Javelin Venture Partners, a San Francisco-based, early-stage venture firm founded in 2008, has closed its fourth fund with $125 million, which is the same size as its third fund, closed exactly three years ago.
The firm has also promoted principal-turned-partner Alex Gurevich to managing director.
To date, Javelin has invested $350 million across 65 companies. That it hasn’t enjoyed a home run “exit” yet underscores how times have changed, with fund investors — known as limited partners — willing to wait for their cash returns because, frankly, they don’t have much choice; the game has changed.
“Companies are able to stay private longer, it’s a fact of life,” says Javelin co-founder and managing director Jed Katz.
Javelin’s limited partners, made up mostly of family offices, understand that shift, Katz says, adding, “We’re always in close touch with them about our portfolio companies and who the great companies are.”
Presumably, one of those companies is the home services marketplace Thumbtack, which has now raised roughly $270 million from investors (according to CrunchBase). When it raised its most recent round, a Series E, roughly a year ago, its post-money valuation was reported to be $1.3 billion. Javelin led its $4.5 million Series A round.
Javelin also led the Series A rounds of the online education platform MasterClass (which has now raised $21.4 million altogether), the enterprise storage startup Nexenta (it has raised roughly $114 million altogether), and the financial analytics startup SmartAsset (it has raised $22.5 million altogether), among many others.
In the meantime, like a lot of firms, Javelin has seen several small and mid-size portfolio companies get snapped up, including 3Scale, an API management tech startup that was acquired by Red Hat; PowerCloud, a broadband monitoring startup that was acquired by Comcast; and Scout Labs, a company that helped brands track what was said about them on social media and sold to Lithium Technologies.
Javelin came together when Noah Doyle, and Jed Katz — friends who graduated together from UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business in 1996 — came together to start the firm. Doyle previously co-founded the loyalty network startup MyPoints, acquired by United Online for $112 million in 2001. He later joined the geospatial startup Keyhole, acquired by Google for an undisclosed price in 2004, and stayed at Google three more years before leaving the company to consult with and invest in startups. (Doyle was also an early investor in Keyhole.)
Katz, meanwhile, co-founded the online rental and relocation service Rent Net, which was acquired for an undisclosed amount that Katz has called “a success for me. I was dirt broke, and then wasn’t.”
Katz later formed Move.com, another rental and relocation site that sold to Homestore.com in a stock deal valued at $960 million in 2001. After taking some time off, Katz became COO of the company behind the of popular consumer astronomy device SkyScout, then joined DFJ Gotham. Then it was on to Javelin.
Gurevich has also been both a founder and VC. Before joining Javelin, he was a principal with DFJ Aurora, where he helped establish one of the first venture capital funds focused on high-tech investments in Russia and Eastern Europe. He also co-founded a now-shuttered dating site.
Unlike many firms of its size, Javelin isn’t thesis driven, and it’s not a specialist. “Instead of sector, we tend to focus on the entrepreneur, the opportunity, the market size and the capital efficiency,” says Katz, explaining that what the firm does want to know is whether the founders are “building something with strategic value on top of their revenue stream.”
Entrepreneurs, he adds, “constantly surprise us with things we’ve never thought about.”