Venture capital funds raised $55bn in 2001

200 new funds were launched in the year, 23 of which were dedicated to investment in the life science sector.

200 new venture capital funds totalling $55bn were launched in 2001 worldwide, according to a new industry report.

Fifteen of the total, which does not include corporate funds, closed on $1bn or more, said US firm Venturewire Research.

The figures are less than those recorded for 2000, when 250 funds raised a total of $70bn, but according to Venturewire, while 2001 was a difficult year for investing in private companies, major limited partners remained committed to the long term nature of venture capital. “For top tier companies especially, capital continued to be available,” said a spokesperson for the group.

Apax Partners announced the largest fund, with $4bn for Apax V. The list of US firms that closed funds around the $1bn mark includes early stage firms Austin Ventures, Charles River Ventures, Greylock Management and US Venture Partners.

The life sciences sector attracted the greatest interest. 23 funds dedicated solely to biotechnology, medical devices, healthcare and related technologies were launched. Prospect Venture Partners topped the list with a $500m fund. Domain Associates, Oxford Bioscience Partners, and Versant Ventures also closed funds of at least $400m.