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Random Ramblings: Jack Gill to Maven?

For every successful first-time fund, however, there is at least one floundering one. Today’s example is Maven Venture Partners, which was formed earlier this year by Jennifer Gill Roberts (formerly of Sevin Rosen Funds), Marc Friend (Summit Partners, USVP) and veteran telecom exec George Richard. The Menlo Park, Calif.-based firm had been in market with a $150 million-targeted fund, but was unable to get much traction. 

Now, fund-raising is suspended, as Friend has left the fold. I know virtually nothing about his reasons for leaving, nor what it means for the fund’s future. Multiple messages to all parties have gone unanswered, but you’ll be the first to know once I hear something substantive.


*** Doug Kingsley has left Advent International, where he had been co-head of the North American deals team. This apparently happened back in late December, but I was unaware of it until a tipster wrote in yesterday. Speaking of tipsters, some of you have written to say the “Top Secret” button isn’t working. This may be because it’s a popup. Just hold down your Control button when you click it, and keep them tips coming…


*** Quiz Time: Can you name the commercial finance firm (focused on PE-backed lower-middle-market companies) that is about to sell new equity to a private equity firm? Hint: It’s in the middle of the race.


*** Allied Capital has sponsored a management-led recap of BenefitMall Inc., a Dallas–based insurance agent focused on the small-group employee benefits market. Allied committed $175.6 million to the deal, and today’s VentureWire suggests that this should provide a good return to BenefitMall’s VC backers.


But I think VW is making a mistake. It’s true that the VCs didn’t commit anything near $175.6 million to BenefitMall, but a $40 million Series D infusion in 2000 came with a post-money valuation of around $187 million. Firms involved in that deal included Austin Ventures, Morgan Stanley Venture Partners and Technology Crossover Ventures. A subsequent $17 million deal in 2002 was washed down to just a $90 million post-money valuation.


*** Finally, I just got a CNN email alert that Pluto is no longer a planet. It’s like hearing that 2+2 no longer equals 4. What other fallacies was I fed by my second-grade teachers? At least text-book publishers will be happy…