Bessemer closing in on new $1.5 billion fund?

Ronny Kerr · March 4, 2011 · Short URL:

After Greylock Partners and Summit Partners, LinkedIn investor raising giant fund

Bessemer Venture Partners, a New York-based investment firm, is raising between $1.2 and $1.5 billion for a new technology startup fund, according to two unnamed persons close to the deal.

The firm has not yet commented on the report.

First completed in 2007 and expanded in 2009, Bessemer’s last fund raised $1.35 billion in total.

Here are three startups that have raised money from Bessemer this year:
  • Mobile advertising platform Millennial Media raised a $27.5 million round from Bessemer Venture Partners, Columbia Capital, Charles River Ventures and New Enterprise Associates (NEA).
  • Flat World Knowledge, a provider of online and open-source textbooks, secured $15 million in Series B funding led by Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments (BDMI) and Bessemer Venture Partners.
  • Cirtas Systems, a company making cloud storage work like onsite enterprise storage arrays, closed a $22.5 million Series B funding round led by Shasta Ventures and Bessemer Venture Partners. Around the same time, Bessemer “Entrepreneur in Residence” Gary Messiana replaced Dan Decasper as Cirtas’ chief executive.
All of the above funding rounds took place in January.

Some of Bessemer’s more impressive technology exits include Skype (acquired by eBay in 2005 for $2.5 billion), Gracenote (acquired by Sony in 2008 for $260 million) and Playdom (acquired by Disney last year for up to $763 million). The firm is about to get another big exit with LinkedIn, which filed for its initial public offering at the end of January. Bessemer owns a 5.1 percent stake in LinkedIn.

It’s been a big week for new startup funds.

Today’s report comes just a few days after another VC giant, Greylock Partners, announced that it has increased the size of its current fund, Greylock XIII, to $1 billion. Originally, the fund had closed at $575 million in November 2009. The firm, which invests in businesses at all stages of growth, has most recently added 1000memories, One Kings Lane and Groupon to its portfolio.

Besides Bessemer and Greylock, Boston-based private equity firm Summit Partners is also reportedly raising new money--$500 million in venture capital and $3 billion in growth equity.

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