Lightspeed spin-out raises $280m fund

Opus Capital, which separated from Lightspeed Venture Partners just last year, has quickly raised its first fund.

Menlo Park, California-based Opus Capital has closed its first independent fund at $280 million (€218 million). The target size for the fund had been $250 million, with an initial closing in April and its second and final closing in May.

The firm was formed last year when Lightspeed Venture Partners co-founder Gill Cogan, one of the biggest investors in communications and technology, left Lightspeed along with Carl Showalter, Isaac Applbaum and Ken Elefant to found Opus. Lightspeed was previously known as Weiss, Peck & Greer Venture Partners, but was renamed in 2000 to reflect its new status as an independent entity after its parent Weiss, Peck & Greer was sold to Rabobank.

The Opus partners are continuing to manage the three Weiss, Peck & Greer Venture Partners funds, while Lightspeed manages the subsequent Lightspeed fund. The two firms continue to work together on all four funds, but the new Opus fund is entirely separate and has a different investor strategy. Together with the previous Weiss, Peck & Greer funds, the new fund brings Opus’s total committed capital under management to more than $1 billion.

The new fund will invest in early-stage technology in the internet, software, networking and semiconductors sectors in the US and Israel. Opus general partner Carl Showalter said the fund will devote 15 percent of its investments in Israeli start-ups, helping to bring their technology to the US market.

“The technologists and entrepreneurs in Israel are very strong on the technology, but one of the challenges is that they’re working in a country of about 18 million people and that’s not a huge market,” he said. “So they look to us to really help bring the technology into the first market, and generally the first market here is in the United States.”

The new fund’s investors include returning Weiss, Peck & Greer limited partners such as CalPERS, Aon Pension Plan and VenCap International. New investors include the Oregon State Treasurer’s Office, Northern Trust and Dupont Capital Management.