DFJ to close ninth fund by end of month

A limited partner in Draper Fisher Jurvetson’s ninth fund says that the firm will not only make its $600 million target, but may reach its hard cap of $620 million by its March 31 scheduled close. The venture firm will “easily hit that,” the limited partner told PE Week.DFJ has already raised $434.5 million toward its $600 million target for its ninth fund, according to a recent regulatory filing.

The fund-raising has been fast as the firm formed Draper Fisher Jurvetson Fund IX in January and has already filled more than 70% of its target, suggesting that LPs have confidence in the firm’s ability to find great early stage investments.

The firm must have great confidence in itself, as well. Its $600 million target is 50% larger than its current fund and the largest since its $640 million seventh fund, raised in 2000. Part of the optimism may be the product of recent success. The firm had nine of its portfolio companies acquired during 2006, according to Thomson Financial (publisher of PE Week).

This year it has already put one of its companies on the IPO path. Energy regulation company EnerNOC filed for a $100 million IPO in February. DFJ backed the company in each of its three investment rounds, helping it raise $27.5 million. EnerNOC closed its $15 million Series C at the end of December with a $215 million valuation, according to Thomson Financial. The company also raised fund from Braemar Energy Ventures, Foundation Capital and undisclosed investors.

The fund-raising success of DFJ’s core fund is in contrast to its DFJ Growth affiliate. The purposed $250 million growth fund, after more than 15 months of fund-raising has crossing the halfway mark of its target as of December

The growth effort is led by DFJ co-founder John Fisher, onetime America Online CEO Barry Schuler and venture capitalist Mark Bailey.

The partners of the growth fund have invested in three known companies to date. The fund participated in a $51 million financing round for Visto, a mobile email technology startup based in Redwood City, Calif. Schuler joined the board. The fund backed commercial laser company Raydiance in a $15 million Series C financing alongside the DFJ core fund. It also backed UUSee, a Chinese operator of a video distribution website, as part of a $23.5 million round that included Highland Capital Partners, Steamboat Ventures and return backers Sequoia Capital and Susquehanna International Group.