VC intrigue: First woman VC blogger "steps down"; the Levine shocker, and VSP saga continues
|Kimberly Davis King|
She never made our blogroll here at SiliconBeat, because she didn't write more than a handful of entries. And she was quirky from the beginning, even blogging openly about her firm's plans to raise a fund -- which we said at the time might break SEC rules, something other VCs were quick to warn her about too (comments aren't too flattering either). And yet, she left her posts up, when she could have taken them down and provided an explanation to readers about why she'd taken them down.
And now, more than a year later, we find out she will "step down" from IDG Ventures Pacific, which is still raising its fund, according to a blurb in Private Equity Week and a story here in VentureWire (subscription required). What is odd, or perhaps not given this little VC world of intrigue, is that there's no reason given for her departure. There's only a comment from another partner, Pat Kenealy, who confirms the fund-raising will continue.
Then there's the eye-opening story about former Mayfield venture capitalist Peter Levine joining XenSource as chief executive officer, the first part of which we broke a couple of weeks ago. We didn't mention at that time how his move wrecks a fund-raising process he'd been involved in with Todd Brooks, another former Mayfield partner, for months. This part was first reported by VentureWire (sub required):
Ouch. Two times subscribed? Meaning at least $300 million in commitments by LPs -- now all thrown away?
Really? Well, perhaps not. A few days later, Levine crafted a statement with slightly different wording for PE Week: The fund was "heading toward being well oversubscribed," he apparently told them. That's a bit different. (Update: Dan Primack, of PE Week, clarifies in comment below that it was Brooks who made this last statement, and that the "two times" reference by Levine referred to "verbal" commitments.)
In any case, when it comes to the secretive world of VC, don't always believe what you hear without dissecting it. Speaking of which, just when we thought the sad tale of the San Francisco VSP Capital breakup was over, it looks like the embers may still contain the hue of angry red. Worse, a mild winter draft may be threatening to whip them into flames. We may report more if we confirm anything, but it concerns the profits made by VSP Partner John Hamm on Truveo, from one of VSP's portfolio companies. Hamm did so by first winning ownership of a stake in Truveo, after he bid on it in an auction of all of VSP's investments (the auction was forced upon VSP when it went though its nasty breakup). When Truveo was subsequently sold to AOL recently, Hamm reaped a nice profit of a reported ten times or more the firm's original investment. Of course, VSP's original investors are unhappy that they were locked out of the profits. But we're hearing the auction process may not have been the most open, and that there may be emails to prove it (Update: We've since heard from a second source who says they have a copy of said emails). We haven't confirmed any of this, but it comes from a reliable source. Stay tuned...we've put in calls and sent emails to both Hamm and Joanna Rees-Gallanter.
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