Paul Allen’s Vulcan Capital expanding to Silicon Valley

Paul Allen

Paul Allen

Updated with details of the new office’s leader.

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen’s investment arm, Vulcan Capital, plans to open a new office in Silicon Valley, expanding its presence and looking for new investments.

Paul Ghaffari, Vulcan Capital’s chief investment officer, tells the Reuters news service that the new office in Palo Alto, Calif., is part of an effort to “expand our footprint in broad tech investments.” He adds, “We have a real appetite to put new ideas in the portfolio.”

A Vulcan representative confirmed the plans. The company is expected to name the leader of the new office soon.

Allen’s investment record since leaving Microsoft in 1983 has been mixed. He sunk billions into Charter Communications prior to its bankruptcy, and acknowledged in his memoir that he overpaid for his stake in DreamWorks under the impression that he would have more say in the studio’s strategy. His ongoing investments include Seattle consumer Internet startups Decide.com and Redfin.

The Microsoft co-founder also has put himself at odds with many established Silicon Valley companies through a patent lawsuit filed by his now-defunct Interval Research lab against Google, Apple, eBay, Yahoo, Facebook and other Internet titans.

Abhishek Agrawal

Abhishek Agrawal

Update, 4/2/13: Vulcan Capital this morning named Abhishek Agrawal, formerly of the General Atlantic investment firm, to lead the office. He has been involved in General Atlantic’s investments in companies including Alibaba Group, Dice Holdings, Facebook, Gilt Groupe, Network Solutions and others.

Vulcan says in a news release: “Vulcan Capital’s expansion into Silicon Valley reinforces its decades-long commitment to technology-related companies, which make up a significant portion of its investment portfolio. This new office will focus on making investments in the $10-million to $100-million range in internet and technology companies, including mid- to late- stage venture capital, growth equity, recaps, buyouts and strategic public market block investments. Vulcan Capital will have an office in downtown Palo Alto and is planning to hire a full team to work under Mr. Agrawal in upcoming months.”