Mayfield affiliate GSR adds to fund III

GSR Ventures, the Chinese affiliate of Mayfield Fund, has raised $365.25 million from 53 investors, according to a recent regulatory filing.

The firm started fund-raising in June and had closed $311 million by August. The new fund comes little more than a year since the firm raised $200 million for its second fund, and suggests that the early stage investor has become more active lately.

The recent regulatory filing lists JPM Pooled Venture Capital as a limited partner. LPs in the firm’s previous funds include Horsley Bridge Partners, Private Equity Technology Partners IV (which is managed by Swiss-based funds of funds manager ADVEQ Management) and Dunearn Investments.

GSR (short for Golden Sands River) has kept a low profile in the past year. It offers little additional information on its website than it did at the time of the close of its second fund in January 2007.

Mayfield Managing Director Navin Chaddha declined to comment on GSR’s fund-raising activities.

“They’re affiliated with us, and they’re a partner fund,” he says. “Nothing has changed.” GSR shares offices with Mayfield on Sand Hill Road in Menlo Park, Calif. And many of GSR’s LPs have been backers of Mayfield funds.

GSR backed three companies in 2008, according to data from Thomson Reuters (publisher of PE Week), but that number is likely lower than its actual investment pace, since investment data from China is often unavailable.

In February, GSR invested in a $4 million Series A in Beijing-based mobile phone operating system Borqs International with Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (that round later grew to $7.5 million). In March, the firm participated in an undisclosed seed round in Shanghai-based Ultra Wideband company Panovel Technology. In October, GSR partnered with Northern Light Venture Capital and a local university to put $30 million into light-emitting-diode company Beijing Taishi Xinguang Technology Co.

GSR’s fund-raising momentum may have something to do with Kevin Fong’s departure from Mayfield. In January, Fong said he left Mayfield “to pursue other interests.” Fong, who led Mayfield’s China-based strategy and served as a liaison to GSR, is currently listed as a managing director on the GSR website.

Chaddha says Fong is still an investor with GSR II, but declined to say if he would be involved in GSR III.

Of course, GSR’s fund-raising efforts may just reflect the growth in venture investment in China. VCs invested $3.3 billion through Nov. 23, up more than 34% from the same period last year, according to advanced, unaudited data from Thomson Reuters. —Alexander Haislip