Atlas VIII comes in under target

Venture capital firm Atlas Ventures has closed its eighth fund on US$283m, well below its original target of US$500m and even less than the amount raised for fund number seven.

“The new fund is the right size for our early-stage focus and organizational structure,” said Jean-Francois Formela, an Atlas partner. “We feel fortunate to have a fresh pool of capital to invest at a time when we see steady innovation coupled with a return to capital efficiency. This is a good environment in which to fund new companies.”

The fund will adhere to the same strategy as its predecessors, investing in early-stage technology and life science start-ups in both Europe and the US. Investors in fund eight include returning LPs Kisco Management, The Kresge Foundation and Paul Capital, with Franklin Park, Industriens Pensionsforsikring and Meketa Investment Group joining as new backers.

Atlas Ventures VII closed on US$385m in 2006, but the firm was unable to surpass that this time around. Speaking to’s sister publication PE Week Wire, US-based partner Jeff Fagnan said: ““I know the number isn’t what we originally wanted, but I’m really proud that we closed a VC fund in this environment.”

The latest fund has already made its first investment, in cloud computing company CloudSwitch. Atlas co-led a US$7.4m funding round.

The closing has been followed by a personnel reshuffle. Martin Gibson, a technology partner in the London office, has left the firm after joining in 2000 as principal before his 2004 promotion. In the US, Boston-based partner Ahmet Ozalp is also no longer with the firm, while Boston partners Eric Hjerpe and Barry Fidelman are moving away from investments into venture partner roles. Boston life sciences principal Bruce Booth is now a partner, and chief operating officer Jeanne Henry has retired.