Venrock, the 47-year-old venture firm that started as the venture arm of the Rockefeller family, has closed its eighth fund with $450 million, which longtime partner Bryan Roberts calls “not too big and not too small, but just about right” in a new blog post.
Certainly, it’s an amount that the partnership, spread across offices in Palo Alto, New York City, and Cambridge, Ma., is familiar with investing. The firm closed on exactly the same amount for its seventh fund, closed in July 2014.
We emailed earlier today with another of the firm’s seven partners — David Pakman — to get a bit more color.
TC: Any staffing changes leading into this new fund? Is there anyone who was part of your seventh fund who won’t be actively managing fund eight?
DP: The team is largely the same, with a few recently added non-partners last year [including Racquel Bracken, a VP who focuses on pharmaceutical and biotech investments; Isaac Madan, a bioinformatics specialist; and Alon Bonder, a VP whose focus is split among consumer and enterprise deals]. We’re always working to bring talented people into the firm, build our bench and grow new talent.
TC: What have been the firm’s biggest “exits” over the last 12 to 18 months?
DP: Dollar Shave Club was acquired by Unilever for $1 billion [last summer], Receptos [a publicly traded maker of autoimmune drugs] sold to the cancer drug company Celgene for $7.2 billion [in July 2015], and Juno Therapeutics had a successful IPO [in December 2014].
TC: What are three new, representative investments?
DP: The messaging management service Centricient [which raised $6.5 million last August], the human genome combing service Encoded Genomics [funding undisclosed], and Renew, a benefits platform for seniors [that raised $3 million in November].
TC: How are you feeling about the IPO market in 2017? Do you expect it will open up considerably? If so, why? If not, why not?
DP: We see many high-quality companies heading into the 2017/2018 IPO pipeline and, given the strength of their businesses, we expect successful IPOs for many of them. Likely 2017 will be a strong year for tech IPOs. [Currently, AppNexus, whose Series A round was led by Venrock, is on file.]
TC: Same with M&A?
DP: Strategics have been excited about expanding through M&A, and this will certainly continue. In the event of large tax repatriation, we can see appetite improving further.
TC: Quickly, what ripple effects are you expecting from the Trump administration — both good and bad?
DP: Rising interest rates will put more pressure on VCs to show results before raising new funds, as sources of capital will have alternative places to find returns with less risk.
We’re hopeful immigration policy changes won’t make it even more challenging for tech companies to hire the best and brightest minds from diverse geographies.
While there will certainly be uncertainty in the healthcare delivery and payment landscape, both parties are focused on the transition from fee for service to fee for value. So there will continue to be interesting market-based businesses to build in healthcare IT.