Felicis Ventures, the firm created by early Googler (and VentureBeat investor) Aydin Senkut, just announced that it has raised $40 million. It’s the firm’s first institutional fund.
Felicis says it will continue to focus on early-stage mobile and Internet investments. Senkut has invested in more than 60 startups, and 15 of them have already been acquired. Purchased companies include personal finance startup Mint.com (acquired by Intuit), semantic search startup Powerset (acquired by Microsoft), and mobile gaming startup Tapulous (acquired by Disney).
The Palo Alto, Calif. firm describes this as a “super angel” fund, and the fund was first revealed in a Wall Street Journal article about the super angel trend — namely, the rise of angel investors who form an “unofficial upper class” thanks to their cachet and ability to attract other investors. The article highlights how, as Redpoint Ventures‘ Geoff Yang puts it, venture capitalists are still trying to figure out whether these investors are friend or foe.
These super angels are raising bigger funds, too, with Felicis following the $20 million fund raised by Ron Conway’s SV Angel, the $8.5 million fund raised by Chris Sacca’s Lowercase Capital, and the $30 million fund currently being raised by Dave McClure’s 500 Startups.
Felicis backers include institutional investors Flag Capital and Weathergage Capital, and individual investors Peter Thiel (PayPal cofounder), Joshua Schachter (Delicious founder), and Paul Buchheit (Gmail creator and FriendFeed cofounder). The firm is also creating a Founders Advisory Board for its portfolio companies, with Schachter and Buchheit as the board’s first two members.
“With this new fund, we plan to expand our reach in two ways: fast growing horizontal markets such as mobile applications and e-commerce in addition to Internet and mobile companies in four verticals –- education, healthcare, personalized medicine and energy conservation,” Senkut said in a press release.