Friday, March 4, 2011

Bessemer Venture Partners Said to Be Raising as Much as $1.5 Billion to Invest in Startups

These guys are very, very smart. And funny classy enough to have some potential*
From Bloomberg:
Bessemer Venture Partners, a century-old investment firm in Larchmont, New York, is aiming to raise as much as $1.5 billion for a fund to back technology startups, said two people familiar with knowledge of the deal.

Bessemer wants to raise $1.2 billion at the low end and will make investments from its U.S., India and Israel offices, according to the people, who declined to be named because the fundraising isn’t public. Bessemer completed its last fund in 2007 and then added to it two years later, raising a total of about $1.35 billion.
The biggest venture capital firms are emerging from a four- year fundraising slump and attracting billions of dollars from investors, enticed by a pickup in initial public offerings. Bessemer owns a 5.1 percent stake in LinkedIn Corp., the business-networking site that filed for an IPO in January. Sequoia Capital and Greylock Partners, two other investors in LinkedIn, also have raised capital.

Calls placed to Bessemer’s headquarters weren’t returned....MORE 
*The "potential" bit is definitely tongue-in-cheek. The Bloomberg story continues:
...Henry Phipps started Bessemer Securities in 1911, after selling Carnegie Steel, the company that he co-founded earlier with Andrew Carnegie....
*We've had a half-dozen posts on Bessemer including one of my all-time favorites, from 2008:

Bessemer Venture Partners Anti-Portfolio
Ya gotta love these guys for putting this on their website:

Bessemer Venture Partners is perhaps the nation's oldest venture capital firm, carrying on an unbroken practice of venture capital investing that stretches back to 1911. This long and storied history has afforded our firm an unparalleled number of opportunities to completely screw up.

Over the course of our history, we did invest in a wig company, a french-fry company, and the Lahaina, Ka'anapali & Pacific Railroad. However, we chose to decline these investments, each of which we had the opportunity to invest in, and each of which later blossomed into a tremendously successful company. ...MORE

Apollo Computer
(acquired by Hewlett Packard)
BVP's Felda Hardymon was offered a small position in the company's last private round, and waved it away: too small a position, he thought, at too high a price. In less than a year it was worth 17x
Check Point
Check Point
In 1994, Gil Schwed pitched his idea to BVP's David Cowan, who said that Gil would never get distribution in the US. The next year, Check Point got a huge Sun OEM deal and sold $25M of firewall software.
"Stamps? Coins? Comic books? You've GOT to be kidding," thought Cowan. "No-brainer pass."
Federal Express
Federal Express
Incredibly, BVP passed on Federal Express seven times....MORE