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Exclusive: NEA partner Ryan Drant plans to form new VC firm

Ryan Drant is planning to launch a new venture capital firm, after having spent the past 19 years making healthcare investments for New Enterprise Associates.

Drant opted not to participate as a general partner on NEA’s 15th fund, which currently is in market with a $2.5 billion target. Some prospective investors say that the final figure could approach $2.8 billion, which would make it the largest VC fund in history.

“I’ve been with NEA for a long time, and am ready to try something on my own — something a little smaller and more manageable,” Drant explains. “I’d like to get a couple of partners and maybe raise between $250 million and $300 million to make ten to 12 investments.”

Drant expects to formally remain with NEA through the rest of 2015, in order to keep managing existing portfolio companies. According to the firm’s website, he currently sits on 14 boards: BENU, Carticept Medical, Concentric Medical, CVIngenuity, DSI Renal, ExploraMed III, Intrinsic Therapeutics, Neotract, PatientKeeper, Solace Therapeutics, Spine Wave, TriVascular (TRIV), Ulthera and Vibrynt.

Prior to joining NEA, Drant was a healthcare investment banker in San Francisco.

It also is worth noting that Drant isn’t the only longtime NEA general partner to not be listed on the new fund. Jim Barrett is planning to retire, having joined the firm in 2001 after a long career in the healthcare sector. Patrick Kerins is stepping back from certain GP responsibilities, but will continue making new tech investments for NEA. In addition, Scott Sandell has been promoted to co-managing partner alongside Peter Barris.

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