Riverwood Capital raises $378 mln for second fund with tech in the crosshairs

Firm: Riverwood Capital

Fund: Riverwood Capital Partners II

Amount raised: $378 mln

Placement Agent: Park Hill Group (a unit of Blackstone Group)

Riverwood Capital Partners II is about half way to the $780 million in commitments raised in its inaugural fund, which closed in 2011. The fund drew commitments from 44 investors with support from placement agent Park Hill Group, which received sales commissions of $898,234, according to the filing.

A call and an email to Riverwood Capital weren’t immediately returned.

With offices in Menlo Park, Calif, New York City and Sao Paulo, Brazil, Riverwood invests in technology companies. The firm typically invests in product companies with $100 million to $500 million in revenue, and software and services companies with $25 million to $150 million in revenue, according to its website.

Its normal investment size of $25-75 million allows it to ”find many transaction opportunities that are not engaged in auctions, and we are often able to construct investment vehicles with significant downside protection,” the firm said.

The firm was co-founded by ex-Flextronics CEO Michael Marks, who also worked at Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. from 2006 to 2007. Founding partner Chris Varelas worked as global head of technology, media and telecom investment banking at Citigroup Global Markets prior to Riverwood. Other co-founders of the firm include Jeff Parks, Francisco Alvarez-Demalde, Nicholas Brathwaite and Tom Smach.

Among its recent deals, Riverwood led a $45 million Series E funding round for Liquid Robotics, a Sunnyvale, Calif., company that makes floating robots used for data collection in the ocean. It also invested in solar power company BrightSource Energy, which has drawn backing from Chevron, BP and the California Teachers’ Retirement System, Google, Morgan Stanley, VantagePoint Capital Partners, Black River and Draper Fisher Jurvetson, among others.

Riverwood also took part in a rival acquisition effort for Dell Inc last year.  Blackstone Group led that effort, with participation from Francisco Partners and Insight Venture Partners. The group opted out in April of last year, clearing the way for Silver Lake and Michael Dell to move ahead with the transaction, which they completed after overcoming opposition from shareholder Carl Icahn.

Riverwood also participated in a $20 million preferred stock financing package late last year for LED lighting firm Lighting Science Group Corp in a deal led by Pegasus Capital Advisors.