Signs of life emerge at Sevin Rosen

Sevin Rosen Funds, a venture firm that declared last fall that declared the model for early stage investing was broken, has recently committed capital to three startups in California.

The firm, which has operations in California and Texas, re-upped its commitments to security company SolidCore Systems, which in late April raised a $10 million Series D from Sevin Rosen, Matrix Partners and Menlo Ventures; branded mobile service provider Sonopia, which last week announced it raised a $12.7 million Series B from Sevin Rosen, Cardinal Venture Capital and ComVentures; and file transfer startup YouSendIt, which raised a $10 million Series B in April from Sevin Rosen, Alloy Ventures and Sigma Partners.

Each of the three companies is an investment first made by Nick Sturiale, the firm’s youngest partner. Sturiale, who is in his early 40s, joined Sevin Rosen in 2000 after leaving his post as CEO and director of Fremont, Calif.-based Timbre Technology, a developer of semiconductor design software, which was sold to Tokyo Electron Ltd. in 2001 for $138 million. General Partner Steve Dow mentored Sturiale during his initial two years as a senior associate before promoting him to partner.

PE Week reported last month that Sturiale was shopping his resume around and looking to leave Sevin Rosen. As of last week, he was still at Sevin Rosen.

But he doesn’t have to hurry. Sevin Rosen IX is a $305 million fund that was raised in 2004, but has only invested $63 million so far, according to Thomson Financial (publisher of PE Week). The Thomson Financial numbers may not be accurate, however. The company estimates how much each firm puts into the deals it does until it can collect more accurate data later in the quarter.

Still, one can expect to see Sevin Rosen supporting its startups in additional financing rounds for some time. The firm’s Palo Alto, Calif.-based office has not invested in a new startup since the firm pulled its 10th fund from the market. The Texas offices have backed three new startups since then.