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Commonwealth closes $250m venture fund

The Waltham, Massachusetts-based venture capital firm has closed its fourth fund, and recently added a new general partner, Elliot Katzman, to its team of 8 investment professionals.

Commonwealth Capital Ventures is in the process of closing its first three investments for its recently closed $250 million (€190 million) fund, Commonwealth IV.

Two of the investments, at around $3 million each, are in start-ups, while the third is a more substantial investment in an existing portfolio company, said general managing partner Mike Fitzgerald.

The fund had its first close in December, and will typically make investments of $3 million to $5 million in software and technology companies located in the Northeastern US.

“A big part of our strategy is to be quite actively involved with our investments and we’ve found we can build a much closer relationship with those companies if we’re close by,” said Fitzgerald.

Existing investors account for the majority of the fund’s limited partners, which include the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association – College Retirement Equities Fund, and The Investment Fund for Foundations.

“They’re all pretty sophisticated guys who’ve been in the early stage venture business for quite a while – college university endowments, a number of family offices, several foundations and a couple of fund of funds advisors,” said Fitzgerald.

The firm was founded in 1995 by Fitzgerald, Jeffrey Hurst, and R. Stephen McCormack. Elliott Katzman, a former general partner at Waltham, Massachusetts-based Kodiak Venture Partners, recently joined the co-founders and Justin Perreault as the firm’s fifth general partner.

Commonwealth Capital manages more than $580 million in capital across four funds, and has invested in more than 130 companies, including communications technology firm Crossbeam Systems and email marketing company Constant Contact.

Constant Contact’s chief executive officer, Carol Goodman, characterised Commonwealth as “the calm hand on the tiller”.

“I took my first money from them in 2000 – it was just at the height at the internet bubble,” she said. “We’re on track to do $50 million in revenue this year, and we would not have been there without Commonwealth’s care and council.”