General Catalyst Raises $675M Seventh Fund
The venture capital firm General Catalyst Partners has raised $675 million for its seventh fund to invest in startups.
Founded 13 years as a Boston-based firm, General Catalyst set up shop on the West Coast three years ago. Since then, it has backed San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles companies including Stripe, Airbnb, the Honest Company and GoodData.
One thing General Catalyst does that’s somewhat more unusual is that it helps incubate companies, including the travel search site Kayak, and more recently, subscription snacks company NatureBox, Hadoop-as-a-service company Altiscale, and enterprise collaboration company Highfive.
The firm also seeks to have closer relationships with Stanford and MIT students who might join or start companies, so it has launched a sub-fund called Rough Draft Ventures to back students.
General Catalyst’s West Coast team now has three main partners, including Neil Sequeira (who we interviewed in 2010, when he moved out) on commerce and marketplaces (sample investment: Listia); Hemant Taneja on the platform shift to mobile (sample investment: Stripe); and former VMware CTO Steve Herrod on enterprise infrastructure and security (sample investment, though still in stealth: Illumio).
In general, General Catalyst backs software companies, but it’s also behind startups like eyeware maker Warby Parker, which just raised another big round.
In a conversation last week, Taneja offered an interesting insight about why there’s currently an opportunity to launch great products, like Snapchat (where he is closely involved), rather than platform plays. “Being a product is an advantage because everything else can be leveraged,” is how he put it. He wrote a column on similar topics called “Economies of the Unscale” for Harvard Business Review.
As part of the formalization of moving west and establishing a fully bicoastal organization, the three men and their teams are setting up shop in Palo Alto, in a Victorian house that’s currently under renovation.