Avalon Ventures, Coming Off Zynga Investment, Raising 10th Fund

Xconomy San Diego — 

Venture investing in the life sciences has been declining over the past year or so, along with a contraction in the number of VC firms that are actively investing. Yet San Diego’s Avalon Ventures, which also has a strong presence in Boston, seems to be running contrary to the industry’s overall trend.

The venture firm—which closed its ninth and largest fund only about 18 months ago—is now embarking on fundraising for its 10th investment fund, according to a Dow Jones report yesterday by Hilary Canada. The firm plans to raise at least $200 million, according to the report.

Avalon founder Kevin Kinsella was mum on the topic when I talked with him by phone, saying he’s precluded by legal concerns from talking at this time.

Still, it’s worth noting that it typically takes a venture firm close to three years to invest a new fund, yet Kinsella and partners Jay Lichter, Rich Levandov, Steve Tomlin, and Brady Bohrmann (with help from venture partner Court Turner) committed the resources of Avalon IX in about half that time. The firm also focuses its resources on seed and early stage companies, often creating its own opportunities by founding its own life sciences and information technology startups.

The most prominent name in Avalon’s portfolio is probably Zynga, a prescient investment that was led by Levandov, who is based in Boston. More recently, the firm has backed a couple of Cambridge, MA-based startups, Backupify and Kinvey, as well as Seattle’s Cardeas Pharma, and … Next Page »

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