Despite the ominous predictions saying that VC funds will have difficulty raising more money this year, Lightspeed Venture Partners has announced the closing of its eight fund (Lightspeed Venture Partners VIII), oversubscribing its $675 million target by $125 million reaching a grand total of $800 million. The recent round puts Lightspeed Ventures at $2 billion under management. To give you a perspective, that is more or less equivallent to the overall capital avaialble in Israel for for Venture investments in 2008.
The Israeli branch of Lightspeed was founded in June 2006 and it is managed by former serial entrepreneur, Yoni Cheifetz. Before joining Lightspeed, Cheifetz was a partner with Star Ventures (an Israeli VC fund) as well as founder and CEO of several companies: Agentics (acquired by Mercado), Earnix and Traiana. Among the noticable Israeli exits of Lightspeed Venture Patrners, you’ll find Galileo, sold to Marvell for $2.7 billion and Terayon Communication sold to Motorola for $140 million. Lightspeed currently invests in about 70 portcos around the world, 15 of which are Israeli: OpTier, Outbrain, WeFi, Audio Pixels, ScaleMP, Skybox Security, Pixer Technology and more. In additoon, in 2007 Lightspeed launched the Lightspeed-Gemini Internet Lab, a joint initiative with Gemini Israel Funds to seed early-stage, Israel-based Internet companies.
Peter Nieh, managing director said in the press release:
“While we expect the majority of Lightspeed VIII portfolio companies to be headquartered in the U.S., Lightspeed investment professionals have been investing internationally for over 10 years, and we expect to deploy substantial capital in China, India and Israel”
Cheifetz told The Marker that he’s not worried about the recent downturn in the economy. He believes that breakdowns come and go, but there will always be technology companies who provide value.