First Round’s Fourth Act: More of the Same, Which Must Be a Good Thing

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. That seems to pretty much be the mantra First Round Capital is using.

Once again, First Round, the Pennsylvanian venture capital firm, is locking in a fund around the $125 million range, sources confirm to peHUB. This fund will be First Round’s fourth.

peHUB couldn’t get any comment out of First Round, but sources said this one, very much like the firm’s second fund, a $125 million 2008 vehicle, and its 2010 third vehicle, for just over $126 million, will mirror prior size and strategy.

Speaking of strategy, First Round has primarily made deals with startups in New York and California, and almost exclusively with Internet and software companies.

And, when it comes to strategy, there aren’t many early-stage VCs like First Round that can boast its hit parade of deals.

Lately, First Round has backed Solve Media, social web content curator Percolate, labor auction service TaskRabbit,, ski lift service Liftopia and beauty products startup Birchbox.

While First Round’s latest batch of investments show promise, some of its exits from prior funds must have had LP tongues wagging. Summer 2010 was a heady time, as Invite Media and Hot Potato were sold off, respectively (according to reports) bagging $81 million and $10 million from buyers Google and Facebook (again, respectively). A year later, when GroupMe was dealt to Skype for terms undisclosed, another First Round investment earned another high profile exit.

But not all the news has been good for one of NYC’s most prominent VCs; last year, a New York Observer story detailed a series of allegations at one of First Round’s principals from a number of female entrepreneurs.

peHUB couldn’t turn up any recent returns, and prior funds of First Round’s before its second were smaller vehicles, less than $20 million in size. According to Thomson Reuters data, prior First Round limited partners include the Investment Fund for Foundations and Princeton University. Sources indicated the fund’s personnel structure will remain the same; First Round did recruit a new director of communications in late 2011, CeCe Cheng, who the firm swiped from Qwiki.

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