The 20 Most Massive First Round Investments Ever Raised

Bill Nguyen founder colour and LalaSorry colour, you’re not even close to making the cut.

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If you thought colour’s $41 million pre-launch investment was big, think again.We worked with Dow Jones to find the 20 biggest first rounds ever raised in the US; the list starts at a whopping $125 million.

Most of the massive investments were pre-dotcom bust — only four of the rounds were raised after 2000.

Money didn’t save them all either. Two of the top four companies are now out of business.

Topping the list are an airline company, a renewable energy company, and a whole lot of wireless communication companies.

20. Altrio Communications raised $125,000,000 in October, 2000

Vision: Build the next generation fibre optic telecommunications network and provide a package of all services for the home and home office (via Startup Zone)

Industry: Information Technology, Wired Telecommunications Service Provider

Close date: October 25, 2000

Current status: Acquired/Merged

Investors: Bank America Capital Investors, Citi Private Equity Inc., Frontenac Company*, Grove Street Advisors, RBC Capital Partners, Soros Fund Management LLC, The Bessemer Group Inc

19. JetBlue Airways raised $129,820,000 in December, 1998

Vision: Flights and tickets to more than 50 destinations; maintain free accommodations, cheap air fair, and excellent customer service.

Industry: Consumer Services, Travel Arrangement/Tourism

Close date: December 16, 1998

Current status: Publicly-held

Investors: BancBoston Ventures, CCMP Capital Advisors LLC, Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance, Soros Fund Management LLC*, Weston Presidio

*The lead investor

18. Realm Business Solutions raised $132,000,000 in February, 2000

Vision: Products for commercial real estate companies that provide consistency, transparency, and efficiency.

Industry: Information technology, Vertical market applications software

Close date: February 8, 2000

Current status: Acquired/merged

Investors: @Ventures, Gleacher Partners, HM Capital Partners, TH Lee Putnam Ventures

17. Cbeyond Communications Inc. raised $141,000,000 in March, 2000

Vision: Offer reliable high-speed Internet and business phone service.

Industry: Information technology, Wired telecommunications service providers

Close date: February 8, 2000

Current status: Publicly-held

Investors: Battery Ventures, Madison Dearborn Partners LLC*, Morgan Stanley Private Equity, VantagePoint Capital Partners

*The lead investor

15. Clovis Oncology Inc. raised $146,300,000 in May, 2009

Vision: Acquires, developes, and commercializes anti-cancer agents in the United States and internationally.

Industry: Healthcare, Biotechnology Therapeutics

Close date: May 15, 2009

Current status: Private & independent

Investors: Aberdare Ventures, Abingworth Management Inc., Domain Associates LLC, Frazier Healthcare Ventures, Management, New Enterprise Associates, ProQuest Investments, Versant Venture Management LLC

14. Pangea raised $148,000,000 in January, 2000

Vision: To provide an integrated broadband solution for carriers and Internet Service Providers requiring superior services into and out of Northern Europe (via fibre Optics Weekly Update)

Industry: Information technology, Wired telecommunications service providers

Close date: January 13, 2000

Current status: Out of business

Investors: Columbia Capital LLC, Dolphin Equity Partners LP*, HarbourVest Partners LLC, Madison Dearborn Partners LLC, Norwest Venture Partners

*The lead investor

13. NeoWorld Communications raised $150,000,000 in March, 2000

Vision: A graphics design and a two-way radio dispatch company, providing products, services, and technical maintenance to two-way radio users (via Bloomberg Businessweek).

Industry: Information technology, Wireless telecommunications service providers

Close date: March 24, 2000

Current status: Acquired/Merged

Investors: Boston Millennia Partners, CenterPoint Ventures, Columbia Capital LLC, Goldman Sachs Group Inc., J.P. Morgan Asset Management, Madison Dearborn Partners LLC*, Noro-Moseley Partners, Northwood Ventures, Pamlico Capital, Rho Ventures, Sevin Rosen Funds

*The lead investor

12. Clearwire raised $160,000,000 in June, 2004

Vision: Wireless broadband service that delivers easy high speed internet and digital voice service.

Industry: Information technology, Wireless telecommunications service providers

Close date: June 1, 2004

Current status: Publicly-held

Investors: Intel Capital

11. CoreExpress raised $171,000,000 in June, 2000

Vision: A new standard for small, low-power processor modules without legacy support.

Industry: Information technology, Communications software

Close date: June 13, 2000

Current status: Out of business

Investors: Amerindo Investment Advisors, Benchmark Capital, Bowman Capital, Capital Research & Management Company, Cisco Systems, Morgan Stanley, Nortel Networks, Sands Brothers, Technology Crossover Ventures

10. (Tie) Looking Glass Networks raised $200,000,000 in April, 2000

Vision: 'Provides rapid delivery of data transport services including SONET/SDH, Wavelength-division multiplexing and Ethernet as well as IP connectivity, dark fibre and carrier-neutral colocation. Looking Glass also offers custom design and build services for specific campus or data centre requirements.' (via Wikipedia)

Industry: Information technology, Wired telecommunications service providers

Close date: April 5, 2000

Current status: Acquired/Merged

Investors: Battery Ventures, Individual Investors, Madison Dearborn Partners LLC*

*The lead investor

9. (Tie) Brience raised $200,000,000 in April, 2000

Vision: 'Provider of next generation mobile processing software that powers the Adaptive Web.' (via Venturebeat)

Industry: Information technology, Communications software

Close date: April 11, 2000

Current status: Acquired/Merged

Investors: Battery Ventures, Individual Investors, Madison Dearborn Partners LLC*

*The lead investor

8. (Tie) Better Place Inc. raised $200,000,000 in November, 2007

Vision: Working to produce a market-based transportation infrastructure that supports electric vehicles.

Industry: Energy and utilities, Renewable energy

Close date: November 20, 2007

Current status: Private & independent

Investors: Individual Investors, Israel Cleantech Ventures, Maniv Bioventures, Morgan Stanley, Musea Ventures, VantagePoint Capital Partners

7. Grande Communications Networks Inc. raised $232,600,000 in February, 2000

Vision: Texas-based broadband communications company that offers a full suite of Internet, TV and Phone services for residential and business customers.

Industry: Information technology, Wired telecommunications service providers

Close date: February 23, 2000

Current status: Acquired/Merged

Investors: Alta Communications Inc., Austin Ventures, BancBoston Ventures, Centennial Ventures Inc., CIBC Capital Partners, Convergent Investors, HarbourVest Partners LLC, J.H. Whitney & Co. LLC*, Kinetic Ventures LLC, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Prime New Ventures, South Atlantic Venture Funds, Sowell & Co, TD Capital Communications Partners, Trinity Ventures, Weiss, Peck & Greer Venture Partner

*The lead investor

6. Global Metro Networks raised $240,000,000 in May, 2000

Vision: 'Engages in building and operating fibre optic communications networks in metropolitan commerce centres in the United States and internationally.' (via Bloomberg Businessweek).

Industry: Information technology, Wired telecommunications service providers

Close date: May 30, 2000

Current status: Acquired/Merged

Investors: Alta Communications Inc., Columbia Capital LLC, Providence Equity Partners LLC*, Spencer Trask Ventures, Telcom Ventures

*The lead investor

5. Integro raised $320,000,000 in May, 2000

Vision: A full service, independent insurance firm providing dedicated brokerage and risk management services.

Industry: Business and financial services, Insurance

Close date: April 22, 2005

Current status: Private & independent

Investors: Century Capital Management, Credit Suisse First Boston, Highfields Capital Management, Individual Investors, Leucadia National Corp, Weston Presidio

4. Carolina BroadBand raised $402,000,000 in May, 2000

Vision: 'Provides broadband multi-media services to residents and businesses in Carolina (via Bloomberg Busniessweek).

Industry: Business and financial services, Insurance

Close date: May 16, 2000

Current status: Out of business

Investors: Bank of America, California State Teachers' Retirement System, Carousel Capital, HarbourVest Partners LLC, J.H. Whitney & Co. LLC, JPMorgan Partners, M/C Venture Partners*, Morgan Stanley, Nautic Partners LLC, Pamlico Capital, Providence Equity Partners LLC, Spectrum Equity Investors, Wachovia Capital Associates

*The lead investor

3. Digital Access Inc. raised $450,000,000 in December, 1999

Vision: 'Provide telecommunication applications including telephone, video, and data services via a single digital fibre broadband network.' (via Bloomberg Businessweek)

Industry: Information technology, Internet service providers

Close date: December 7, 1999

Current status: Out of business

Investors: Bachow & Associates, California State Teachers' Retirement System, Cornerstone Equity Investors LLC, Goldman Sachs Group Inc., M/C Venture Partners, Nautic Partners LLC, Norwest Venture Partners, Pamlico Capital, Providence Equity Partners LLC, Spectrum Equity Investors

2. Zhone Technologies raised $500,000,000 in October, 1999

Vision: Developing carrier-grade broadband solutions for customers and ensuring bandwidth is never a constraint.

Industry: Information technology, Wired communications equipment

Close date: October 28, 1999

Current status: Acquired/Merged

Investors: California Public Employees' Retirement System, Individual Investors, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., Madison Dearborn Partners LLC, New Enterprise Associates, PCG Ventures, TPG Capital LP, U.S. Venture Partners

1. Western Integrated Networks raised $889,000,000

Vision: Sell television programming, local and long-distance phone service and Internet access and offer residential broadband. (via Sacramento Business Journal)

Industry: Information technology, Wired telecommunications service providers

Close date: November 1, 1999

Current status: Acquired/Merged

Investors: BCI Partners, Blackstone Group, Columbia Capital LLC, Dolphin Equity Partners LP, Duff Ackerman & Goodrich LLC, GE Capital, Equity, J.P. Morgan Asset Management, Madison Dearborn Partners LLC, Oak Investment Partners, Pamlico Capital, Providence Equity Partners LLC, TeleSoft Partners

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