Former Lightspeed GPs Form Opus Capital

Gill Cogan and Carl Showalter have stepped out of the shadows with their new firm, Opus Capital, and it looks and feels very much like their old firm, Lightspeed Venture Partners. All but one of the 10 members of Opus Capital come from Lightspeed, and the new firm – like Lightspeed – describes itself as an “early stage fund” focused on tech deals.

Cogan and Showalter made it known in mid-August that they would strike out on their own. At that time, Lightspeed said in a prepared statement that Cogan and Showalter would assemble a new team with a “different investment strategy” than Lightspeed’s focus on early stage technology deals.

In fact, the new firm’s website ( states: “Opus Capital will pursue a strategy primarily focused on investing in seed and Series A technology companies. We will also selectively invest in information-intensive service businesses where we believe there is an opportunity to create substantial value by applying information technology to their operational processes.”

Neither Cogan nor Showalter was available to comment by PE Week’s deadline Thursday evening. A Lightspeed GP who asked not to be named also declined to comment.

It is unclear if Opus is out fund-raising. Lightspeed’s statement in August said that Cogan and Showalter planned to raise a new fund by year’s end. It did not list a target amount for their new fund.

Opus has five “general partners.” In addition to Cogan (with Lightspeed since 1990) and Showalter (with Lightspeed since 2002), the new firm’s GPs are Isaac Applbaum, formerly a partner and managing director for Israel at Lightspeed; Ken Elefant, formerly a senior associate at Lightspeed; and Mark Michaels, whose background includes serving as a founding partner at Crossroads Capital Partners and as a managing director with Willis, Stein & Partners.

Cogan and Showalter brought four others with them from Lightspeed, most notably Phil Greer, who co-founded Weiss, Peck & Greer (which evolved into Lightspeed) back in 1971. Greer is listed as a “founding partner” and “special limited partner” for Opus. The other three joining Opus from Lightspeed: Venture Partner and former Vantive CEO John Luongo, Director of Finance Lori Hoover, and Director of Administration Patricia Johnson.

The Opus team has set up shop in Menlo Park, Calif., at 2730 Sand Hill Road, not far from Lightspeed’s address at 2200 Sand Hill Road.

As expected, Cogan and Showalter – who continue as general partners in active Lightspeed funds – will continue to work with their existing Lightspeed portfolio companies. The Opus website lists 27 of the “more than 100” companies that its partners have funded over the years, from Adaptec (Nasdaq: ATPT) to Vantive (acquired by PeopleSoft). The website states: “The investment team at Opus Capital is continuing to manage investments made in previous Lightspeed and Weiss, Peck & Greer venture funds. We will retain these board seats, and will continue active involvement in these companies.”

Lightspeed has six remaining general partners. Four of its GPs – Barry Eggers, Ravi Mhatre, Peter Nieh and Chris Schaepe – are raising a $400 million fund with “additional team members” right now, according to a company statement issued in August. (That fund will be named Lightspeed Venture Partners VII, but it will be the ninth fund the firm has raised.) Two GPs who were not named in that release but will continue on as GPs in Lightspeed’s next fund, according to the firm, are Eric O’Brien and Jake Seid.

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