Norwest closes its 15th fund with $2 billion — its biggest vehicle to date

Norwest Venture Partners, the 58-year-old venture firm backed primarily by Wells Fargo, has closed its 15th fund with $2 billion. The firm closed its last fund with $1.5 billion at the beginning of 2018; the firm now manages $9.5 billion across all of its funds.

We talked with managing partner Jeff Crowe a couple of days ago about the outfit’s seemingly aggressive funding pace. Though venture firms have begun announcing new funds on what’s closer to a two-year cycle than than every three or four years, as was long the case in the industry, putting $1.5 billion to work in even less than two years’ time seems notable.

Crowe explained that the firm’s growth equity team — which can write checks that range from $50 million to $100 million — has been highly active, writing big checks in recent years to Cority, Vuori and SmartSign, among others. Cority is a Toronto company that makes environmental, health, safety and quality (EHSQ) software; Vuori is an apparel performance brand; and SmartSign produces custom signs.

That growth equity team often goes after founders who’ve bootstrapped their companies, as might a more traditional private equity firm. It separately makes what it considers “late-stage venture” deals, meaning it participates in traditional Series B, C, D and later rounds.

Other bets from Norwest’s most recent fund include a wide variety of consumer brands, including the personal finance app Dave, the smart home products company Wyze (it makes a home security camera), the home-buying business OpenDoor and the flexible workspace company Knotel.

Norwest has meanwhile seen numerous exits over the past couple of years. Health Catalyst, a Salt Lake City-based analytics vendor, went public this past summer, as did Silk Road Medical, a Sunnyvale, Calif., company that’s developing a neuroprotection and stent system used in transcarotid artery revascularization procedures.

Norwest was also an investor in both Uber and Spotify (though Crowe declined to say how much of either stake Norwest has since sold).

The firm has seen some of its portfolio companies acquired in the not-too-distant past, too. For example, in June, publicly traded WorkDay announced it was acquiring Adaptive Insights, a cloud-based platform for business planning, for $1.5 billion. Another company, an employee engagement platform called Glint, was separately acquired by LinkedIn roughly a year ago for undisclosed terms.

As for this new fund, the team — to which it added partner Priti Choksi last year — remains the same, says Crowe. So does its mission of backing teams at a variety of stages and sectors, including, broadly, consumer, enterprise and healthcare in the U.S., India and Israel.