Matrix Partners Dives Into Special Ops

Venerable venture capital firm Matrix Partners is in the midst of raising two new funds, according to regulatory filings.

The larger pool of capital would be for Matrix Partners IX, which is targeting the same $450 million that was raised for Matrix Partners VIII back in 2006 (technically $445m, but you get the point). Typical VC fund, and an LP source tells me that the final close is all but a formality at this point.

The other fund is a bit more mysterious. It’s called Matrix Partners Special Opportunities Fund, and is targeting $150 million.

My initial assumption was that “special ops” was another way of saying “overage” (i.e., a sidecar vehicle used for particularly large investments). But I’ve been directed away from that thesis, albeit not in any other particular direction. Growth equity? Direct secondaries? Debt? PIPEs? Lemonade stands?

Whatever the “special ops” fund will be used for, it too is nearing a final close. I’ve put out some calls, and will update this post if more definitive info emerges…

UPDATE: Spoke with a Matrix limited partner, who tells me that the special ops fund is for anything outside of the firm’s traditional VC focus. For example, Matrix may want to buy back into some of its former portfolio companies (think Accel Partners with StumbleUpon). It will invest separately from Matrix IX, although the two fund-raising processes were stapled (i.e., can’t do one without the other). Really speaks to Matrix’s strong rep among LPs, because stapling is a frowned-upon practice that is rarely tolerated anymore.

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