North Bridge Venture Partners, a Waltham, Mass. venture capital firm that invests in early stage companies, has opened an office in San Mateo, Calif.

The news was first reported today at VentureWire, which mentioned the NorthBridge raised its latest fund, its sixth, in 2005, and that it may be raising a later stage fund too.

People say that the venture industry has gone global, and that Silicon Valley is no longer special. However, moves like this one suggest the valley is still as crucial a place as any to have presence.

We haven’t been able to talk with North Bridge yet, but its performance to date hasn’t stood out. On funds raised in 1999 and 2000, it has seen an internal rate of return of negative 10 percent and negative 7 percent, respectively, according to the most recent data from CalPERS. It is too early to tell how its 2005 fund is shaping up.