Felicis Ventures, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based venture fund started by early Google employee Aydin Senkut has raised a new $70 million fund. The investment group is one of the most respected early stage investors and is known for its investments in Angry Birds developer Rovio, Inkling and Shopify.
The firm got its start by making investments from Senkut’s pocket and later raised a $41 million fund to invest in early stage companies. Since then, the firm has added two new investment professionals – Renata Quintini and Sundeep Peechu. With almost 29 exits – both big and small – under its belt, raising a new fund wasn’t too difficult for team Felicis.
While the past fund garnered investments from institutional investors and individuals such as Peter Thiel and Gmail creator & Googler Paul Buchheit, the new fund has attracted institutional money from the likes of Rockefeller University (endowment) and Tencent. Institutional investor participation was at 92% in this new fund.
If mobile applications and e-commerce were the big focus for the first institutional fund, then this time the company is looking at new emerging categories such as 3D printing and bio-informatics. “The next Facebook won’t look anything like Facebook,” says Senkut, who believes the big opportunities lie in bio-informatics.
Senkut says his firm doesn’t chase trends or “what’s hot” and instead takes a more longterm approach to sectors that are ripe for fundamental innovation. A perfect example, he says is Inkling, which is tapping into the fundamental re-imagining of the idea of education.