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Shasta closes inaugural fund above target

Investors have bet $210m on the new venture capital firm’s three founding veteran tech partners, who succeeded in raising their first-time early-stage fund in about nine months.

Menlo Park, California-based Shasta Ventures has closed its first-time fund on $210 million (€158 million), surpassing the firm’s original $175 million target. 

The venture capital firm also announced that Austin Grose has joined the firm as chief financial officer, after working in that capacity at Allegis Capital, Associated Venture Investors and MK Global Ventures

The inaugural fund, closed in January, was raised in about nine months. Launched in June 2004, Shasta focuses on early-stage investments in infrastructure, software and service companies targeting the business and consumer markets.

Along with the fund closing, the firm announced that Zenprise, a provider of automation and services management tools, would be the first portfolio addition.

“We were very happy to end up at this number,” said Tod Francis, a managing director at the firm. “We raised a fund size that’s manageable, so that we can focus on early-stage [investments].”  

Francis would not name LPs, but said he felt the Shasta Ventures Fund had a good cross-section of investors from endowments, family offices and pensions.

Fund LPs reportedly include the Illinois Teachers' Retirement System, California State Teachers' Retirement System, Paul Capital, Baylor Health Care System, Bell Atlantic Master Trust and Fort Washington Capital Partners

Shasta’s three founding managing directors are Robert Coneybeer, who spent eight years investing in infrastructure companies at New Enterprise Associates; Ravi Mohan, who has eight years’ experience investing in software and technology-enable service companies at Battery Ventures; and Francis, who brings 10 years’ experience focusing on technology-enabled consumer and business service companies at Trinity Ventures

Investors are showing renewed interest in first-time funds as the venture industry recovers from the after shocks of the tech bust. Last April, Redwood City, California-based newcomer Garnett & Helfrich Capital successfully raised a $250 million debut ‘venture buyout’ vehicle to focus on buying out underperforming and non-core businesses, product lines, and divisions from public companies in the communications, Internet, media, semiconductor and software sectors. That the fund attracted an all-star roster of limited partners, including lead investor Harvard Management Company.