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Benchmark is staying focused, targeting $425M for ninth fund

Benchmark is staying focused, targeting $425M for ninth fund

VC powerhouse Benchmark has filed to raise $425 million for its ninth flagship fund.

While other firms close billion-dollar venture funds despite a history of smaller fundraises, Benchmark is sticking to its guns. The firm, known for its early bets on Twitter, Uber, Snap and WeWork, hasn’t fallen victim to the SoftBank effect.

Longtime Benchmark general partners Bill Gurley and Peter Fenton are listed on the filing alongside three newer members of the partnership. Benchmark staples Mitch Lasky and Matt Cohler, who joined the firm in 2007 and 2008, respectively, are noticeably absent.

Lasky’s departure doesn’t come as a shock. He stepped down from Snap’s board of directors in June just after Recode reported that he was “widely expected to not sign up for another round of deals.”

Cohler, for his part, joined Benchmark a decade ago from Facebook where he was a vice president. At Benchmark, he was responsible for investments in Dropbox, Domo, Duo Security and others.

In June 2017, he replaced Gurley on Uber’s board of directors. Gurley stepped down from the ride-hailing giant’s board following a well-publicized fight to remove founder Travis Kalanick from the c-suite.

Cohler and Lasky are expected to keep their board seats, according to Axios.

Sarah Tavel, Chetan Puttagunta and Eric Vishria will replace the pair in fund nine. Puttagunta joined the storied VC firm from NEA in July. Tavel, Benchmark’s first-ever female partner, was hired about a year ago from Greylock Partners and Vishria, the co-founder of social browsing startup Rockmelt, joined in 2014 as the fifth member of the firm’s partnership.

Despite the personnel shake-ups, Benchmark is shaping up to having a pretty stellar 2018. Two of its portfolio companies, Upwork and Elastic, submitted their S-1 registration statements to the SEC in September. Benchmark is the largest shareholder in both companies.

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