VC fund briefs, week of Nov. 5, 2007

Cisco launches China investment initiative

San Jose, Calif.-based network equipment maker Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) last week announced a $16 billion expansion into China, including a $100 million venture capital investment partnership with government-owned China Development Bank.

The venture partnership with CDB will in such Chinese businesses as information technology, health care and communications.

The agreement includes an agreement with Alibaba Group, China’s largest online commerce company, to explore developing business services for small and medium-size companies.

Cisco previously agreed to invest $17 million in Alibaba as part of the Chinese company’s planned IPO in Hong Kong that is expected to raise up to $1.5 billion. Alibaba says it will use the money to expand abroad.

Dace holds first close

Dace Ventures has held a first close of over $70 million on its debut fund. The Waltham, Mass.-based firm focuses on early stage Internet-related companies, and is led by Dave Andonian, former president and COO of CMGI.

The firm last week also announced that it led the $10 million Series B investment in Vitrue Inc., a provider of video-centric social media services (see Week in deals, page 11). Vitrue is one of five companies in Dace’s portfolio.

Clarus plans new life sciences fund

Clarus Ventures is about to begin fund-raising for its second life sciences fund, which is expected to target from $600 million to $700 million, according to Private Equity Insider. The Cambridge, Mass.-based firm raised $500 million for its inaugural fund in 2006.

The firm is expected to begin marketing in the next month or two.

Clarus spun-out from Boston-based MPM Capital in 2005.

Indian firm targets $150M


, an Indian firm previously known as APIDC Venture Capital, is targeting $150 million for a new fund that will focus on early stage and growth stage technology opportunities. The Hyderabad-based firm already has secured nearly $100 million in commitments for Hyderabad-based.

The fund will focus on the digital divide and the needs small and medium-sized enterprises. The core team of the fund includes founder and Managing Partner Sarath Naru and General Partners Raghu Mendu and Siddhartha Das.

Bay City nears $500M goal

Bay City Capital has raised $446 million toward a fifth venture fund with a target of $500 million, according to a regulatory filing.

The San Francisco-based health care investor raised $350 million for its fourth fund in 2004, according to Thomson Financial (publisher of PE Week). The filing shows that there were 55 investors. It did not list the names of general or limited partners.

VentureWire reported that the firm has already raised $500 million, citing an interview with firm founder Fred Craves.

Wasatch holds first close

Wasatch Venture Fund
of Salt Lake City has held a first and final close on $150 million for its fourth venture fund, according to a regulatory filing.

This is its largest fund to date. It raised $58 million for its third fund in 2001, according to Thomson Financial. The general partners are Todd Stevens, Kent Madsen and Eleftherios “Nick” Efstratis. The filing did not list the number or names of limited partners.