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North Bridge Venture Partners puts fundraising on ice

Sep 22, 2015

North Bridge Venture Partners has given up raising its eighth early-stage investing fund and some of its remaining partners are moving on, Fortune has learned.

The bi-coastal firm has been in business for more than two decades, but sagging returns and recent personnel upheaval turned off prospective investors, including many who committed more than $525 million for North Bridge's seventh early-stage fund in 2008 (North Bridge also has a growth equity practice, which continues unabated).

Paul Santinelli, who has been with North Bridge for more than a decade and launched in Silicon Valley office, said the following via email:

"After spending time testing the market, we gathered enough data to make the decision to pause Fund 8. There were two driving factors - lack of interest in early-stage investing outside of the consumer internet space (we are not active in this segment) and lack of liquidity in current portfolios. We believe that liquidity in our portfolios is going to improve dramatically over the next twelve months. At that time, we will evaluate the limited partners' appetite for inception based investing."

But if there really is a reconstituted version of NBVP, then it would look very different from the group that tried to raise this fund. General partners Michael Skok and Jonathan Heiliger left nearly a year ago, and remaining general partner Ric Fulop (founder of A123 Systems) recently departed to form a new 3D printing company called Desktop Metal. Fellow general partner Jamie Goldstein also is said to be leaving, but there are no words yet on his future plans.

Santinelli said that he will remain, splitting his time between Silicon Valley and the firm's suburban Boston headquarters. Expect that both Fulop and Goldstein will continue to work with existing portfolio companies.

North Bridge founder Ed Anderson declined comment.

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