Wildcat Venture Partners launches, focuses on early-stage startups

Reuters News
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Posted: Jun 02, 2016 1:04 PM

By Sarah McBride

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Partners from two longtime Silicon Valley venture-capital firms said they are launching a third: Wildcat Venture Partners, a firm focused on the stage where young companies have products ready to put on the market.

Mohr Davidow's Bill Ericson, Katherine Barr, and Bryan Stolle, along with InterWest's Bruce Cleveland, have quietly been making investments under the umbrella of their new firm for several months. They include bets on senior-health business Clover and business-loan service Kabbage.

Named after wildcatters, the U.S. adventurers who try to uncover oil and gas deposits, the firm's partners aspire to live up to its name.

"We are using data and science to identify areas of 'trapped value' in early stage technology companies," said Cleveland. He believes he and his colleagues can offer help at a frustrating time for many start-ups: when a product exists, but does not yet generate outsized revenue, leading to difficulty raising venture cash.

While individual Wildcat partners have notched up many successes, including Marketo <MKTO.O> and Rally Software <RALY>N>, overall both Mohr Davidow and InterWest have faded in recent years.

At a time when successful firms raise new investment funds every two or three years, Mohr Davidow's last fund was a $670 million fund raised in 2007. InterWest, now focused on healthcare, last raised $650 million in August 2008.

Cleveland declined to specify how much Wildcat was seeking to raise for its initial fund.

(Reporting by Sarah McBride)