Battery Ventures closes two funds totaling $2 billion

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Battery Ventures, a tech-focused venture capital firm, on Wednesday said it had raised $2 billion in two new funds, a sign of investor interest in start-ups despite some high-profile stumbles including office space leasing company WeWork.

General Partner Michael Brown said a meltdown in the valuation of WeWork, backed by Japan’s SoftBank Group, did not impact fundraising, and that global growth concerns raised by the coronavirus likely would be short-lived. Low interest rates were pushing investors into venture capital, he added.

Brown said the two funds include $1.2 billion focused on early stage investments and $800 million that will be invested in more mature companies, often along with the main fund. Battery Ventures previously has invested heavily in software for businesses and sees some opportunity in technology for blue-collar workers.

“Seventy percent of the world’s population doesn’t sit behind a desk. So there’s a whole wave of innovation in software that will blossom over the next five to 15 years,” said Brown.

U.S. venture funds raised $46.3 billion last year, down form $58 billion in 2018, according to PitchBook. But the research company forecast 2020 investments could match 2018 levels, since many venture fund investors are holding cash.

Reporting By Jane Lanhee Lee, editing by Peter Henderson and Cynthia Osterman