Mobius returns $250M from Fund VI

The Japanese venture firm has announced the second cutback from one of its VC funds, the fifteenth reduction of its kind since the beginning of 2002.

( The epidemic of venture fund givebacks shows no sign of abating. California-based Mobius Venture Capital is the latest firm to retrench, having reduced the size of its $1.5bn sixth fund by $250m, or approximately 17 per cent, according to VentureWire.


VentureWire also reported Mobius managing director Carl Rosendahl has left the firm. Mobius now lists five managing directors and two executive managing directors.


Mobius Venture Capital, originally named Softbank Venture Capital, was launched as the venture capital arm of the Japanese software giant in 1996 by Gary Rieschel, Ron Fisher, and Softbank Corp’s founder Masayoshi Son.


In December 2001, Softbank Venture Capital announced it was changing its name to Mobius Venture Capital.


In September of that year, Softbank Corp announced that Softbank Europe Ventures returned $200m to its limited partners, including $150m to Softbank, as it decided to consolidate its venture investing. In 2001 the fund also closed offices in Paris and Munich and merged its activities in continental Europe with the UK operation.


Softbank’s Europe Ventures operation was first announced in March 2000, when the Japanese bank announced two separate European funds worth a total of $1bn. Softbank Europe Ventures was originally a $550m fund focused on internet start-ups in continental Europe. The remaining $450m was dedicated to Softbank UK Ventures, to be invested specifically in nascent ventures and wireless start-up ventures in the UK. Vivendi and News International were among investors in the funds.


Mobius focuses primarily on the communications, infrastructure, professional services, enterprise applications, emerging technologies, components and healthcare informatics sectors. The firm is generally the lead investor and looks to own a sizeable piece of the company post-financing (20 per cent is its minimum). It typically invests $2m to $5m in early-stage deals and as much as $50m to $100m or more in later-stage deals.


The size of Mobius’ giveback is in line with those undertaken by at least 15 major US venture capital firms during 2002.


Last month, Atlas Venture announced it would close two offices, cut three European senior principals, and shave another $250m off its most recent fund, Atlas Venture VI.


In June, Walden International cut its $1bn Pacven Walden Ventures V fund back by $250; Worldview Technology Partners cut its $1bn Worldview Technology Partners IV fund back by $250m; Meritech, which cut its $985m Fund II by 25 per cent to $739m; and Texas-based Austin Ventures cut its $1.5bn eighth fund nearly in half to $830m.


In May, Charles River Ventures slashed its $1.2bn Fund XI by 63 per cent to $450m, and Accel Partners confirmed it was reducing the size of its $1.4bn fund VIII by 32 per cent to $950m after investors balked at the firm’s decision to cut fund VIII in half but keep the remaining $700m for a future fund.


In addition, at least five venture capital firms – Meritech Capital Partners, OVP Venture Partners, Battery Ventures, TA Associates, and Spectrum Equity Investors – in as many months have voluntarily waived management fees on funds they control in order to offset potential clawbacks.