The venture capital firm said its Mayfield XVI will continue to invest in early-stage companies, while its Mayfield Select II will invest in later-stage rounds of breakout portfolio companies. One difference in the new Select fund will be its ability to invest in growth-stage companies outside of its portfolio.
In its blog post announcing the new funds, Mayfield managing partner Navin Chaddha recalled the timing of its fund XIII, raised in September 2008 right after the market crash.
In the wake of the crisis, Chaddha writes, Mayfield stuck to core principles. The firm decided not to dramatically increase the size of its investment vehicles (unlike some of its peers, which now hold several billion under management in current funds), and kept to a four-year fundraising cycle.
Kleiner Perkins, by contrast, went through a $600 million investment vehicle in about a year and went back out to market to raise another fund shortly thereafter.
“We stuck to our conviction of staying as an early-stage venture investor over four subsequent funds even as the venture industry was shifting. We went deeper into domains we were already experts in vs. following shiny new objects. We raised funds at a measured pace of every four years and built a team of investors who were company builders,” Chaddha wrote.
To date, Mayfield has backed a slew of companies that have gone on to successful exits, including Lyft, Marketo, ServiceMax and SolarCity — all deals that came out of the 2008 financial crisis and its subsequent funds. Current portfolio companies, like the CRISPR-focused biotech company Mammoth Biosciences and retail investments like PoshMark, show that the firm hasn’t lost its luster for picking new deals.
The secret to the firm’s continued success is its focus on what Chaddha considers to be the “craftsman model” of investors “working closely with a handful of entrepreneurs.”
“As many of our peers raised mega-funds, it took courage and discipline for us to stay focused rather than follow the crowd. We raised a similar size fund every four years and invested in thirty companies per fund. We primarily led Series A investments and were comfortable with the fact that the companies we invested in will evolve,” Chaddha wrote.
So what’s next for the venerable firm as it heads into its latest fund? Chaddha flags biology as technology; human-centered artificial intelligence; the resurgence of chip design; the future of work; privacy and security; and next-generation consumer brands as areas where Mayfield will look to commit capital.