Upfront Ventures Targets $250M For Third Growth-Stage Fund, Its Largest To Date

LA-area venture capital firms are on the raise, er, rise.

On Monday, Upfront Ventures filed paperwork with the SEC, disclosing its intent to raise as much as $250 million for its third growth-stage investment fund. General partners Mark Suster and Yves Sisteron are listed on the filing.

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Upfront Ventures got its start under a different name, GRP Partners, in 1996, led by Sisteron. Suster joined the firm in 2007. GRP Partners closed its fourth flagship venture fund in mid-2013 and rebranded to Upfront Ventures, referring both to the firm’s values—Suster mentioned “value[ing] transparency, easier access, multiple geographies and frank communications” in his post announcing Fund V—and its Los Angeles roots.

In the largely LA-centered entertainment industry, “upfronts” are meetings where television networks preview their upcoming content to advertisers (so they can buy ads against that content) and members of the media.

The firm primarily invests in seed and Series A deals, but it often follows on in subsequent rounds raised by its most successful portfolio companies. Typically, its for these follow-on deals that venture firms raise and earmark capital in “opportunity” or “growth” funds.

If closed out in full, “Upfront Growth III, L.P.” would be the largest in Upfront’s series of funds focusing on follow-on and later-stage investment deals. Upfront Ventures targeted $120 million for its second “opportunity fund” which it filed for May 2017. Upfront’s first opportunity fund targeted $100 million and was filed for in March 2015.

According to the document, which is dated July 1, the firm has not yet raised capital for the new fund. This being said, it’s possible the firm has or will close a portion of the targeted capital in the near future. Upfront Ventures is conducting the offering under Rule 506(b) of Regulation D, which states that a Form D must be filed within 15 days of the first sale of securities, in this case pooled investment fund interests.

The firm’s last major fund raise, for its sixth flagship seed and early-stage fund, was formally announced by general partner Mark Suster on June 29, 2017. The initial filing for “Upfront VI, L.P.” was dated May 31, 2017, about one month earlier. That first filing for Fund VI, like Monday’s Growth Fund III filing, also stated the first capital close didn’t happen yet. The same is true for “Upfront V, L.P.,” which was first disclosed in SEC filings dated November 20, 2014, and Mark Suster blogged about it on December 16th, 26 days later.

If Monday’s filing fits a multi-year pattern of filings and eventual announcements, we should expect to hear something from Suster on his blog within a month or two.

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