GGV Capital raises $1.2 billion as venture fundraising streak continues

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Managing partner of GGV Capital, Jenny Lee poses for a portrait in Menlo Park, California August 24, 2015. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith
Managing partner of GGV Capital, Jenny Lee poses for a portrait in Menlo Park, California August 24, 2015.

Reuters/Robert Galbraith

Venture firm GGV Capital has raised $1.2 billion in fresh cash to back technology startups in the United States and China, the latest in a streak of new, billion-dollar-plus funds closed by venture capital firms.

GGV Capital, which has backed high-growth tech companies such as Airbnb, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, Pandora Media Inc and Square Inc, said it will use the new fund to invest in companies making smartphone and Web-based technology that can serve customers across the globe.

The $1.2 billion is split between a roughly $900 million fund that will be used for the majority of GGV’s investments in early- and growth-stage companies, and another $250 million fund that will primarily be used to back early-stage startups in China.

Founded in 2000, GGV Capital was one of the first to establish itself as a true cross-border venture firm, investing in both U.S.- and China-based startups.

The new fund came on the heels of a record quarter for venture capital fundraising. Firms raised $12 billion for 57 funds, the most since the second quarter of 2006, according to the National Venture Capital Association. Last month, Lightspeed Venture Partners closed $1.2 billion in new funding and Accel Partners raised $2 billion.

Many venture firms are eager to close new funds as they anticipate volatility in the broader economy, and want to make sure they have cash on hand to invest in startups before funding freezes up.

“A lot of (venture firms) have to be conservative because they aren’t sure when they are going to raise their next fund,” said Hans Tung, managing partner at GGV Capital.

GGV will start investing from the new fund in June or July; it still has cash remaining from a $620 million fund it raised in 2014, Tung said.

GGV raised this fund more quickly than previous ones, Tung said – less than two years after closing its last fund. As startups demanded more cash at a higher valuation during the past few years – with a record number of financing rounds soaring past $100 million – many venture firms depleted their funds more quickly.

Tung said he expects that will change; venture firms are more carefully vetting startups before writing a check, taking a longer time to do deals than they did over the last couple of years.

“People are a lot more cautious now,” he said. “The last two years were obviously crazy. It’s calmed down.”

(Reporting by Heather Somerville; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)