Venrock closes fund, adds partner

Venrock closed $600 million for its fifth fund, added former Spark Networks CEO David Siminoff as a partner and moved closer to phasing out New York-based Managing General Partner Tony Evnin.

The firm announced last month that it hired a new partner to help shoulder the investing duties. Rich Moran, a longtime Silicon Valley consultant and author, will focus on digital media and software investments. The firm is controlled by three managing general partners: Bryan Roberts, Ray Rothrock and Anthony Sun. Evnin, the firm’s only managing general partner outside of Menlo Park, Calif., will serve a general partner in the fifth fund and will continue working with his existing portfolio companies of about 11 companies, PE Week has learned. Rothrock says that Evnin will provide senior leadership in New York, but he does not plan to do new deals.

Venrock considers New York as its U.S. headquarters, but nearly half of its investments have been in California. A little more than 6% of the money from its previous funds has gone into New York-based startups, according to Thomson Financial (publisher of PE Week). The firm also has offices in Cambridge Mass., and Herzelya Pituach, Israel.

Venrock ranks as one of the most active investors, having invested nearly $34 million in 14 deals in the first three months of the year, according to Thomson Financial (see related Q1 deal story on page 6). In 2006, Thomson Financial ranked Venrock as the 12th most active VC firm nationwide, having invested about $130 million in 45 companies.

In 2006, the firm had nine of its portfolio companies acquired and one, Trubion Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: TRBN) went public, according to Thomson Financial. Infinera Corp., a Venrock portfolio company, filed registration papers in March for a $150 million IPO.

As part of the fund V close, Venrock dropped “Associates” from its name and said that it will increase its energy related investments. Rothrock and Matt Trevithick, who was promoted to partner, will head up the firm’s energy practice. Rothrock also says that the firm will invest in small-cap public health care deals and media deals, thanks to the recent addition of Partner David Siminoff, a Silicon Valley investor who most recently was CEO of Spark Networks.

“We’ve been wanting to do media for a while, but didn’t have the right DNA until David came on board,” Rothrock says.

Venrock, which branched out from the Rockefeller family in 1995 when it started taking third-party capital, raised $550 million in 2003 with a smaller target than its $650 million vintage 2000 fund. Limited partners in previous Venrock funds include FLAG Venture Partners, Harvard Management Co., Princeton University Investment Co., Montagu Newhall Associates and the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, according to CapitalIQ.