CEO of enterprise-storage provider Data Domain that saw a handsome $2.1 billion exit. Slootman was brought on board in part to offer his operational experience to advise to hot enterprise companies who, due to oversubscribed rounds, have needed to become more selective about which venture capital firms they partner with.

Since Greylock’s initial Facebook investment in early 2006, approximately 40% of the firm’s dollars have gone toward later stage companies. This portfolio includes companies such as Constant Contact, Groupon, Pandora, Redfin and Zipcar. Pandora and Zipcar have both filed to go public.

The company also has completed 20 seed-stage investments since its discovery fund was launched in September, with $25,000 to $500,000 investments.

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