Masthead Closes Inaugural Fund

Early-stage venture investor Masthead Venture Partners closed on $160 million last week, holding out for another $20 million before it makes a final close on its inaugural fund later this year.

The Manchester, Mass.-based firm plans to invest between $3 million and $8 million each in 18 to 22 startup companies.

The firm plans to invest largely in the information technology sector, doing deals in enterprise software, corporate and content security, consumer Internet, sensor networking and communications infrastructure.

However, Masthead says it will reserve as much as 15% of the fund for investments in life sciences information technology.

The fund has four companies already in its portfolio and plans to add at least two more within the next two months, says Richard Levandov, a general partner with the firm.

Still, the four companies – Liquid Machines Inc., RuleStream Corp., Nexaweb Technologies and SyChip – account for only $10 million in invested capital.

The firm will continue to scout early-stage investments. Masthead will also do later-stage financings – Series B and Series C rounds – on an opportunistic basis.

Founded in 1997, the firm has 10 investments under management, though each previous deal was financed by the firm’s limited partners on an as-needed, deal-by-deal basis.

Fund-raising for this fund began in mid-2001 and limited partners include university endowments, family trusts, financial institutions and individual investors.

Levandov will manage the fund alongside five other general partners – Brady Bohrmann, Daniel Flatley, Robert Foster, Brian Owen and Stephen Smith.

Masthead also announced it will move its offices to Cambridge, Mass. in April.

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