Aberdare Prepares $50 Million Fund II

Backed by a $10 million investment from CalPERS, and another $10 million from fund-of-fund affiliate Grove Street Advisors, San Francisco-based Aberdare Ventures is set to close its second investment vehicle just north of its $50 million target before year-end.

The firm, founded in 1999 by Paul Klingenstein, formerly a partner with Silicon Valley’s Accel Partners, raised its $50 million debut fund that same year. Fueled primarily by individual investors – Grove Street accounted for the fund’s only institutional money – it made investments in the health care technology and e-commerce sectors.

As a mid-stage investor, Aberdare is a relatively small outfit, putting only $4 million to $7 million to work over the venture lifecycle of each portfolio company. It is a strategy, CalPERS reports, meant to limit capital exposure to a single risky investment, leverage the partners’ industry-specific expertise, and force co-investments with larger firms. Its latest fund will likely adopt a similar strategy.

Caring About Health

Klingenstein, who specialized in health-care technology investments at Accel while a partner there between 1988 and 1997, launched Aberdare’s efforts in that arena. The firm’s debut fund invested in Cambridge, Mass.-based Microbia Inc., a developer of anti-infective drugs and the technology to enhance manufacturing processes in the pharmaceutical industry, and Boulder, Colo.-based pharmaceutical distributor Pharmion Co.

On the Internet-related and e-commerce front, the firm’s portfolio includes Mountain View, Calif.-based Angara, a company that provides online marketing services for consumer-centric e-businesses. Aberdare invested in the company’s expansion round alongside Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Stanford University and VantagePoint Venture Partners. The firm’s debut fund also backed online art purveyor Circline Inc. of New York. Co-investors in the deal included Brand Equity Ventures, Scripps Ventures and Trinity Ventures. The fund also invested in New York-based CapitalThinking Inc., an online commercial mortgage marketplace, with Bessemer Venture Partners and the New York City Investment Fund.

General Partner Brett Battles leads the firm’s Internet investment practice. Prior to joining Aberdare, he was vice president for market and business development at Impresse Corp., a now-defunct b-to-b marketing solutions provider whose IP assets recently were acquired by PrintCafe of Pittsburgh. He also worked at McKinsey & Co. as an engagement manager specializing in IT, manufacturing, product marketing and supply chain engagements.

Jake Odden, on the other hand, joined Aberdare as a principal with the firm after a stint at The Walt Disney Co. where he worked in e-commerce business development and business planning for the consumer products division. Christina Fong is the firm’s controller.

Because the fund is still open and the firm actively continues to fund-raise, Aberdare declined to comment for this story.

Carolina Braunschweig can be contacted at: Carolina.Braunschweig@tfn.com