ATA Ventures holds first close on fund III

ATA Ventures has held a first close for its third fund, according to a regulatory filing. Details about the fund target and the amount raised were not available, though previous reports have pegged the fund target at $250 million.

ATA Managing Director Hatch Graham confirmed the close, but declined to discuss details of the fund, citing regulatory concerns.

The Redwood City, Calif.-based firm raised $150 million for its first fund in 2004 and raised a $196 million second fund two years later. ATA was one of a number of first-time firms that came to market in 2004. Others include Hopewell Ventures, Delta Russia Partners, Shasta Ventures and Accuitive Medical Ventures.

The ATA managing directors came together from disparate backgrounds. Graham founded optical networking companies; Michio Fujimura owned and operated his own IT business consulting firm for 15 years; Pete Thomas was a general partner at Institutional Venture Partners. Mike Hodges joined the co-founders in 2006 after holding positions as a chief executive and was promoted to managing director earlier this year.

However, ATA has been one of the most active investors of that set, as it has put money to work fast enough to warrant two-year fund-raising cycles.

ATA has backed 31 early stage information technology companies with more than $157 million since its inception, according to data from Thomson Reuters (publisher of PE Week). Recent ATA investments include social dating website Zoosk, which raised a $4.1 million Series A from ATA and Canaan Partners; optical networking company NeoPhotonics, which recently raised more than $31.3 million in late stage round of financing from ATA, Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Oak Investment Partners; and broadband switch company Actelis Networks, which raised a $13.2 million Series F investment in March from ATA, The Carlyle Group and Global Catalyst Partners, among other investors.

However, the investment data does reflect how much each firm contributed to the investment round when it is shared by multiple firms.

Similarly, the data has little to show in the way of a firm’s returns based on exits. ATA portfolio company Agistics, which develops on-demand payroll software company and which raised $2 million in funding, was purchased by Visage Mobile for an undisclosed amount in October 2007. In early 2007, Cisco Systems Inc. purchased ATA portfolio company Spans Logic Inc., a developer of content addressable memories. Spans Logic had raised $8 million from ATA and Crescendo Venture Management before it was acquired. Terms of the deal were not announced, but at least one report pegged the acquisition price at $6 million.