USVP’s Curious Full-Court Press

U.S. Venture Partners recently raised $625 million for its tenth fund, which was reported by several trade publications at the end of July.

Yet suddenly last week, in both the Wall Street Journal and BusinessWeek, there was the news again, straight from USVP in the form of full-page advertisements. What I wondered was why.

Why would USVP, which backs tech, healthcare, and cleantech companies, bother with a splashy — and expensive — marketing gimmick? The Journal doesn’t advertise its rates online, but judging by those of BusinessWeek, the firm probably paid around $75,000 — the rough equivalent of an administrative assistant’s annual salary — for that one placement alone.

Beginning on Friday, I emailed a handful of the firm’s partners to ask about the ads. I didn’t receive a response, so this morning, I called one of the firm’s limited partners to ask what he thought. “Maybe it was to put a stake in the ground?” he answered with near zero certainty. “It comes out of their management fees, so if they want to pay their salaries or have parties or take out full-page ads, that’s their prerogative. But I really don’t know the answer to your question. I wondered about those ads, too,” he said.