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The Ignition team, from left to right: Frank Artale, John Connors and Nick Sturiale
The Ignition team, from left to right: Frank Artale, John Connors and Nick Sturiale

Ignition Partners has more fuel in the tank.

The Bellevue venture capital firm — an early-stage backer of companies such as Chef, Cloudera and Couchbase — today is announcing a $200 million fund to focus on a new class of enterprise software startups. It marks the sixth fund for the firm, which was created by former Microsoft and McCaw Cellular vets in 2000.

ignition-logo5555Ignition has changed a lot since it was first founded, with all of the founding partners moving on. The fund is now led by former Microsoft CFO John Connors, former Microsoft and Xensource executive Frank Artale and Silicon Valley venture capitalist Nick Sturiale.

Ignition raised a $160 million fund in April 2013, using that cash to support companies such as Azuqua, Tempered Networks, Tellwise and TipBit.

Ignition said it had demand to raise up to $300 million, but it decided to keep the fund small and focused on enterprise software. It plans to back 15 to 20 startups with the new funds.

“In a world where ‘big’ gets the attention, we embrace the notion of being an ‘anti-scale’ venture firm. We leverage our presence being in Palo Alto and both Amazon and Microsoft’s back yard coupled with our outsized devotion to a small number of entrepreneurial teams to help generate differential outcomes,” said partner Nick Sturiale in a press release. “As well, part of our model is to work with a core group of world-class LPs, whose support is instrumental helping guide our investment thesis on what will likely be a notable vintage of new market-making companies.”

Ignition has met with success recently, with the firm saying that it has realized more than $800 million in liquidity through IPOs, acquisitions and significant follow-on fundings. Big deals include the IPO of Splunk, as well as acquisitions of Azaleos, Parse, Topsy and Tier3. Portfolio company DocuSign also just picked up $233 million in additional venture funding.

Artale tells GeekWire that the firm will continue with the same focus in the new fund as it did in fund five, bankrolling companies in the Internet of Things and industrial Internet applications.

Ignition is one of the primary Seattle area venture capital firms, along with Maveron, Madrona Venture Group and Voyager Capital. Madrona also is in the process of raising a new fund, following the $300 million fund that it raised in the summer of 2012.

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