VC fund briefs, week of Sept. 24, 2007

Sigma 8 nets $500M

Sigma Partners has closed its eighth fund with $500 million in capital commitments, PE Week has learned. Don’t expect any major changes at the bi-coastal VC firm, which plans to continue investing mostly in early stage tech companies, plus a few deals in alternative energy.

“We do some consumer-facing Internet investments, but most of our tech focus is on things like semiconductors and software,” says Managing Director Greg Gretsch.

Sigma has not formally announced the fund, which keeps with its tradition of keeping a low media profile. But Gretsch did say that the firm has finished adding new portfolio companies to its $400 million seventh fund, which closed in 2005, and that it has already made its first deal out of Sigma 8.

All of the Sigma 7 partners are back for Sigma 8, except for the retiring Larry Finch, who is listed as a special limited partner. Sigma will maintain its dual offices in Boston and Menlo Park, Calif.

Newly launched Third Rock closes debut fund

A group of former life science executives have raised $378 million for Third Rock Ventures, a new Boston-based firm that will invest in early stage life sciences companies. The firms expects to announced its first deal by the end of the year.

Third Rock was co-founded by several industry veterans, including Mark Levin, former CEO of Millennium Pharmaceuticals Inc. and a onetime partner with Mayfield Fund until 1994.

Joining Levin are Kevin Starr, former COO and CFO of Millennium; Robert Tepper, previous chief science officer and head of R&D at Millennium; Lou Tartaglia, an author of more than 50 scientific publications; Nick Leschly, a business development and marketing biotech executive; and Anne-Mari Paster, who was previously CFO of MPM Capital.

NEA relocates East Coast office

New Enterprise Associates has moved most of its East Coast investment staff to a new office in Chevy Chase, Md. The group used to be split between Baltimore and Reston, Va. offices, with Baltimore now housing just administrative staff, and Reston having been shuttered.

The firm also has offices in Menlo Park, Bangalore and Shanghai.

Energy fund charged with $170M

Energy Ventures

has raised more than $170 million for its third venture capital fund focused on petroleum-related companies.

Helge Tveit, a founding partner of the Stavanger, Norway-based firm, recently established an office in Houston, Texas, to focus on business in North America.

New fund possible for SRF

Sevin Rosen Funds may not be done with the VC business, after all. The firm, which late last year pulled back fund-raising efforts for a new fund, saying that the VC model was broked, has changed its mind, Partner Jon Bayless told VentureWire.

Bayless said that the firm is looking at a new strategy to include more late stage deals, non-technology deals such as energy and health care, and overseas investments. A SRF spoksperson last week told PE Week that it was premature to say that the firm is fund-raising again.