CRV: New Fund, New Face

Charles River Ventures has quietly closed its 12th fund with around $280 million, and hired Silicon Valley angel investor Sarr Gur as a principal.

As peHUB reported earlier this month, CRV had planned to begin fundraising in Q3, but realized last October that it would be out of dry powder by mid-January. The bi-coastal firm explained the situation to limited partners during its annual meeting in November, and sent out PPMs with a $275 million cover price by the second week of December. In its pitch, it asked as many LPs as possible to make commitments by year-end, with the understanding that some investors would need to wait until 2007 because of calendar allocation issues.

Not only was the process accelerated, but the restrictions were fairly tough. CRV put a $12.5 million cap on all LP commitments to accommodate as many LPs as possible. This was the same ceiling it had used with its $250 million Fund XII, with the extra $25 million in wiggle room used to help certain LPs increase their stakes closer to $12.5 million. For example, certain LPs with $3 million commitments to Fund XII got to put $5 million into Fund XIII.

CRV continued its band on public pensions, but only in part due to FOIA issues. The bigger issue, according to sources, is that CRV simply has more LP interest than it can handle. Previously, CRV raised $1.2 billion for a fund in early 2001, and then made severe LP cuts to raise subsequent vehicles at sub-$300 million. Public pension funds were among those cut, but they were not the only ones.

The primary partners on CRV XIII are Izhar Armony and Bruce Sachs in Waltham, Mass., and Bill Tai and George Zachary in Menlo Park, Calif. Chris Baldwin will not be participating on Fund XIII, but will continue to honor his Fund XII commitments (including board seats).

Joining as a venture partner is Sarr Gur, who will focus on digital media opportunities. He is co-founder of both CareBadgees.com and BrightRoll, and has served as an advisor and/or angel investor with such companies as Flixster, RockYou, AdMob, Xobni, Voicestar and Frengo.

CRV also has promoted Susan Wu to venture partner.