Alta Holds $422M First Close

Alta Communications earlier this month held a $422 million first close on its fourth venture capital fund. The Boston-based firm launched the new investment vehicle earlier this year with a $500 million hard cap, and expects to hold a final close in either September or October.

The offering is officially labeled Alta Communications IX LP, but it is just the fourth fund-raising effort since the group spun out of Burr, Egan, Deleage & Co. in 1996. The group was last in the fund-raising market in 2000 when it secured $486.3 million for Alta Communications VIII LP. Some of that fund’s exited investments include Telenisus Corp., a security company, and New Times, an alternative newsweekly.

As with Fund VIII, Fund IX will mostly invest in communications services companies, although it will also dabble in software, hardware and asset plays. It will also maintain its bi-coastal focus, even though last August it moved its staff back to Boston following the semi-retirement of firm co-founder, and San Franciscan, Bob Benbow.

Perhaps the only shift in its fund-raising tradition this time around is that Alta Communications has hired Boston-based Monument Group to act as a placement agent. No such firm was used on previous offerings.

Limited partners in Fund VIII, although not necessarily in Fund IX, included: Alaska State Pension Fund, BancBoston, Boston University, CalPERS, CalSTRS, Employees’ Retirement System of Hawaii, Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund, Michigan State Treasury, New Mexico State Investment Council, Norwest Equity Partners, The Travelers Group and the University of Notre Dame.

Contact Dan Primack