Alsop Louie Partners, the 5-year-old early stage venture firm, just closed its second fund with $98.6 million, co-founder Stewart Alsop tells peHUB.
Along with the fresh capital, the San Francisco-based firm has added three new partners: Joe Addiego, most recently a partner at In-Q-Tel (where firm co-founder Gilman Louie was once CEO); Bill Coleman, who founded Cassatt Corporation and BEA Systems; and Jim Whims, who was most recently a partner at TechFund Capital.
Alsop says the firm has already made seven new investments from its new fund, but he declined to discuss how much the firm has put to work in any of its startups. He would only disclose the names of two of the companies.
Among Fund 2’s investments is Next Big Sound, a Boulder, Colo.-based startup that tracks the popularity of musical artists both online and off. The 2 1/2-year old company has raised $1 million in seed funding, including from angel Jeff Clavier and Foundry Group.
Alsop Louie also recently backed FrameHawk, a San Francisco-based “Web presence” startup whose technology allows users to tie their desktop applications to mobile platforms, as well as numerous other devices, via any network, from 3G to broadband. Alsop Louie is the firm’s sole investor.
Alsop Louie began raising its second fund in August 2008, just six months before it had finished investing its first, a $75 million fund that closed in 2006. “Our timing was about as bad as it could get,” says Alsop, referring to the financial crisis that gripped the globe beginning in September 2008.
The firm’s fund-raising process took two years and meant many months of having no investing capital, says Alsop, though he adds: “We told every entrepreneur we talked to [in 2009] that we didn’t have fresh capital. Most VCs like to hide that fact, but we were really up front about it and it didn’t hurt us. We had tremendous deal flow and we helped [entrepreneurs] find investors because we fundamentally believe in helping them and that the smallest piece of value we add is money.”
Alsop Louie held its first close for its second fund ($20 million) last December. The firm isn’t disclosing its LPs.
The firm made 15 investments out of its first fund and has enjoyed three exits so far, though only one that has returned money to investors: In August 2008, British Telecom acquired portfolio company Ribbit, a telephone software maker, for $105 million in cash. The startup had previously raised $13 million in two rounds from Allegis Capital, Alsop Louie Partners, KPG Ventures, and Peninsula Ventures, according to Ribbit co-founder Crick Waters.
Alsop Louie was also an investor in Cake Financial, whose assets sold in what has been characterized as a “fire sale” to eTrade earlier this year. “The financial crisis made it hard to move forward with the company,” Louie said. Cake raised $1.26 million in a Series A from Alsop Louie, Bay Partners and KPG Ventures that valued the company at close to $7 million, according to Thomson Reuters (publisher of this blog).
Most recently, in June, portfolio company Sportgenic, an online media and tech startup, was acquired by the distributed media network Glam Media. Sportgenic had raised $10 million from Alsop Louie, Adams Street Partners, KPG Ventures, and Greycroft Partners. It sold for an undisclosed amount in an all-stock transaction.