VC fund briefs, week of March 31, 2008

Alta to raise new fund, sans two partners

Alta Communications is gearing up to raise a new fund, but will be doing so without partners Bob Emmert and Lane MacDonald. The pair is leaving over disagreements over firm strategy and fund size, according to a report in, an affiliated publication of PE Week. Both partners are expected to stay at the Boston-based firm for a couple of months to manage the transition. Neither has solidified any post-Alta plans.

MacDonald and Alta Partner Phil Thompson say that they remain on good terms. Alta is staying put in the lower-middle-markets, with plans to raise a new fund that due to decreased partnership size may be a bit smaller than the $500 million that the firm raised n 2002 for Alta Communications IX.

Alta has been informing limited partners and portfolio companies of the partners’ departures over the past two weeks. —Dan Primack

Granite nabs affiliate, expands to $600M

Granite Global Ventures has expanded the size of its third fund from $400 million to $600 million. The expansion stage firm invests in U.S.-based and Chinese companies, but says that the extra capital will largely be used to focus on investments in Chinese companies that are driven by consumer growth. The firm raised $225 million for fund II in 2004.

The Menlo Park, Calif.-based firm also announced that it has hired four partners from Shanghai-based SIG Capital, including Zhuo Fumin and Jessie Jin as managing partners. The firm also hired Michael Kuan and Steve Chu as venture partners.

The foursome will continue to manage their existing fund Venture Star Shanghai, while SIG Capital will officially become a Granite Global affiliate.

CMEA raises $400M

CMEA Ventures has closed its seventh fund with $400 million in capital commitments. The San Francisco-based firm raised $300 million for fund VI in 2003.

The firm focuses on energy and materials, information technology, and life sciences, with a bias towards deep-technology and multidisciplinary investments.

The firm says that it has had recent successes among its investments, including the acquisition of portfolio company RF Magic by Entropic, followed by Entropic’s subsequent IPO. CMEA portfolio companies Bayhill Therapeutics and Phenomix also filed for IPOs in January of this year.

Moreover, Codexis announced in late 2007 that Shell Oil has extended its collaboration with the company for five years.

Union Square closes fund II

Union Square Ventures has closed its second fund with $156 million in capital commitments, according to a blog post on the firm’s website. The New York-based firm had closed its debut fund in 2004 with $125 million, and focuses on early stage Web services companies.

In other news, Union Square Ventures has promoted Albert Wegner from venture partner to partner. It also is keeping analyst Andrew Parker on as an associate.