Morgenthaler Ventures nears close

Morgenthaler Ventures has raised $373.5 million toward a $400 million ninth fund, according to a regulatory filing.

The latest fund will be a venture-only effort, according to published reports, and the filling shows only venture-related investors as fund promoters. Menlo Park, Calif.-based Morgenthaler had previously invested in buyout and venture deals from the same fund. The buyouts side of the business will likely be on the market for its own fund in 2009, according to published reports, though the target is unknown.

The new venture fund may see less of Partner Gary Morgenthaler, the son of founder David Morgenthaler. Gary Morgenthaler is not listed as a promoter or executive officer on the regulatory filing associated with fund IX, indicating he may be taking a less active role. The firm, which also invests in life sciences, lists Gary Morgenthaler as one of nine IT partners on its website.

Firm spokesperson Tom Gibson said earlier this summer that the younger Morgenthaler “will continue to be involved in Morgenthaler’s next fund and serve on the boards of his portfolio companies.” Gibson, citing regulatory restrictions, declined to clarify Morgenthaler’s involvement.

The firm expects to raise about $74 million in fees over the life of the fund, which works out to 1.8%, assuming a 10-year window. Among its limited partners is the University of Texas, which committed $40 million.

The firm’s previous fund, a $450 million buyout-venture hybrid raised in 2005, has seen one of its 23 portfolio companies acquired and has another in registration, according to Thomson Reuters (publisher of PE Week).

Morgenthaler Fund VII, raised in 2001, is underwater, according to data from the California Public Employees’ Retirement System. Of the state pension plan’s $10 million commitment, only $8.9 million remains, according to CalPERS. —Alexander Haislip