Atlas Venture VI hits $950m

Atlas Venture, an active investor in Internet software infrastructure has raised $950 million for its sixth fund, Atlas Venture VI, which will invest in early stage technology companies in the US and Europe. Thenew investment vehicle brings total funds under management to over

$2.5 billion, with active investments in over 100 companies worldwide.

A parallel fund for entrepreneurs and other individual members of Atlas Venture’s network, which will invest alongside the main fund, is currently being raised.

Atlas Venture will maintain its traditional focus, which is primarily on early stage companies in communications, life sciences and information technology. It is anticipated that the fund will have an equal split, as the previous funds, when making investments in the US and Europe. However, this depends on opportunities that arise.

The fund will aim to make significant, stage-appropriate initial investments, while maintaining a reserve of 50 per cent to 100 per cent for subsequent financing. Atlas will also provide seed investments to support projects until the company is ready for a full round of financing.

The majority of investors in the fund have invested in previous Atlas funds. New institutions committing to the fund include Abbott Capital Management, Allianz Private Equity Partners, Colorado PERA, Euro Ventures, FINVEST, Glenmede Trust, Robeco Group and UTIMCO.

Atlas is still investing from its previous fund, Atlas Venture V, and expects to complete a couple more deals. So far, the fund has made 22 commitments in Europe and 20 in the US.

Atlas’ core strength is in the depth and breadth of its portfolio, says Christopher Spray, senior principal of the firm. “We are diversified across sectors, geographies and stage of investment. This diversification helps us to deliver stable performance even during turbulent times in financial markets.”

In 2000 Atlas Venture saw 14 companies in its portfolio complete IPOs and a further 11 companies acquired. Among these successes were Orchestream, which floated on the London Stock Exchange in June and won the evcj’s award for realisation of the year 2000; Element 14, acquired by Broadcom Corporation in October; and Cerulean Technology, acquired by Aether Systems.

The largest number of IPOs, 11 in total on eight different stock exchanges, came from the life sciences portfolio. Among these were Actelion Pharmaceuticals, MediGene AG and Novuspharma SpA.

Although IPO prospects for 2001 are less certain Atlas has a number of portfolio companies currently in merger discussions.