Former Intel Pro Closes on Blueprint

Having begun his venture capital career within the modestly restricting confines of corporate VC at Intel Corp., Bart Schachter watched with a touch of envy as colleagues created wider portfolios. That twinge led the telecommunications specialist to launch his own firm, Blueprint Ventures in the middle of last year, and he has now held a first close of $130 million on Emerging Communications Fund I.

“We called the strategy here a communications eco-system approach,” Schachter said. “We will create a portfolio of companies that looks at all layers of the industry.”

Moore Capital Management came in as the anchor investor in the fund, and was joined by Merrill Lynch, Salomon Smith Barney, Tudor Investments and C.E. Unterberg Towbin, where Blueprint’s other current general partner Thomas Unterberg is chairman.

Waiting On More LPs

Schachter said the firm has set aside approximately $20 million of the fund, which has a $150 million cap, for university endowments and pensions that expressed interest but were unable to approve the commitments in time for the first close.

“We are in advanced discussions with the usual suspects and expect two or three [to sign on] for the final close.”

San Francisco-based Blueprint has established an affiliate fund for industry executives to participate. To date, approximately 100 individuals have signed on to this fund. Schachter said these professionals would assist the new firm in managing deal flow and due diligence, among other tasks.

“A lot of these people came from our past companies and really create part of our value proposition,” he added.

Blueprint intends to add several more investment professionals to the staff, including one more general partner and one or two associates to join senior associate, Ashley Read.

Since the first close, Blueprint has made four investments and expects a fifth to close this week. Those deals include: Flashcom, a broadband Internet service provider that is in the process of raising a mezzanine round; Coppercom, a voice-over DSL provider; Oresis, a multi-service access switch equipment company; and Sharegate, a broadband residential networking provider. Schachter said these deals, and the soon to be completed fifth provide a snapshot of the “ecosystem” concept.

Initial Investments

The new firm has co-invested alongside a broad array of venture firms in these nascent deals, including Advent International, Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, Technology Crossover Ventures, Hambrecht & Quist, Mayfield Fund, Bessemer Ventures, Communications Ventures, Jafco and Weiss, Peck & Greer.

Schachter said time spent with Intel provided access to some of these firms, but he added that relationship was not required for the firm to participate in these deals.

“I invested in Flashcom at Intel, but they did not participate in the follow-on round,” he said. “We did.”