InterWest Partners raises $600m

The Menlo Park, California-based IT and life sciences early-stage investor has announced the launch of its ninth fund, which closed in less than two months.

Menlo Park, California-based venture capital firm InterWest Partners has announced the close of its ninth fund on $600 million (€489 million).

InterWest, which also has an office in Dallas, invests in early-stage companies in both the life sciences and information technology sectors. The firm invests an average of about $10 million to $15 million over the course of the firm’s involvement in each portfolio company.

The fundraising for InterWest’s Fund IX took less than two months. General partner Tom Rosch said the firm announced its intention to raise a new fund at its annual meeting in mid-April and was overwhelmed by the response it got from its investors. As a result, InterWest started fundraising in earnest in June and finished in early August.

Rosch said approximately 85 percent to 90 percent of the new fund’s LPs were return investors, and virtually all of them are US-based. The fund’s investors comprise pension funds, endowments/foundations and funds of funds, including HarbourVest Partners.

InterWest’s previous fund closed on $750 million back in 2000. The firm currently has more than $1.6 billion in total capital committed, and plans to start investing from the new fund early next year.

Since it founding in 1979, InterWest has invested in more then 230 companies, including CIENA, Silicon Graphics, Spinal Dynamics and Copper Mountain Networks. The firm began as a diversified venture investor, at one point participating in middle-market buyouts, before adopting its current 50/50 focus on IT and life sciences with the close of its fifth fund in 1993. InterWest is run by consensus by its 10 investing partners.

In June, the firm sold its stake in Epicor, a maker of devices to treat irregular heartbeats, to St. Jude for $185 million in cash. In May last year, St. Jude had already paid $15 million to buy a minority stake in the company, which was started by InterWest general partner Michael Sweeney.