Twitter-backer Benchmark Capital raises new venture fund


By Sarah McBride

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct 31 (Reuters) - Benchmark, the firm behindcompanies ranging from eBay to Twitter, is raising anew venture fund, according to a person familiar with thesituation.

The fund will be about the same size as Benchmark's previousfund, a $425 million vehicle that closed in January 2011, theperson said.

"Benchmark is committed to maintaining a laser focus onearly-stage investing," said general partner Bill Gurley in anemailed statement to Reuters.

"We maintain a consistent and intentionally limited fundsize, which is best managed through long-term relationships witha limited number of limited partners. Given this structure, theactual beginning and end of a specific fund is not a noteworthyevent."

Investors consider Benchmark one of the top-performingventure firms, on par with bigger players such as GreylockPartners and Sequoia Capital, which have each raised more than$1 billion this year. Venture firms generally do not disclosetheir performance to the public.

Benchmark was a relatively early investor in Twitter,backing the nascent message service in 2009. It holds 6.6percent of the company, which is expected to hold its initialpublic offering next week. The IPO is expected to value Twitterat up to $11 billion.

Benchmark's other investments include transportation serviceUber, review service Yelp, and real-estate serviceZillow.

The new fund will be Benchmark's eighth. The firm wasfounded in 1995.

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