True Ventures looks to raise $295M for its fifth fund

Steven Loeb · March 25, 2016 · Short URL:

The early-stage firm has invested in Fitbit, BrightRoll, Namely, MakerBot and Blue Bottle Coffee

For all the talk of the down market, one aspect that so far does not seem to be affected are VC looking to raise funds, as a number of firms have all taken big money from their investors.

Now True Ventures is getting in on the action, and is looking to raise $295 million for its fifth fund, called True Ventures V, according to a filing with the SEC this week.

So far none of that has been raised, but if the firm were to raise that much it would be its biggest fund yet, just beating out the $290 million it raised for True Ventures IV in 2014. The firm currently has $1 billion under management. 

Founded in 2006, True Ventures invests in early-stage technology startups, and has invested in companies that include 3D Robotics, Blue Bottle Coffee, Namely,, Brightroll, Madison Reed, Stitch Labs, MoviePass, Kiip, MakerBot, Gigaom, PayNearMe, Goodreads and Meebo.

It's most successful investment has been in Fitbit, which went public last year.

When I spoke to Tony Conrad, Partner at True Ventures earlier this year, this is how he described the thesis at True Ventures to me:

"When I look at what we do at True, we have a very consistent thesis, we want to be the first institutional investor in the company because that allows us to maximize the amount of risk we take, but also maximize the opportunity for us. We are ownership sensitive, 20% is our goal," he said.

"Being the first institutional investor puts us in a position where we can be supportive of the founder, or the founding team, around the DNA of the company. Because we’re there first, we’re part of and understand the nuances of a specific culture and it puts us in a better position to help a founder protect, preserve, and accentuate that DNA."

True Ventures initially invests between $750,000 to $2 million initially, with a lifetime commitment of $7.5 million to $10 million per company, on average, though it has invested up to $20 million in certain companies. 

Last year was the best year for VC fundraising since 2006. 

There was $35.5 billion in total capital committed to VC funds in 2015, the second-highest total of the decade, surpassed only by the $36.4 billion raised in 2006. It was also a 4.7 percent increase from the $33.9 billion raised in 2014.

At the same time, though, the number of funds raised actually dropped 6 percent year-to-year to 242 from 258 in 2014. The most popular-sized fund raised was under $50 million funds, with 124, or more than 50 of the fund. Those small funds raised $1.2 billion, or 3.3 percent of percent of dollar volume.

Even though 2016 is supposed to be a down year for the venture capital market, there have already been a slew of VC fundraisings that seem to be keeping the pace.

General Catalyst raised an $845 million fund, and Battery Ventures was able to raise $950 million, in February, and, earlier this month, Lightspeed Venture Partners raised $1.2 billion across two funds.

The biggest so far has been Accel Partners, which raised $2 billion across two funds this month. That number is not far off from the record VC fundraising, which is $2.8 billion, raising by New Enterprise Associates for its fifteenth fund last year. 

VatorNews has reached out to True Ventures for more information about its new fund. We will update this story if we learn more. 

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True Ventures

Angel group/VC

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True is a venture firm for early stage entrepreneurs. Founders of high growth companies deserve partners with experience, creativity and strength in the earliest days of company growth. Our team has directly founded over half a dozen startups and has over forty years of successful venture capital experience. We like to put that experience to work for our entrepreneurs.

Tony Conrad

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Founder & Sphere; Partner True Ventures; Investor WordPress; MakerBot; Blue Bottle; Typekit; High Fidelity; KISSmetrics; August; Samovar; Central Kitchen; Flour + Water; Salumeria; Trick Dog

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