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Battery Ventures taps software veteran for buyout business

Boston-based Battery Ventures said it hired software executive Russell Fleischer as a partner for its private-equity business amid a buyout environment that offers rich returns but hard-to-find deals.

Fleischer will focus on finding deals in the enterprise-software sector, where Battery has developed expertise. It has backed companies such as Marketo, Splunk and HighJump, which he ran until its acquisition by Accellos earlier this year.

Known primarily as a venture capital firm, investing at the earliest stages of a company’s development, Battery deploys about 20 percent of its funds to private equity, which companies generally tap later.

The firm focuses on mid-market buyouts rather than the outsized deals many people associate with private equity. It makes the investments from the same funds as its venture investments.

While some venture-capital firms run separate growth-equity funds, investing in buyouts from the same cash pool as venture investments is fairly rare in the business. Battery is currently investing from a $900 million fund it raised early last year.

Private-equity investments have slowed recently as rising prices make it hard to find good deals. Private equity firms have $1.2 trillion in their coffers, a record, according to consultancy Preqin.

Separately, a pair of venture-capital veterans, Rob Theis and Terry Garnett, are raising their own fund for buyouts focusing on technology, according to a spokesman. News of their plans was earlier reported by sister magazine Buyouts.

Reporting by Sarah McBride of Reuters news service.

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