As Recruitment and Retention Tool, Cooley Forms New Fund to Invest in Startups

Some Silicon Valley attorneys leave their firms to pursue venture-like returns. Former Cooley attorney Kirk Dizon, who last year cofounded the fund of funds Institutional Global Investors, is one example.

But the attorneys who stick around at Cooley also manage to place bets on some of the many interesting startups to which they have access. Indeed, according to a new SEC filing, Craig Dauchy, Kenneth Guernsey, Mark Tanoury and James Kitch are right now organizing a new fund under a limited liability company called GC&H Investments so the firm’s attorneys can seize on investment opportunities that become available to them.

The timing isn’t surprising. Each calendar year, GC&H forms a new fund, and partners, special counsel and eligible associates are invited to participate.

As unsurprising, GC&H appears to have its hits and misses. Cooley’s employees may have enjoyed some return on QuinStreet, the online performance marketing company that went public in 2010 at roughly $14 and hit $22 per share a year later. (Today, the shares trade at $6.85.)

Filed under “miss,” surely, was an investment in Radiance Technologies, a Sunnyvale, Calif.-company that distributed and managed large digital video files and raised $26 million from investors; it went on to sell for just $5 million to Comcast in 2008.

Dauchy, a partner at the firm since 1981, has long been the head of Cooley’s venture capital practice in Palo Alto. Tanoury and Kitch, who have long worked alongside Dauchy in the firm’s Palo Alto-based business practice, have been with Cooley since 1982 and 1973, respectively. Guernsey, meanwhile, is a partner in Cooley’s San Francisco office. His tenure also dates back decades; he began practicing with the firm in 1978.

According to the SEC filing, the minimum acceptable investment from LPs – in this case, Cooley’s employees — is listed as $10,000.

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