Foundry Group just closed its sixth fund with a record $500 million

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Foundry Group, the 10-year-old, Boulder, Colorado-based early-stage venture firm, announced this morning that it has closed its sixth fund, Foundry Group Next, with $500 million.

It comes hot on the heels of the firm’s fifth fund, which closed last summer with $225 million.

The firm’s fourth fund, called Foundry Group Select, closed with exactly the same amount in 2013 ($225 million) but Foundry had been using it as a so-called opportunity fund, meaning the capital was funneled exclusively to break-out companies in Foundry’s portfolio.

Which brings us back to Foundry’s newest fund. Though it’s the largest pool for Foundry to date, there’s a reason for that beyond the current go-go funding environment. This time, Foundry is combining two separate efforts into one.

Its newest fund won’t back early-stage companies, per its historic focus. Those investments will come from the fund it closed last summer.

It will also be used to support the firm’s follow-on investments — essentially taking the place of a new and separate opportunity fund — and it will fund growth-stage investments outside of Foundry (a new twist).

Last, 25 percent of the fund will be used to invest in other venture capital funds. This is also a new initiative by Foundry.

Firm cofounder Brad Feld elaborated on the firm’s latest strategies in a blog post published this morning, saying the firm’s decision to invest in outside venture firms, as well as in some of the those firms’ maturing companies (that Foundry may have itself missed), stems from team’s personal investments in other early stage venture funds.

It decided to formalize that investing activity by last year hiring Lindel Eakman, who’d previously spent 13 years with the University of Texas Investment Management Company (or UTIMCO), which was Foundry Group’s largest investor.

In addition to Feld, Foundry Group’s co-founding partners include Seth Levine, Ryan McIntyre and Jason Mendelson.

Some of Foundry’s newest bets include Beeswax, a two-year-old, New York-based startup that offers what it calls a bidder-as-a-service — a set of customizable technologies that allows customers to participate in real-time bidding for ad inventory. It raised $11 million in Series A funding earlier this month led by Foundry and RRE Ventures. Another recent investment is FullContact, a six-year-old, Denver-based connected contact management platform for professionals and enterprises that raised $25 million in fresh funding in August led by Foundry.

Some of the firm’s most recent exits include: Fitbit, the wearable device maker that went public last year; Gnip, a social data startup that sold to Twitter in 2014 for $134 million after raising less than $7 million from investors; and DataHero, a startup with an easy-to-use data visualization service that was acquired by another startup, Cloudability, earlier this year. DataHero had raised $10 million from investors. Terms of its acquisition were not disclosed.

Update: The original version of this post wrongly reported that Foundry would also be backing early-stage companies from its newest fund when it will not. Apologies for the mix-up!