This must be the year for Seattle area venture capital firms to hit the fundraising trail. Madrona Venture Group has already raised the largest fund in its history, a $300 million whopper that closed in June. Frazier Healthcare Ventures, Divergent Venture and Voyager Capital also are on the prowl.
Now, word comes via The Wall Street Journal that Ignition Partners is looking to raise a $250 million fund that it will use to bankroll early-stage companies. It has been five years since Ignition last raised money, a $400 million fund.
Since then, the firm has altered its approach, including splitting off a group of partners to focus on later-stage investments through an entity known as Ignition Capital. It also remains involved in a Chinese venture capital firm, known as Qiming Venture Partners.
The firm, originally started by veteran executives from Microsoft and McCaw Cellular with a focus on deals in the Pacific Northwest, also has broadened its geographic reach. Now, many of the firm’s new investments are outside of Washington state, including a flurry of new deals last year in Silicon Valley upstarts.
Ignition’s recent successes include Splunk, which completed a $230 million initial public offering last year and has been one of the better performing new tech stocks on Wall Street, and Heroku, which was acquired by Salesforce.com for $212 million in 2010. In Seattle, mobile text input company Swype was acquired by Nuance Communications for $102.5 million last year.
A spokeswoman for Ignition declined to comment on the fundraising efforts.