Early Stage Investor Artiman Ventures Raises $350 Million

Artiman Ventures, the early stage investment firm focused on what it calls “white space” investments, which create or challenge billion-dollar industries, has raised $350 million in two funds, TechCrunch has learned.

The firm’s latest haul from limited partners is divided into its main early stage fund (now on the firm’s fourth), which raised $200 million, and a roughly $150 million captive growth fund, according to people familiar with the firm’s financing.

Artiman’s portfolio runs the gamut from environmental technologies like Nutrinsic, a Colorado-based company formerly known as Oberon FMR, which just raised $12.7 million for its technology extracting high quality proteins from industrial food and agricultural waste streams.

There are also material sciences companies like Adama Materials, which uses proprietary technologies to improve the strength and durability of composites; to payment technology company Yantra Services.

The Palo Alto, Calif.-based firm has a unique approach to investment, where it looks to back companies that it develops internally, along with spinouts from university research across the country and the occasional referral from its network of entrepreneurs and investors. Artiman also invests for the long term. The firm holds its companies for longer periods, because it’s typically taking big swings on technologies that are being applied to new markets, or in novel ways to disrupt existing markets.

As the firm says on its website, “All our partners are hard science geeks, with advanced degrees in science & technology. We love the complexity of discovery & the challenge of execution.” I’m not sure what other firm would back Aditazz , a startup applying principles of chip design to the construction of healthcare facilities and the overall built environment.

Its techniques seem to be working, with follow-on financing rounds for companies like Crossbar, which began as a research project at the University of Michigan and recently raised $25 million for its scalable, 3D, low cost mass storage technology. Other portfolio companies, like the life sciences drug discovery company Cellworks Group, are also progressing nicely. That company, which recently signed a deal with AstraZeneca to work on developing a treatment for drug resistant tuberculosis is taking a big data approach to drug discovery and repurposing previously approved medicinal compounds for novel therapies.

Sectors the firm will back range from life sciences technologies, to new manufacturing technologies, to enterprise software and environmental and energy-related technologies. Although it pursues disparate technologies, the firm has no set allocation among its investment areas. Rather, each investment is opportunistic and weighed on its own merit, according to people with knowledge of the firm.