Baird Capital Raises $185M for 4th VC Fund, Beating Target

Baird Capital says it has raised $185 million for its fourth venture capital fund, exceeding the $150 million target it set when it began courting investors in February.

The fourth VC fund is Baird’s largest to date. That’s likely a bit of welcome news for Midwest startups, where venture capital is harder to come by. Baird’s VC group invests around the country, and even outside of it, but its portfolio is chock full of Midwest companies—no doubt helped by the fact that its team is based in Chicago and Milwaukee.

Of course, Baird’s fourth fund is still small potatoes when compared with some of the bigger coastal VCs like Andreessen Horowitz, which closed on a $1.5 billion multi-stage VC fund this year, and Accel Partners, which raised a $475 million early-stage fund and $1 billion growth-stage fund this year.

Chicago-based Baird Capital is the private investment arm of Milwaukee-based financial services company Robert W. Baird & Co. Since 1989, Baird Capital has raised more than $3 billion and invested in more than 280 companies across its venture capital, growth equity, and private equity funds.

The VC group focuses on early and growth-stage companies in healthcare and “technology-enabled services.” It typically invests $10 million to $15 million per company, including initial and follow-on investments.

Baird’s first VC fund totaled $30 million, followed by funds of $70 million and $170 million, Baird spokeswoman Angela Pittman Taylor says. She declined to provide details about the funds’ return on investment.

Baird’s latest VC fund got commitments from returning investors like the State of Wisconsin Investment Board and new backers such as the Venture Michigan Fund and Shelter Insurance, Taylor says.

The newest fund has already made five investments: Madison, WI-based Catalyze; Nashville, TN-based Emids; Seattle-based Integrated Diagnostics, which goes by Indi; Ann Arbor, MI-based NeuMoDx Molecular; and Boston-based WordStream.

Besides Catalyze, Baird’s other current VC investments in Wisconsin include Delafield-based Montage Talent and Middleton-based Zurex Pharma. Taylor says Baird has earned a return on at least three Wisconsin investments: TomoTherapy, NimbleGen Systems, and Pinstripe.

Jeff Engel is a senior editor at Xconomy. Email: jengel@xconomy.com Follow @JeffEngelXcon

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