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A Zombie?

Fund: Kodiak Venture Partners

Posted by Anonymous on 2008-11-18

PUBLIC:

Dam Primack hit them pretty hard in today's PE Week Wire:

*** Kodiak Venture Partners isn’t quite yet on my list of “walking dead” VC firms, but it’s getting close. Reminds me of the teenage girl who runs upstairs during a horror movie, and locks her door so the beastie can’t get her. Odds are pretty good that the door won’t hold, but every now and then her boyfriend slays the beastie from behind, hugs are had and the credits roll.

Chris Greendale quietly left Kodiak last week, making him the third partner to depart in 2008, and fifth to leave since Kodiak raised its third fund in 2004. The others this year were John Abraham and Mike Schiavo, following Elliot Katzman (late 2006) and Illan Carmi (2005). That’s a whole bunch of turnover for a small partnership, and further dims the hopes for a fourth fund.

Kodiak originally began pre-marketing Fund IV in late 2006, with plans to hold a dry close in Q1 2007. Katzman’s surprise defection to Commonwealth Capital Partners in December of that year derailed the process, but sources said it would be restarted by Q2 of 2008. But that didn’t happen (at least not successfully), and Kodiak has now called down over 70% of its Fund III capital. Assuming it wants to hold at least 20% for follow-on investing, that leaves relatively little room for new deals.

I spoke yesterday with two of Kodiak’s four remaining partners, Dave Furneaux and Andrey Zarur. They acknowledged that Greendale was gone (he’s still on Kodiak’s website), but declined to provide any context. Instead, they said that the firm was in as good of shape as could be expected given the lack of liquidity options, and that it would raise a new fund either late next year or in 2010.

Zarur also pushed back on the notion that Kodiak’s personnel upheaval is particularly important, noting that the firm was still doing some interesting new deals of the seed-stage variety (e.g., Lumicell Diagnostics). He's right that returns are what matter most, but LPs and entrepreneurs also place a high value on consistency. Or at least more consistency than Kodiak has provided. It’s asking a lot of folks to enter into a long-term commitment with an organization whose own partners have not done the same...

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