New Enterprise Associates, the venture firm that has backed Groupon, Salesforce, Workday, Fusion-io, and others, is opening an outpost in Chicago, to serve its growing portfolio in the region. The announcement was made in conjunction with an investment in Chicago-based payments platform Braintree.
Currently, the firm, which has $13 billion under management, has U.S. offices in the Washington, D.C. region, Menlo Park, Calif., and New York City, as well as affiliate operations in Shanghai and Beijing, China; and Bangalore and Mumbai, India.
“NEA partners with great entrepreneurs around the world, and we’ve discovered that many of them are based here in Chicago,” said Peter Barris, Managing General Partner, NEA. “This city’s entrepreneurs have transformed traditional industries, like advertising and logistics, and today are shaping new ones, like social media and mobile payments. NEA has been investing in Chicago for more than 25 years, and it has been thrilling to play a role in the city’s emergence as one of the nation’s premiere technology hubs. Establishing an office will help us serve our growing portfolio and become even more deeply rooted in Chicago’s flourishing tech community.”
NEA has actually invested more than $300 million in 20 Chicago-based companies including Groupon, ArcSight, Cleversafe, Echo Global Logistics, InnerWorkings, Neutral Tandem, and Sprout Social. Barris himself is a Chicago native who serves on the boards of a number of Chicago-based companies including Groupon, BenchPrep, Sprout Social and Goji.
NEA also announced that its portfolio company Zumper, an apartment rental website that matches landlords with potential tenants, will be expanding to Chicago this year after launching in New York and San Francisco. Zumper launched at TechCrunch Disrupt in September.
Considering the growing number of Chicago investments in NEA’s portfolio, it makes sense for the firm to have a presence in the area to help these companies, as well as keep a track of deal flow in the Windy City. Lightbank, the venture firm started by Groupon co-founders Brad Keywell and Eric Lefkofsky, is also based in Chicago, joining New World Ventures, OCA Ventures and other Chicago-based firms.
NEA also just raised $2.6 billion for NEA 14, its fourteenth venture capital fund.
Disclosure: My husband is an employee of Groupon.