NEA is raising its biggest fund ever – – again

New Enterprise Associates, the 41-year-old venture firm with offices in Menlo Park; San Francisco; Boston; New York; Chevy Chase, Md.; and Washington, D.C., is raising its biggest fund ever, shows a new SEC filing that shows target of $3.6 billion.

The fund, its seventeenth, is just slightly bigger than the $3.3 billion fund the firm closed in 2017, which was its biggest fund at the time. Indeed, NEA has been known for many years for raising among the biggest funds in the industry, though these once brow-raising amounts have become somewhat less remarkable in a world where venture firms routinely close on record-breaking pools of capital.

It wasn’t always that way. NEA closed its very first fund with $16 million in 1978. It has since come to manage more than $18 billion in assets altogether.

The filing lists the firm’s 10 general partners, including Scott Sandell, who became the sole managing general partner of NEA in 2017. The other nine include Forest Baskett, Tony Florence, Mo Makhzoumi, Joshua Makower, David Mott, Pete Sonsini, and Paul Walker, along with Carmen Chang, who heads up the firm’s Asia practice and was promoted to GP last year, and Ali Behbahani, a healthcare investor who was also promoted to GP last year.

NEA, which has both a giant technology and healthcare practice, also has a vast network of partners, including Jonathan Golden, a former director of product at Airbnb who joined the firm last summer and who joined us for TC’s “Equity” podcast just yesterday.

Unlike some firms that have had something of a star system at various points of their firm’s history – – think Jim Breyer during an earlier era at Accel or the celebrity that John Doerr of Kleiner Perkins long enjoyed —  NEA has always operated in a less public-facing way despite its immense reach into the startup industry. According to Pitchbook, it has made more than 2,100 investments over the last four decades and has 431 active portfolio companies.

In February alone, its portfolio company ThirdLove, the lingerie maker, announced $55 million in fresh funding. NEA also joined the $93 million Series B round for Oyster Point Pharma, a 3.5-year-old, Princeton, N.J.-based clinical-stage pharmaceutical company with an initial focus on developing novel therapies to treat dry eyes. And it wrote a follow-on check to Databricks, a 5.5-year-old, San Francisco-based company founded by the original team behind the Apache Spark big data analytics engine, which closed on $250 million in Series E funding.

NEA completed a spinout of a new fund called NewView Capital last year, closing it with $1.35 billion, including from Goldman Sachs and the fund of funds firm Hamilton Lane.

As of early December, the firm — which is being led by former NEA general partner Ravi Viswanathan — held stakes in 31 of NEA’s late-stage portfolio companies that aren’t ready to go public or exit but that NEA wanted to find a way to continue supporting while also providing some liquidity to its investors. TC has more on that effort here.