Lightspeed raises $800m for Fund VIII

The oversubscribed fund will deploy ‘substantial capital in China, India and Israel’ while maintaining the firm’s US focus.

Lightspeed Venture Partners has closed its eighth fund on $800 million (€517 million), surpassing its $675 million target by more than 18 percent. The newly closed fund brings the firm’s committed capital to north of $2 billion.

Fund VIII will place emphasis on early-stage US investments while leveraging the firm’s dedicated teams in Israel, China and India. Lightspeed put Israel and China teams in place in 2006 with India being added more recently.

“While we expect the majority of Lightspeed VIII portfolio companies to be headquartered in the US, Lightspeed investment professionals have been investing internationally for 10 years, and we expect to deploy substantial capital in China, India and Israel,” Lightspeed managing director Peter Nieh said in a statement.

US and Israeli investments will primarily focus on seed and early-stage investments in information technology and cleantech. In China and India, Lightspeed will make early-stage technology investments as well as growth-stage investments in diverse product and service businesses.

Lightspeed expects to make more than 50 investments out of Fund VIII, managing director Chris Schaepe told PEO. The vehicle will invest $10 million to $20 million over the life of early-stage companies and as much as $30 million-plus in growth-stage companies. The firm expects the fund to make its first investment before the end of the current quarter.

The fund was raised without the use of a placement agent in less than three months, said Schaepe adding that returning limited partners comprise most of the investor base. LPs include the Pennsylvania State Employees’ Retirement System, which made public an investment of $15 million earlier this month.

Lightspeed’s most recent publicly announced investments have all been US-based and include social gaming application development company Friends for Sale, computing company ScaleMP and computing device company Pliant Technology.

The Menlo Park-based venture firm closed its previous fund on $475 million in early 2006, surpassing that fund’s target of $400 million.

Formerly known as Weiss, Peck & Greer Partners, Lightspeed was renamed in October 2000 when it became an independent entity following the sale of Weiss, Peck & Greer to Rabobank.