Early Facebook investor raises $1.35 billion

June 17, 2011, 12:22 AM UTC

When it comes to venture capital, the rich just keep getting richer.

Venture capital firm Accel Partners has raised $1.35 billion for a pair of new funds, after less than two months in market.

The larger of the two is Accel’s second growth equity fund, which closed on $875 million. This compares to $480 million raised for the firm’s debut growth equity fund in 2008.

In a statement, the firm described its growth equity strategy as follows:

“Accel Partners strategy for growth investing is quite different from others in the industry that use similar terminology.  Of the investments to-date in the Growth fund, all were cash flow positive at time of investment. Accel Partners has been the first institutional capital in 75% of these growth deals, and 90%+ deals have had under $5MM of paid in capital at the time of investment.  Accel investments in Growth Equity I include: Facebook, Groupon, 99Designs, Collective Media, OzForex, Atlassian, Squarespace, ShowroomPrive, Rovio, NextG Networks, & Yapstone.”

Accel also secured $475 million for its eleventh general fund, compared to $520 million for its 2007 predecessor. Earlier this year, it closed on $1.3 billion for a pair of China-focused vehicles.

All of this is part of a broader VC market stratification, in which a small handful of firms like Accel are able to raise buckets of cash while most everyone else begs for scraps. The upper tier is far more exclusive than top-quartile or even top-decile. Instead, it’s about two dozen firms with exceptional returns and, in general, hot Internet companies like Facebook, Twitter, Groupon or Zynga within their portfolios.

Accel, of course, was the earliest VC investor in Facebook. It remains the social network’s largest outside shareholder, despite having sold a small portion of its holdings via secondary transactions.