NEA raises $3.1 billion, breaking its own record for the biggest VC fund ever

NEANEA General Partner Jon Sakoda

New Enterprise Associates (NEA) has closed a new fund worth $US3.1 billion — the largest venture fund of all time, according to an earlier story by Fortune’s Dan Primack, who broke the news of the fund last year. This is NEA’s fifteenth fund in its 38-year history.

“When we raised our last fund, it was called the largest VC fund ever raised. This one’s a little larger,” NEA’s General Partner Jon Sakoda told us.

This isn’t the first time NEA has raised a fund of this scale. Its last four funds were all worth more than $US2.5 billion, as NEA continues to expand its footprint as one of the most active VC firms in Silicon Valley.

Having a fund of this size allows NEA to invest in a broad set of categories across companies of all stages. But it also lets NEA to maintain and increase its ownership in startups that it believes are exponential growth companies. On the flip side, it also allows NEA to invest in popular startups even when the market turns and it gets tough to raise money.

For example, NEA was able to invest $US5 million for 20% shares of Tableau Software in 2004, when the market was recovering from the dot com bubble. NEA increased its ownership of Tableau to 37% when it went public in 2013. Now, Tableau is worth almost $US7 billion.

Some of its other past big investments in the past include Workday, which went public in 2012 and is now worth about $US16 billion; Box, which went public earlier this year and is worth $US2 billion; and Nicira, which VMware bought for over $US1 billion in 2012.

This fund will follow the same playbook, investing in both early stage and growth stage companies. Traditionally, NEA has invested roughly 20% in overseas market, including China and India. Sakoda says “no fewer than a dozen companies” will announce fundings as part of this fund within the next couple of months.

As part of this announcement, NEA has also appointed Scott Sandell as its Managing General Partner, alongside Peter Barris, who’s been with the firm since 1992.

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