Blueprint Ventures Is Winding Down

Eleven years after swinging open its doors, San Francisco-based Blueprint Ventures is officially winding down. It will not make any new investments, although its partners will continue to manage existing portfolio companies (albeit as a part-time job).

“The firm had a fantastic run,” says co-founder Bart Schachter. Pointing to broader trends at play, he adds that “early-stage venture, as an asset class, has suffered, and unfortunately many LPs no longer think about relative returns but absolute returns.”

Blueprint, which focused on IP spinouts, is among dozens of other venture firms that raised their most recent funds during the dotcom days and failed to attract sufficient LP interest to assemble newer vehicles.

Late last week, Pascal Levensohn announced that 15-year-old Levensohn Venture Partners is no longer trying to raise new funds (at least for now), a decision made after “gathering information from our existing, as well as prospective, investors.” Levensohn’s most recent fund, raised between 2003 and 2005, was a $67 million vehicle.

Other firms to run out of dry powder in recent years include: ArrowPath Venture Partners, whose second fund, a $209 million vehicle raised in 2000, was its last; CenterPoint Venture Partners, whose third, $272 million fund, raised in 2001, was its last; and Crescendo Ventures, which closed on a whopping $646 million for its fourth fund in 2000 and never closed another, despite efforts to raise a fifth beginning in 2001.

According to Schachter, interest in Blueprint’s strategy was strong but the firm dropped its fundraising efforts in the fall of 2008, when the economy suddenly began to collapse. “We started fundraising in January 2008 and had solid hard circles and closing documents by April,” he says. But “by August we decided that the credit crisis was going to freeze LP appetite for private equity for years and decided to suspend fundraising and redouble focus on our portfolio.”

Dan reported last March that George Hoyem, another managing partner at Blueprint, was shopping around a fund to invest in distressed VC portfolio companies. Hoyem was joined by Marty Pichinson of Sherwood Partners and Colin Savage, formerly of Worldview Technology Partners. Like many fundraising efforts, particularly last year, the idea never gained traction.