Fund briefs, Aug. 6, 2007

Cleantech firm raises $300M

Venture firm Technology Partners has closed its eighth fund with $300 million in capital commitments. General Partner Ira Ehrenpreis told PE Week last year that the firm was targeting $250 million for fund VIII. The firm, which has made a name for itself as a first-mover in cleantech deals, cut back its information technology practice after the boom of the late 1990s and now focuses on cleantech and life sciences opportunities. Fund VII will be divided equally in both sectors.

Despite the rise of cleantech deals and the flood of firms and investors that are devoted to the sector, cleantech is far from developing an investment bubble, says Ehrenpreis. “There’s clearly been an awakening by the venture community,” he says, “But there’s still more opportunity available than capital.”

In announcing the fund, the firm disclosed it has invested in four deals. On the cleantech front, Technology Partners invested in an unidentified solar company that is still in stealth mode. It also announced a later stage investment in Tesla Motors, maker of the electric roadster. The sizes of the investments were not disclosed.

In life sciences, Technology Partners said that it invested in NFocus Neuromedical, a developer of treatments for brain hemorrhages, and Spectragenics, a purveyor of light-based beauty treatments.

Ehrenpreis focuses on cleantech along with General Partner Ted Ardell. General Partners Jim Glasheen and Roger Quy oversee the firm’s life sciences investments.

The Palo Alto, Calif.-based firm raised $250 million for fund VII in 2000. LPs from fund VII include the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, The Crossroads Group, Fairview Capital Partners, Lifespan Corp. Endowment, Montana Board of Investments, New Mexico State Investment Council, Pfizer Inc. and the San Francisco Employees Retirement System.

CMEA sets sights on $400M

CMEA Ventures

of San Francisco is raising up to $400 million for its seventh fund, according to a regulatory filing. Park Hill Group is serving as placement agent. CMEA raised $300 million for its sixth fund in 2003.

Long River banks on $40M

Long River Ventures

is raising up to $40 million for its second fund, according to a regulatory filing. It already has secured more than $16 million in commitments from LPs, such as Mass Mutual. Hadley, Mass.-based Long River focuses on early stage companies in central and western Massachusetts.

Valor Equity nears $250M haul

Valor Equity Partners

is poised this month to close on a $250 million second fund, Valor Equity Partners II, which would be twice the size of its first fund, according to a person familiar with the situation.

The Chicago-based LBO firm has already raised $221 million from a combination of institutional investors and family offices, according to the source. The firm began marketing the fund, which has a $250 million hard cap, this spring. Its first fund closed with $120 million in commitments.

A one-time backer of Paypal Inc., the online payment service acquired by Ebay Inc. for $1.5 billion in 2002, Valor Equity buys lower-middle market companies operating in a variety of industries. It positions itself to investors as a firm that combines “value investing with operational activism.”

Recent deals by Valor Equity include the sale of Source Refrigeration & HVAC, a maker of refrigeration systems used by supermarkets and food companies. New York-based Arsenal Capital Partners bought the company for an undisclosed sum in January from Valor Equity and partner Denargo Capital. Companies that remain in the Valor Equity portfolio include Cherry Creek Tree Farms, a tree nursery; Mikohn Signs & Graphics, a maker of signs for casino interiors; and Mountain High Resort, a ski resort located 75 miles outside Los Angeles.

Valor Equity CEO Antonio Gracias launched the firm in 2001, having earlier founded private equity firm MG Capital. Valor Equity Chairman Victor Morgenstern is the co-founder of Harris Associates, a Chicago based investment advisor firm. Michael Dubilier, formerly of Clayton Dubilier & Rice, is a principal of the firm.

Cross Atlantic eyes $150M

Cross Atlantic Partners

plans to begin raising $150 million for its sixth fund later this year, according to VentureWire. The New York-based firm focuses on later stage opportunities in the life sciences sector. The firm manages more than $150 million in assets with its five previous funds combined.

Energy firm secures $475M

US Renewables Holdings

of Los Angeles has closed its second fund with $475 million in capital commitments, with a continued focus on renewable power generation, clean fuels and related logistics. Credit Suisse served as placement agent.

Fortress wraps up fund V

Fortress Investment Group

has closed its fifth fund with $5 billion in capital commitments. It also expects to add an additional $1 billion in capital from itself, its affiliates and its employees. The firm declined further comment, citing a pending earnings call.

GS targets mid-market

Goldman Sachs

has formed a new program to invest in mid-market companies, according to LBO Wire. The effort is called GS Direct, and will focus on companies with enterprise values of between $500 million and $2 billion.

JMI raises $600M

JMI Equity

has closed its sixth fund with $600 million in capital commitments. Fund V raised more than $300 million in 2005. The firm focuses on providing growth capital to software and business services companies, and has offices in Baltimore and San Diego.

RCP eyes $325M FoF

RCP Advisors of Chicago is raising up to $325 million for its fifth fund of funds, which will back middle-market buyout funds. It already has secured more than $85 million in commitments, with RBC Dain Rauscher serving as placement agent. RCP’s fourth fund of funds closed last year with $265 million.