NEA boosts ‘venture growth’ team with two hires

Silicon Valley-based New Enterprise Associates has recruited Morgan Stanley's Tony Florence and MPM Capital's Paul Walker to bolster its large-scale investment team.

Silicon Valley venture firm New Enterprise Associates (NEA) has tapped Morgan Stanley managing director Tony Florence and MPM Capital general partner Paul Walker to bolster their ‘venture growth equity’ division.

Florence, who spent 15 years in the investment banking unit at Morgan Stanley, and Walker, who managed MPM’s biotechnology fund, will work under NEA’s Ryan Drant in targeting mature companies with risk profiles similar to traditional venture businesses but that require larger equity investments.

Florence, who started working out of NEA’s Chevy Chase, Maryland office earlier this week, will focus on

Paul Walker

growth-stage information technology investments. Walker, who began at the Menlo Park, California headquarters last week, will concentrate on later-stage opportunities in biotechnology and the life sciences.

NEA’s past venture growth investments include $70 million (€45.4 million) into TeleAtlas, a Nevada-based software developer of digital maps, and $8 million into ESP Pharma, a leading provider of health professional staffing for hospitals.

The additions of Florence and Walker are part of NEA’s steady drive towards staff expansion. Just last month NEA hired venture advisors Jerry Rao and Amit Sharma to assist its Bangalore office, launched in January last year.

NEA currently manages $8.5 billion in committed capital through its offices in Chevy Chase, Baltimore, Menlo Park, Bangalor, Beijing and Shanghai.

The firm has raised the third and fourth largest-ever venture funds, at $2.5 billion and $2.3 billion, respectively, according to the Probitas Partners 2008 Private Equity Handbook.