The funds LPs loved in 2013 — UPDATED

Private equity and venture capital fundraising picked up steam this year, with overall numbers hitting $365 billion, up 35 percent and the largest amount raised since 2008, according to fresh data from Triago.

That would seem to be great news all around; however, limited partners have been committing larger amounts to fewer funds, creating a universe of GPs that raise capital in lightning quick time, and other shops that have to scrape and fight to hit their targets. And still others who have no chance of ever getting close to their targets.

With that in mind, below is a list of hot fundraisings for 2013. This list is based on some simple factors, including speed and popularity of the fundraising and the firm’s ability to hit or beat its target. Fund size was not really a factor. We’ll probably miss some notable fundraisings here, so feel free to send in your own suggestions. (I was helped in this effort by private equity data provider Preqin and Kelly DePonte, a managing director at placement agency Probitas Partners, who I consider to be a private equity guru, if there is such a thing).:

  • KPS Special Situations Fund IV: This fund closed on its $3.5 billion hard cap after only two months or so in market. LPs flocked to this fund based on the firm’s past performance, which has been stellar. Still, and as always, some investors questioned whether KPS could keep up its run of great performance with its largest fund to date.
  • Greylock Partners XIV: Greylock Partners raised $1 billion for its fourteenth venture capital fund, one of the largest of the year in the VC world. The total far exceeds the $575 million it raised for its prior fund, though the firm increased the total of Fund XIII to $1 billion.
  • WestView Capital Partners III: This lower middle market-focused fund hit its $430 million hard cap in quick time, announcing the closing in November after filing a Form D registration document with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in May. However, sources told Buyouts the firm hit the hard cap well before the final announcement.
  • CVC European Equity Partners VI: Two bad words would seem to have put this fund at a disadvantage — ‘mega-fund’ and ‘Europe’. However, the vehicle was a hit with LPs. Launched in January, the fund hit its €10.5 billion hard cap by July. It’s popularity had something to do with its track record, with some of its earlier funds returning more than 2x investors’ capital. The firm’s European Equity Partners III generated almost 3x, according to performance numbers from the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, as of March 31, 2013..
  • H.I.G. Capital Partners: H.I.G. might as well get its own separate list. The firm zipped through two fundraisings this year with all kinds of support from LPs. H.I.G. closed its fifth flagship fund on its $1 billion target in about three months, while the firm closed its H.I.G. European Capital Partners II vehicle on €825 million, above its €750 million target, in about three months.
  • Marlin Equity IV: Similar to KPS’ lightning fundraising, Marlin Equity Partners, also focused on turnarounds and distressed situations, received all kinds of LP support, closing fundraising in just over four months. The firm in fact had demand for well above the $1.6 billion it eventually closed on. However, some LPs brought up the old standard – can the firm continue its run of strong performance with its largest fund to date. Marlin’s prior fund closed on $650 million.
  • Vista Foundation Fund II: Vista Equity Partners continued its run of incredible fundraising by blowing out its target for its second small- and mid-cap enterprise software fund, hitting $1.1 billion on a target of $500 million in about six months. The total included $1 billion from LPs and $100 million from the GP.
  • Silver Lake Partners IV: This might be one of the most successful fundraisings in a long time. The firm, riding a wave of success on its epic exit of Skype, closed its fourth fund on $10.3 billion, destroying its $7.5 billion target in about year of fundraising.
  • Brookfield Infrastructure Fund II: Brookfield’s second infra offering became the largest infrastructure fund ever raised at $7 billion, trailing only Global Infrastructure Partners’ $8.25 billion investment vehicle. The fund beat its $5 billion target.
  • TowerBrook Investors IV: Continuing the impressive run of special situations fundraisings, TowerBrook Capital Partners took about four months to hit its hard cap of $3.5 billion.
  • General Catalyst Group VII: The Cambridge, Massachusetts and Palo Alto, California-based venture firm closed its seventh fund on $675 million, ramping up from its previous $500 million vehicle. In proper VC fashion, the team took some time for reflection in a blog post after the fundraising closed.

(Based on reader recommendations, I’ve added a few more funds to the ‘hot list’. Thanks again for getting in touch and making this an interactive exercise!)

  • Carlyle Partners VI: The mega-fund closed in November on $13 billion after spending almost two years fundraising. I was hesitant to include the fund because of the length of the marketing period, but LP response to the fund over the past year has been very strong — and I can say that from personal experience having talked to lots of LPs about what funds they liked. Carlyle’s sixth flagship vehicle has 269 investors from 43 countries.
  • Clearlake Capital Partners III: Clearlake closed its third fund on $785 million in January, beating both its $600 million target and its $750 million hard cap. Fundraising took about six months, though the vehicle was oversubscribed in about four months. Clearlake was one of only a handful of managers to receive a commitment from CalPERS in 2012. The CalPERS commitment represented Clearlake’s ‘graduation’ from the pension system’s emerging manager program.
  • Vitruvian Investment Partnership II: The firm, launched by former Apax executives, joined the ‘first and final close’ club with its second fund, which closed on its 1 billion pound hard cap in December. It’s not exactly clear how long fundraising took, but marketing officially launched sometime in the fall. Fund II beat its 800 million pound target.
  • The Huron Fund IV: Huron Capital Partners blew through fundraising on its fourth investment vehicle in 75 days, exceeding its $400 million target and hitting its $500 million hard cap in January.
  • Insight Venture Partners VIII: Insight raised about $2.5 billion for its eighth fund, which sounds like an insane amount of capital for a venture fund these days (or in any era really). The firm did it in such quiet fashion that it’s hard to come up with much info about the fundraising. TechCrunch had an article back in May.

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