VC fund briefs, week of Nov. 26, 2007

IDG launches South Korean fund

IDG Ventures has raised a $100 million venture capital fund focused on early stage tech companies in South Korea.

The fund, based in Seoul, is run by CEO and Managing General Partner Duk-Hwan Oh, former managing director in North Asia for market research company IDC. The team also includes Sung-Taw Jie as vice president and general partner, Matthew Lee as CFO and Hak-Kyoon Kim, a junior partner.

The partners, looking to capitalize on South Korea’s high adoption rate of technology products and services, expect to make their first investment before the end of the year. The firm also expects to invest in between 30 and 50 companies over the next five years.

“While around 70% of our investments will be in companies based in Korea, we will also invest in companies outside Korea that want to leverage Korean companies as critical offshore cooperative partners or want to drive significant sales revenue from the Korean market,” said Oh.

The fund now gives IDG partnerships in South Korea, India, Vietnam, China and the United States.

IDG is one of several venture firms investing in South Korea. Altos Ventures, DCM and Storm Ventures have also been active in the region recently, and BlueRun Ventures, the former venture arm of Nokia Corp., has long been investing in South Korean tech companies.

Updata closes fund IV

Updata Partners has closed its fourth fund with just over $223 million in capital commitments. The firm, which has offices in Reston, Va., and Edison, N.J., focuses on growth stage technology investments. The firm raised more than $150 million for its previous fund, which closed in 2004.

Coinciding with the close of the fund, Updata Partners has promoted Rich Erickson to general partner and Carter Griffin to partner.

Matrix triples fund to $450M

Matrix Partners India, an early stage venture firm in Mumbai, India, and an affiliate of U.S.-based Matrix Partners, expanded its consumer services fund from $150 million to about $450 million. The firm did not disclose limited partners, but the added funds came from existing investors.

The venture and growth capital investment firm will now make larger growth capital investments up to $30 million in consumer services businesses while continuing to make smaller venture capital investments in early stage companies.

Avnish Bajaj

, co-founder and managing director, told ContentSutra, an Indian news website that covers technology, that over the past few months, firms such as ICICI Ventures, ChrysCapital and 3i have moved north of the $30 million to $40 million range of their investments, and Matrix saw an opportunity there. There is less competition outside of the hotly contested Internet and mobile space, with such sectors as financial services, media and entertainment and travel, Bajaj said.

However, he added that the firm is likely to often encounter Sequoia Capital when investing in deals in that range.

Matrix, whose investment team includes six professionals from Mumbai, has invested about $40 million in such companies as Asklaila, Itzcash, Seventymm and Yo! China.

“In our first year of existence, we have made five investments in a variety of companies which play to the core of our consumer services thesis,” Bajaj said.

PA Early Stage changes name

PA Early Stage Partners has changed its name to Novitas Capital, the Wayne, Pa.-based venture firm announced last week.

The firm, which has invested in early stage technology and life sciences companies since it was founedd in 1997, said that the name change is designed to better reflect the firm’s focus and reach. Taken from Latin, Novitas (pronounced nO-vee-tahs) means “new” and “novel,” which the firm says aptly describes how it invests and supports startups.

the firm, which also has offices in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Allendale, New Jersey; and Morgantown, West Virginia, currently manages about 30 active portfolio companies and $238 million under management across three venture capital funds.

Among its company liquidations is, a provider of personalized digital traffic information for drivers coast-to-coast, which went public in January 2006 and was subsequently acquired in March 2007 by Navteq for about $177 million; AANetcom, a fabless semiconductor company, which was acquired by PMC-Sierra in a transaction valued at about $900 million; OraSure Technologies, a developer of oral fluid diagnostics, which merged with a publicly traded company in a stock deal valued at about $255 million; and, which operates an exchange that connects buyers and sellers, and which was acquired by eBay in a transaction valued at about $300 million.