Atlas Venture has closed its ninth fund, having raised $265 million, according to a report today by Dan Primack. The oversubscribed fund will continue Atlas’s current trajectory of aggressively investing at the seed stage in Boston startups.
Primack begins his piece with a recap of the firm’s orientation, after scaling back significantly in terms of both fund size and geography. As he notes, those transformations aren’t easy. But the fund close reaffirms the fund’s current seed strategy.
This post by Atlas’s Fred Destin goes into more detail about the firm’s reinvention:
Over 2007-2008, there were periods of doubt. I considered leaving; it’s tough to find a new partner in European VC and I had a lot of inbound interest. I stayed for two reasons. First, I decided to make Atlas my battle of Thermopyles. I set down my shield and planted my lance and thought : I will make this work no matter what. I will take failure when it comes but I will fight for this one, make it mine. The second reason was my partner Jeff Fagnan. We’re brothers in arms in this; I was not going anywhere.
So I stayed. Goodbye Europe, hello Boston.
I also like Fred’s insistence that the firm move from Waltham to the city.
With lots of firms expanding their geography, Atlas is doubling down on Boston. Outside the occasional West Coast deal, the firm is firmly Boston focused, with an emphasis on getting seed checks out the door quickly. The knock on Boston as recently as a couple years back was that the VC’s were too conservative and seed funding was hard to come by. That’s no longer accurate, in large part because of Atlas.
UPDATE: Atlas’s Bruce Booth, who invests on the life science side of the house, also has a good post on the new fund. Here’s a bit about the constants between the firm’s tech and life sciences investments:
Although a hybrid sector model, we have a shared philosophy and strategy around getting involved early in a company’s life, helping with strategy and product development, and working closely with entrepreneurs to help build them into successful business. Many have asked us why we stick together when many hybrid funds are splitting. First and foremost, we like each other. Second, it works: some vintages Tech has outperformed, some vintages Life Sciences has outperformed. Lastly, as a Life Science investor, I think its great discipline to have a Tech counterpoint to keep us honest on things like capital efficiency (and data suggests as much – healthcare deals done by hybrid investors have outperformed, see here). I suspect the same is true for my Tech partners.
Disclosure: Atlas’s Jeff Fagnan was an angel investor in Streetwise Media, BostInno’s parent company.