The idea: to address a comparative dearth of capital for startups that are looking for Series B and C funding, now that non-traditional players like Fidelity and BlackRock are investing less actively in privately held startups.
Mutual funds aren’t alone in pulling back, of course. Funding for U.S. startups fell 25 percent from the fourth quarter to $13.9 billion, the largest quarterly decline on record since the dot-com bust, according to data from Dow Jones VentureSource. But second rounds fell 14 percent, compared with a drop of 6 percent for first rounds. (Thus, the opportunity on which Menlo smartly sold its investors.)
Menlo, which closed its most recent early-stage fund in 2015 with $400 million in commitments, says its new fund was raised in six weeks’ time and that it was oversubscribed.
Some of Menlo’s most notable bets in recent years include the still privately held companies Uber, Warby Parker and Betterment. Among its exits: Dropcam sold to Nest Labs for $555 million in 2014.