NEA Raising $2.5 Billion For What Could Become The Largest VC Fund In History

Whether it’s revenue, users, funding, whatever — nowadays in tech, it seems like the numbers just keep getting bigger.

The latest example of this: New Enterprise Associates, the global venture capital firm with headquarters in Silicon Valley, is in the process of raising $2.56 billion for its 14th fund, “NEA 14,” according to regulatory documents filed today with the Securities and Exchange Commission. NEA has already closed on nearly $2.1 billion for the fund, and $487 million of the offering remains to be sold, the filing said.

If NEA closes on the full amount, it will have raised one of the largest — if not the largest — venture capital funds in history. As of now that title goes to Oak Investment Partners, which raised $2.56 billion in its twelfth fund back in 2006.

Documents about the NEA 14 fund were first filed in March; at that time, however, the maximum offering amount was slated at $2.3 billion. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the size increase to $2.56 billion was due to “strong investor demand” — which seems pretty apparent. Fortune is reporting that NEA 14 will likely close in July, citing sources close to the situation. I’ve reached out for more comment from NEA, but with all the regulations around what firms can say while they’re still in the middle of a fundraising process, they’re understandably being a bit tight-lipped.

This is some big money, but it’s not out of character for the 34-year-old NEA. For its previous fund, NEA 13, which was raised back in 2009, the firm closed on $2.45 billion.

It all plays into a larger trend in venture capital, where the total number of firms in the game are shrinking but the ones on top are getting bigger and more powerful than ever. According to a report released recently by the National Venture Capital Association, the top five VC funds accounted for nearly 75 percent of total fundraising during the first quarter of 2012, while the amount of funds raising money fell to the lowest levels seen in more than two years. In a report about the VC industry released last month, Dow Jones VentureWire editor Zoran Basich put it like this: “A few big firms continue to have no trouble raising large funds, as limited partners are sticking with what they see as safe bets when making their venture allocations.”