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Sapphire Ventures has $1 billion in fresh funding to invest


Sapphire Ventures, a Palo Alto, Ca.-based venture firm funded solely by the German software giant SAP, has secured a whopping $1 billion to invest across two new funds: a $700 million growth fund, and a $300 million early-stage tech fund.

The capital places the group into a ever-growing circle of venture groups that have raised north of a billion dollars in 2016, including Founders Fund, Lightspeed Ventures Partners, Accel Partners, Andreessen Horowitz, and Norwest Venture Partners.

In fact, Sapphire is a bit like Norwest in that it has a single limited partner. (In Norwest’s case, it’s Wells Fargo.) But neither considers itself a corporate venture unit. While Sapphire benefits from its ties to SAP, it operates like a traditional venture firm, meaning it doesn’t invest with the idea of funding companies that can somewhat benefit or eventually sell to SAP.

The firm was spun out of SAP to become an independent firm in 2011 and has since funded 14 companies that have gone public, including the software companies Box, Square, and Apigee; it’s also funded 33 companies that have been acquired, including LinkedIn.

Sapphire typically writes initial checks to startups of between $10 million and $25 million and seeks out companies that have at least $5 million in revenue.

Sapphire closed its second fund with $651 million in 2013 and its debut fund with $353 million in 2011.

Its exponential capital growth mirrors the trajectory of other venture firms of late, including Sherpa Capital, which recently closed on $470 million (up from a $154 million debut fund) and Forerunner Ventures, which recently closed a $122 million fund, up from the $40 million debut fund it was managing in 2012.


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