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Sapphire Ventures Closes on $1.4B To Invest In Late-Stage Startups

Note: This story was updated post-publication with further details from the firm.

‘Tis the season for megafunds.

Sapphire Ventures announced this morning it has closed on $1.4 billion in new capital.

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In a statement, the Palo Alto-based firm said it will use the majority of the money toward investing in expansion and late-stage “companies of consequence” in the U.S., Europe and Israel.

The $1.4 billion capital raise, according to the firm, is a combination of Sapphire Growth Fund IV, a $150 million Opportunity Fund (which will we get into more later), and extensions of previous funds.

Sapphire said it plans to write first checks of up to $100 million per company out of the new fund, which brings the firm’s total assets under management to more than $4 billion.

Specifically, according to the firm, the opportunity fund is a “$150 million dollar investment vehicle that can co-invest with our core growth fund on direct investments, enabling us to invest up to $100 million initially across the two funds.”

A busy year

In just over one year, Sapphire says it has invested in 15 new companies and has had five portfolio company exits, including Google’s recent acquisition of Fitbit. We’ve covered some of those fundings, including Highspot’s $75 million raise from earlier this month, Reonomy’s $60 million Series D from November, and Pendo’s $100 million Series E in October. 

Over the last year, Sapphire’s exits include Livongo going public in July and Looker being acquired by Google Cloud in June. It also saw three other companies – Return Path, Jibe, and Onventis – acquired this year by different entities.

Since it became an independent firm (from SAP) in 2011, Sapphire says it has had more than 55 exits, including 21 IPOs. In December 2018, it closed on a $115 million sports tech fund. And in 2016, it closed on its $1 billion Fund III.

As many other VC firms do, Sapphire points out that it helps its portfolio companies beyond just providing capital. It has a portfolio growth services division that is focused on making introductions to potential customers, partners, and new hires as well as hosting events and executive briefings.

According to Sapphire Ventures CEO and Managing Director Nino Marakovich, the firm now has nearly two dozen LPs across its investment platforms — Sapphire Ventures, Sapphire Partners, and Sapphire Sport.  With the latest capital raise, he says the firm added “a large endowment” as an LP in the opportunity fund.  The participating LP has declined to be publicly identified.

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias

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