Wellcome Trust Backs AirStrip Technologies

AirStrip Technologies has closed an equity transaction with the Wellcome Trust, a global charitable foundation dedicated to improving human and animal health. Financial terms of the arrangement were not disclosed.

Castlight Appoints Driscoll as President

Castlight Health, a provider of health care transparency solutions for employers and payers, has appointed John Driscoll as president. Castlight Health is headquartered in San Francisco and backed by investors including Allen & Company, Cleveland Clinic, Maverick Capital, Morgan Stanley Investment Management, Oak Investment Partners, Redmile Group, T. Rowe Price, U.S. Venture Partners, Venrock, Wellcome […]

Wellcome Trust Ups Venture Commitment

Global biomedical charitable research foundation Wellcome Trust has increased its commitment to venture capital to 19 percent of its 13.6 billion pounds ($21.02 billion) investment portfolio in the last 12 months. Venture and growth funds are included in this figure as well as direct venture investments. Wellcome’s private equity exposure, valued at $4 billion, has […]

Siluria Technologies Nets $20M

Siluria Technologies, the California-based methane conversion company, has landed $20 million in the form of a Series B investment led by the Wellcome Trust, a UK-based foundation. Other investors include Alloy Ventures, ARCH Venture Partners, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Altitude Life Science Ventures, Lux Capital, and Presidio Ventures.

Siluria Technologies Closes on $20M

Siluria Technologies, a San Francisco-based developer of methane-based alternatives for producing fuels and chemicals normally derived from oil, has raised $20 million in new capital. The Series B round was led by UK-based Wellcome Trust, with participation from Alloy Ventures, ARCH Venture Partners, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Altitude Life Science Ventures, Lux Capital, and Presidio Ventures.

Vostu Co-Founder Joshua Kushner Raises $40M for Thrive Capital’s Second Fund

Thrive Capital Partners, an early stage venture firm run by 26-year-old Internet entrepreneur Joshua Kushner, has raised a second fund totaling $40 million, according to a regulatory filing.

Kushner is the co-founder of Vostu, which is reportedly the largest online gaming company in Brazil. Founded in 2007, Vostu has raised a total of $45 million in venture capital from Accel Partners, General Catalyst Partners, Intel Capital and Tiger Global Management, according to Thomson Reuters (publisher of peHUB). Vostu’s board includes Accel’s Jim Breyer, who also sits on the board of Facebook.

Thrive Capital will reportedly invest in tech startups in the New York…


In Bizarre Twist, LPs Praise Venture Asset Class, See Strong Future

A strange thing happened at the National Venture Capital Association conference on Thursday. Two limited partners speaking on the last panel of the day said they are very upbeat about the venture asset class. The positive attitude marked a sharp turnaround from years past, during which limited partners — although still maintaining allocations to the […]

What LPs Want (and Don’t Want) in a VC Fund

Ask an LP what they like about venture capital, and the gut response these days is likely to be a long pause.

Limited partners used to have standard answers — usually something about above-par returns for patient investors and an early entry in the growth sectors of the future.

With venture returns for the decade now in negative territory, however, those reasons no longer sound so compelling.

Clearly, LPs are rethinking their venture strategies and overall commitment to the asset class. U.S. venture capital funds raised $1.9 billion in the second quarter of 2010, according to Thomson Reuters and the National Venture Capital Association — the lowest level of dollar commitments in nearly seven years. And while this quarter is shaping up a bit better, fund-raising is still well below pre-financial-crisis levels.

In September’s Venture Capital Journal cover story, “Choosy Shoppers,” I interviewed close to a dozen LPs and advisors involved in the fund-raising process to see what — in this exit-scarce environment — investors do like about venture. (VCJ subscribers can read the story here.)

A few strategies emerged. In some cases, LPs are taking a more hands-on approach to venture holdings. Case in point: Arizona State Retirement System, where private equity portfolio manager Richard Henkel says he looks for how companies and funds in which it holds stakes can benefit each other. This includes leading introductions between, say, a startup software developer and a mature, private equity-backed company that might use its application or even acquire it outright.

Blackstone, Wellcome Bid for RBS Branches

LONDON (Reuters) – Buyout firm Blackstone (BX.N) and charity the Wellcome Trust have launched a joint bid for bank branches being sold by Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.L), a source familiar with the matter said on Friday. The bid from Blackstone and the Wellcome Trust, a British charitable foundation which manages a 13 billion pound […]

Wellcome Trust Rues Missed PE Deals

LONDON (Reuters) – Private equity firms have missed the boat on some good deals over the last year, the Wellcome trust charity said on Wednesday, threatening to fill the deal-making void itself. “At the end of ’08 and beginning of ’09 there were some fantastic opportunities and let’s be honest the private equity industry largely […]

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