Uber-backer Norwest Venture Partners raises new $1.2b global fund

Photo: REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

Norwest Venture Partners, which is an investor in Jet.com, Spotify, and Uber Technologies, has closed a $1.2 billion fund. The venture capital firm will place bets amid what partners describe as a tougher environment for technology startups.

The market has changed dramatically since Norwest raised its last fund in May 2014, which was the same size as the current one. Venture capital firms raised less money and closed fewer funds in 2015, according to data from the National Venture Capital Association, a trade group.

Norwest’s three managing partners, who each personally invest in the firm’s venture funds along with other backers including Wells Fargo, said the startup market is undergoing a “correction.”

Norwest, which invests in India out of its global fund, has put money in some of the hottest startups such as online classifieds portal Quikr and food delivery app Swiggy. In the past it invested in Yatra, one of India’s largest travel sites, Manthan, Thyrocare and Capillary. The firm was successful in exiting some of its portfolio companies — 7 filed for IPOs, and 15 were acquired — in the last two years.

While venture investments touched a record in the first two quarters in 2015, funding tapered off significantly by the end of the year. Founders would be hoping that Norwest continues being active in the startup ecosystem.

Writedowns by Fidelity Investments and BlackRock carry major significance for later-stage companies, according to Jeff Crowe, one of Norwest’s managing partners. “In early-stage venture, it doesn’t matter whether there’s a correction or not,” said Crowe, who is responsible for Norwest’s investments in Jet, Spotify, and Uber, while also serving on the board of directors for various younger companies.

Norwest, which backed startups acquired by Spotify and Uber, will continue to invest in corporate software, consumer products, and health tech. Since closing the previous fund in May 2014, the firm has seen at least 15 of its companies acquired and seven hold initial public offerings. The IPOs, which include Lending Club and Apigee, helped boost the firm’s internal rate of return, though partners declined to share the numbers.

(With inputs from Bloomberg)

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.