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Which venture capitalists had the most exits last quarter? A peek at Crunchbase data shows that Accel Partners, Benchmark Capital, Foundation Capital and New Enterprise Asosciates all recorded at least three exits by acquisition in Q3 2009.
The four firms were all also among the ten most active investors in CrunchBase in the quarter. Benchmark and Accel were led by partners who had career weeks, Peter Fenton and Jim Breyer. NEA might have posted the best returns, with two huge deals. Foundation, meanwhile, exited two investments that began in the seed/angel rounds.
Jim Breyer at Accel proved he could go big. Breyer recorded two exits in 24 hours. Breyer was an individual investor in Marvel, which was acquired for $4 billion by Disney. Although Accel didn’t get a piece of that since it was a personal investment, Accel, led by Breyer, did invest in BBN Technologies, which was acquired by Raytheon. Accel’s also had successful exits in Q3 from investments in Xoopit (acquired by Yahoo) and SpringSource. Did we mention that Breyer also is responsible for Accel’s early (Series A) investment in Facebook, which just announced that it is cash flow positive?
Benchmark’s Peter Fenton took point on two portfolio company acquisitions in early August. Facebook acquired FriendFeed for $50 million and VMWare acquired SpringSource for over $400 million. Benchmark also had an exit with Mint.com, which was bought by Intuit during the quarter. Nor was all of the good news on the exit side of the business. Benchmark participated in Twitter’s $35 million Series C in February. That investment has already paid handsome dividends as Twitter was valued at a cool $1 billion on paper in its Series D, a round Benchmark also participated in.
Foundation Capital garnered two of their three exits from pre-Series A original investments. The firm saw AdWhirl bought by AdMob, ONStor bought by LSI, and Xoopit bought by Yahoo. Foundation’s first investment in AdWhirl was a Seed investment in June of this year. The firm’s initial investment in Xoopit was an Angel round in December of 2006. The firm also upped its investment in newly-profitable Simply Hired in August.
NEA might have been the biggest winner of the quarter. Three portfolio companies were acquired in the quarter: Plusmo by AT&T, Evalve by Abbott Labs, and Data Domain by EMC Corporation. Terms of the Plusmo deal were not disclosed to CrunchBase, but the other two deals were sizeable. Abbott Labs acquired Evalve for $410 million in September for what would appear to be a healthy return. In an even bigger deal EMC bough Data Domain for $2.1 billion, in a deal that almost didn’t happened. EMC swooped in at the last second to outbid rival NetApp for the company in early July.
UPDATE: We’ve been tipped off that Polaris Ventures had 4 exits in the quarter: LogMeIn (IPO), Athenix, Free and Clear, and 170 Systems. If you have information updates, add them to CrunchBase or contact me.