Here are the latest ups and downs of Silicon Valley’s venture capital/investor community:
Mayfield Fund — The well-known Silicon Valley venture firm with a good pedigree, but a rocky recent past, is on the upswing in China. Tomorrow (Friday), it announced its own China fund, merging with Chinese firm GSR Ventures with a new $200 million fund. Mayfield partner Kevin Fong (pictured here) is a full managing partner of the fund. Mayfield was earlier an investor in GSR’s first fund, which in turn has made 11 investments into Chinese companies. It is early staged focused, unlike….
Sequoia Capital — The big-name venture firm is already out raising another fund for investments in Chinese companies, VentureBeat has learned, having made lots of investments in things like hotels.
Garnett & Helfrich — This
is was the hot-shot San Mateo, Calif. private equity firm run by the energetic and enthusiastic Terry Garnett, along with his partner David Helfrich. They raised a first fund of $250 million in 2004 and did so well investing that that they raised another $100 million in 2005, and then started raising another $750 million fund in November. They expanded to India, driven by their partner, Mark Barrenechea, who had run Computer Associates and Oracle operations there. But then something happened. Turns out, Barrenechea has left, according to PE Week’s Dan Primack. This comes after it recently lost director Mike Guthrie, and Betty Hung, who had been hired just six months earlier as vice president of portfolio company operations. G&H has even removed the “Team” page from its website. A spokeswomen told VentureBeat the firm has no comment.
In-Q-Tel — This is the venture firm of the CIA, and it has seen its fair share of defectors, too — in part because of frustration about its diluted mandate. It has too many masters. Lately, it has been forced to answer to other intelligence agencies, beyond the CIA. Ben Choi, an associate at the firm, is just the latest to leave, turning his coat to the private sector. Last fall, he did a stint as VP of strategy at ad company Greystripe (which we’ll write more about soon), and is now an associate at valley venture capital firm, Storm Ventures. Finally, we’ve found a photo of him on the Web (pictured here).
Alsop Louie — Speaking of In-Q-Tel defectors, Gilman Louie, the guy who used to run it, left last year to join venture capitalist Stewart Alsop to invest through a new firm, Alsop Louie Partners. They’ve finally finished raising their fund. They’ve made their first investments: in Mountain View’s Duality, Chicago’s Cleversafe and San Francisco’s Active Athlete.
Related, but separate — The CIA infiltrates social networking company, Facebook. ;)
Leapfrog Ventures — Is croaking, not leaping. After Leapfrog investor Peter Rip left to join San Francisco firm Crosslink Capital, the firm downsized from $100 million to $65 million, and agreed to make a couple more investments, before winding down. [Correction: It appears our sources (two people) presented us with one side of the story. One of the two remaining partners, Pete Sinclair, tells VentureBeat he has an option of keeping the fund at $100M if he finds another partner by March
2007 2008, and that he has no intention of winding down!]
Founders Fund — More details on the politics social networking site, Philotic, the first investment by Founders Fund partner, Sean Parker, of Napster/Plaxo/Facebook fame.