Veteran VC firm Charles River Ventures is announcing its 15th fund today, increasing its fund size from $325 million in its last raise to $375 million in its latest “heavily oversubscribed” round.
Charles River Ventures partner George Zachary tells me that the firm, which has 42 years of investment behind it, is looking to go in early and at a high percentage in “change the world” companies. It eschews fancy later stage grandstanding in favor of the undervalued treasure.
Putting its money where its mouth is, CRV was the original investor in Twitter and the lead investor in Yammer, Millennial Media, Zendesk and Udacity. Current portfolio companies with promise include the aforementioned as well as Hubspot, iControl and Orchestra.
The fund has recently seen over $2.6 billion in IPO market cap from its exits for RPX Corporation, Broadsoft and The Active Network (Millennial Media plans to go public by the end of this year). It recently sold BNI Video to Cisco and Vlingo to Nuance Communications, Inc..
The modest firm has the distinction of being the first VC to get into early stage seed investing through its Quick Start program, “We pioneered and successfully delivered on the “venture seed investor” model since 2006,” Zachary tells me, “We were the first and now most other firms have attempted to clone our program when they mocked it.”
“We are a partnership of equals (in every way) where founders can easily talk with and tap each and every partner’s relationships and networks,” Zachary tells me, “Zero politics to bring founders fast answers and introductions.”
The raise is impressive in and of itself in this fiscal climate, as many in VC are finding that the gap between “haves and have nots” and the distance between the first tier firms and everyone else is increasing. According to Dan Primack, the fund was aiming for a $300 million target, and exceeded that in a little under two months.