HarbourVest backs Nomura venture spin-out

Phase4 Ventures, the venture capital arm of Nomura, has become an independent firm that will begin fundraising in the next 12 months.

Phase4 Ventures, a venture capital arm of global investment bank Nomura, has spun out from its parent with financing provided by HarbourVest Partners. The fund of funds group “acquired a significant portion of Phase4’s assets under management”, said a spokesperson for the venture capital firm. 

Phase4 declined comment on further financial details and HarbourVest could not be reached for comment by press time. 

London-based Phase4, which currently has 12 companies in its portfolio, targets development stage life science companies in the US and Europe. The group aims for deal sizes between $15 million to $30 million. 

Sometime in the next twelve months the venture capital group will begin marketing its next fund, said the spokesperson, adding Phase4 will retain full autonomy in its fund management decision-making. Details were not provided on the fund’s target size. 

The management team of Phase4 first contemplated a spin-out in 2008, said Denise Pollard-Knight, a managing partner at the group. “The bank’s desire to focus more on equities, fixed income and investment banking and willingness to accept an attractive offer for our portfolio” gave the green light to explore options, said Pollard-Knight. 

The team, which historically scouted a larger share of its deals in the US, will begin giving greater attention to European opportunities, added Pollard-Knight.

Phase4 is the second spinout HarbourVest has financed in as little as five weeks. Last month the group partnered equally with German publishing group Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck to spin out the latter's 12-year-old captive venture arm, Holtzbrinck Ventures.