North Bridge seeks growth stage fund

PE Week has learned that North Bridge Venture Partners is sponsoring a new growth equity fund that former Advent International partners Doug Kingsley and Mike Pehl will co-manage.

The pair began fund-raising about three weeks ago, with initial meetings taking place with existing NBVP limited partners. The scope is expected to expand over the next month, with a target capitalization of between $400 million and $500 million.

Ed Anderson, managing partner of North Bridge, did not return calls requesting comment. PE Week also tried to speak with both Kingsley and Pehl, but was unsuccessful.

Kingsley is the former co-head of Advent’s North American buyout team, which he officially left last December. Pehl had been helping to run a tech-focused venture capital program, but began looking around after Advent decided not to raise a follow-on fund. Both Pehl and fellow group chief Leigh Michel will continue to manage the existing tech fund portfolio of Advent, until it runs its natural course.

The new NBVP fund is expected to make growth-stage investments of between $20 million and $50 million. Some will be for company control, while others will be for significant minority positions. Some PIPEs or other alternative structures also could be used.

The fund represents a major strategic shift for NBVP, which always has prided itself on being early stage and nothing but early stage. However, sources say that it is likely to be an easy raise, due to NBVP’s reputation and the strong track records of Kingsley and Pehl.

North Bridge isn’t the only noted early stage investor to trot out a growth stage vehicle. Draper Fisher Jurvetson has raised $100 million of a $250 million growth fund that it launched in January. Sequoia Capital closed on $861 million in May for its U.S. growth fund and, separately, closed on $400 million in September for its India Growth Fund. And New Enterprise Associates joined the fray in the summer, carving out $1.5 billion of its $2.5 billion 12th fund for later stage expansion deals.