SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Venture capital firm Lightspeed Venture Partners has raised $1.8 billion to invest in startups from cryptocurrency to beauty supplies, hoping to build on its streak of lucrative bets in companies such as Snap Inc (SNAP.N), the firm’s partners told Reuters.
FILE PHOTO: Bitcoin investor Jeremy Liew, a Partner at Lightspeed Venture Partners, speaks at a New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) virtual currency hearing in the Manhattan borough of New York January 28, 2014. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
Lightspeed has historically been an early-stage investment firm and was the first outside investor in Snap’s messaging app Snapchat. But about $1.05 billion of the new funding will be earmarked for a separate fund to invest in more mature companies, the partners said on Monday. The dollar amount is more than double the size of its previous growth-stage fund.
Lightspeed is eyeing a business expansion to Southeast Asia and wants to add investments in cryptocurrency, biotechnology, new TV streaming services and even cosmetics companies.
As startups stay private for longer, relying on venture capital rather than the public markets for funding, firms like Lightspeed have to invest repeatedly in a company for years if they want to maintain a large enough ownership stake.
“That trend has only been increasing over time, and as a result our funds have been getting bigger over time as well,” said Jeremy Liew, a Lightspeed partner. Later-stage companies are less likely to go belly up, but are also less likely to provide extraordinary returns, he said.
Lightspeed also said it hired a new partner, Brad Twohig, formerly an investor with Insight Venture Partners, who will help lead the firm’s growth investments.
The firm’s larger fund for growth-stage investing reflects a shift in the venture capital industry that has been underway for years, as deep-pocketed investors from every corner of the globe have piled into startup i