Geodesic Capital Closes $335M First Fund For Growth Investing

Geodesic Capital, a year-old venture capital firm that plans to help U.S. companies expand into Japan and other countries in Asia, has raised a $335 million inaugural fund with backing from anchor investor and co-founder Mitsubishi.

In addition to Mitsubishi’s business contacts as a diverse global enterprise, Foster City, CA-based Geodesic comes with the ready-made Silicon Valley networks of its U.S. co-founders. They are John Roos (pictured at left), former U.S. Ambassador to Japan and former CEO of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, a law firm noted for its tech sector clients; and Ashvin Bachireddy (at right), a former growth-stage partner at VC firm Andreessen Horowitz.

Geodesic’s sizable first fund surpassed the largest inaugural fund raised during the first quarter of 2016, when investors committed $200 million to Los Angeles-based 1955 Capital, according to a report by Thomson Reuters and the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA).

Only 14 new venture firms made their debuts last quarter, a drop of 33 percent compared to the first quarter of 2015. If the year continues at that pace, the number of new funds could drop into a range not seen since 2010 and 2011, in the wake of the financial crisis. But things could look brighter if 2016 repeats the pattern of 2015, when the number of first-time funds surged in the second quarter. A total of 85 new investment firms raised their first funds in 2015.

Taking both new and follow-on funds together, 57 funds raised $12 billion in the first quarter of 2016. That was a dollar increase of 59 percent compared to the first quarter of 2015, Thomson Reuters and the NVCA reported. The data also show an increasing concentration of investment dollars in a smaller number of funds. The top five funds raised 43 percent of the total raised in 2016’s first quarter.

Joining Mitsubishi as investors in the Geodesic Capital Fund I were Nikon; Mitsubishi Heavy Industries; Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Insurance; and five banking institutions. Geodesic has formed a subsidiary, Geodesic Japan, to help the venture firm’s portfolio companies line up employees and partners so they can expand their markets in Japan and Asia.

Geodesic Capital was founded in May 2015. In September it made its first investment, in Emeryville, CA-based cybersecurity company Tanium. It has also invested in Palo Alto, CA-based application delivery company Instart Logic, and in 21 Inc., which sells a computer designed to help developers create Bitcoin payment systems.

Bernadette Tansey is Xconomy's San Francisco Editor. You can reach her at btansey@xconomy.com. Follow @Tansey_Xconomy

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