Mayfield Revisited

I found myself in the PE Week archives on Friday, digging through some of my colleagues’ great stories, and came across Dan’s piece on Mayfield’s 12th fund, written almost three years ago.

I remember reading the story when I worked for another news outlet and desperately trying to play catch up.

The short version is that Mayfield ticked off its limited partners by purposing a fee-for-clawback agreement to cover losses for its eighth and ninth funds, according to Dan’s report. Negotiations broke down due to Mayfield’s arrogance, according to at least one former LP Dan quoted.

Despite reports of poor returns and poor LP relations, Mayfield managed to close its fund with $375 million in commitments.

I haven’t written about the firm since then (aside from a brief mention in coverage of GSR, the firm’s Chinese partner).

So I decided to run a quick query on the Thomson-Reuters database to see what the firm has been up to in the past 12 months.

Check it out: Mayfield Investments (LTM)

One thing jumps out at me: the number of communications infrastructure, enterprise software and semiconductor companies in the portfolio.

I’m no expert in these investment fields, but I have seen other firms that invested heavily in these industries well after the dotcom boom have trouble raising further funds (Sevin Rosen). To be sure, there’s plenty of new media, gaming and open source companies in the portfolio as well.

Either way, Mayfield has invested nearly $70 million in 17 companies from Fund XII, according to data from Thomson-Reuters. I have to imagine that the firm will be back out on the market soon, if it isn’t already.