US Venture Partners raises $625m

The technology and healthcare specialist has also participated in a $13m financing round for myYearbook.com, a teen social networking website.

US Venture Partners (USVP) has closed its 10th fund on $625 million (€402 million) in three months, topping its initial target by $25 million.

Founded in 1981, the Silicon Valley-based firm specialises in early-stage technology and healthcare investments. Chairman Bill Bowes was the founding shareholder of pharmaceutical giant Amgen before starting USVP.

The firm’s ninth fund closed on $600 million in 2004.

“It [the tenth fund] will be different in terms of sector allocation. There will be approximately 55 percent in information technology, 30 percent in life sciences/health care technologies, and 15 percent in cleantech,” Jonathan Root, USVP general partner, told PEO. 

Past USVP portfolio highlights include software developer Sun Microsystems and pet product retailer PETsMART.

However, according to a report in venture capital blog VentureBeat, the firm’s eighth fund, closed in 2002, has an internal rate of return of negative 2.5 percent as of December 2007.

Asked if the fund's eighth performance had hindered fundraising, Root said it hadn't because many of the fund's investments were still maturing.

Today, the firm also disclosed its participation in a $13 million Series B financing round for myYearbook.com, a teen social networking startup. USVP was joined by First Round Capital and Norwest Venture Partners in the investment. USVP and First Round had participated in myYearbook’s $4.1 million Series A fundraising round last year.

To date, myYearbook has raised $18.6 million in funding, the company said. Founder by brother-and-sister teens Dave and Catherine Cook, the website has grown from focusing on a single high school to hosting more than 10 million unique visitors per month.

Social networking sites like myYearbook have been hot investment targets for venture capital firms in recent months.

Startups like LinkedIn, SodaHead, Twitter and I’m In Like With You have generated large financing rounds and received eye-catching valuations. Bain Capital Ventures valued professional networking site LinkedIn at $1 billion.

Beyond myYearbook, USVP currently owns stakes in social networking startups Pizco and Yoomba.