New Enterprise Associates Sets up Shop in Kendall Square

Xconomy Boston — 

New Enterprise Associates has had a hand in a number of Boston’s biotech startups over the years. But it wasn’t until now that the big VC firm officially put a physical footprint in the biotech cluster in Cambridge, MA.

NEA today is announcing that it has opened an office in Kendall Square. It’s on the third floor at 700 Tech Square in Cambridge, and will serve as a local home base for the VC firm and its healthcare partners, many of which serve on boards in the area. NEA already has offices in New York, California, Washington, D.C, Chicago, China, and India.

“We want to have an ‘official’ presence in the community to reinforce that we are here on the ground, doing business in Boston,” says NEA general partner David Mott (pictured above).

It’s no secret that Boston has blossomed into one of the biggest biotech clusters in the world, and NEA found the time ripe to anchor itself to it. Mott says that just as Cambridge and the greater Boston area is offering more innovation in life sciences than “at any point in the past,” NEA is more active than at any other point in its history. Mott adds that the number of venture firms and amount of capital available has declined at the same time, putting NEA in a prime spot to help prop up new biotech startups.

“While we have collaborated actively with numerous local venture firms over the years, opening our own office is an even stronger message that we want to partner with them—early and often—to build great companies and finance exciting projects in the Boston area,” Mott says.

NEA is no stranger to Boston, of course. Even though it hasn’t had an office here, it’s invested in a number of both tech and biotech startups in the area, including now-public life sciences companies like Tesaro (NASDAQ: TSRO) and Epizyme (NASDAQ: EPZM), and earlier local biotech startups like Edimer Pharmaceuticals, Mersana Therapeutics, and Ra Pharmaceuticals. Half of NEA’s partners serve on boards in Boston, and two are founding partners of The Experiment Fund, a seed-stage fund being run out of Harvard University, according to Mott.

The new digs will make things more efficient. NEA can hold meetings in its own space, and frequent the same “coffee shops and restaurants” as many of its entrepreneurs, partners, and co-investors, Mott says. The new office is already open, and staffed with a full-time assistant.

“[This] new space will be a very welcome home base for many members of our investing team,” he says.

NEA raised $2.6 billion for its 14th fund last year. The firm has raised about $13 billion since its inception.