At Bessemer, we spend a lot of time mapping out the industries most fertile for disruption by startups. With a deep focus in our practice areas, we can quickly evaluate new investment opportunities, and, more importantly, bring our knowledge, track record and rolodex to the boards of our portfolio companies.
Every year we re-assess and refresh our investment hypotheses (“road maps”), re-organizing our practices appropriately. So we do have additional practice areas in development, plus others that we just haven’t yet had time to profile here.
And of course we try to remain keenly aware of areas where innovation meets market need. We use our roadmaps as guides, not limits, and stay open to the next revolutionary idea.Here are some of the practice areas where our professionals team up to find, fund and assist the entrepreneurs poised to shake things up. If you share one of these areas of interest with us, please click on that practice to read about some of our thoughts and activities there.
BVP has been actively investing in Brazil since 2011. We opened our Sao Paulo office in 2012, following the successful sale of OLX to Naspers, one of the largest Internet exits in Latin America. We are actively pursuing growth-stage investments of $5mm to $50mm in Brazilian Internet, software, and technology-enabled services businesses and typically co-invest with Brazilian investment firms.
BVP's interest in more-efficient production methods dates to its founder's application of the Bessemer process to steel making, which reduced the time required to refine iron into steel from days to minutes. In the Cleantech practice, BVP's investors combine their backgrounds in process engineering, waste recycling, semiconductors and consulting to help young companies deliver the innovative technologies essential to meet the world's growing need for environmentally friendly products and services. The portfolio now includes companies from around the globe providing a diverse set of solutions; from creating high-performance and environmentally green batteries to generating power from rice by-products.
In addition to Bessemer's long history of successful enterprise software investing, we have been particularly focused on the emergence of Cloud Computing. We believe Cloud Computing is the most important trend in the software industry of the decade. We have been fortunate to work with many of the early pioneers in this high growth market segment, and continue to invest actively to grow our current portfolio. We define Cloud Computing as the umbrella encompassing Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), Platforms-as-a-Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS). Historically, we have been very active in the SaaS space and will continue to do so. However, as cloud computing has expanded beyond just providing applications as a service, so has our practice.
BVP has a long history of investment in the financial services. The 1970s saw it investing in bank services roll-ups; thereafter it moved into areas as diverse as investment services (Quadriserve, LifeHarbor, Gerson Lehrman, Motilal Oswal and Soleil) and personal banking (Truaxis, Shriram City Financial, and Zopa). Blending technology and financial expertise and experience, the partners at BVP can understand and anticipate the changes occur in this rapidly evolving sector.
BVP has invested in healthcare-related companies for more than two decades. Drawing on our investors’ experience in medicine, science, information technology, and management, BVP has backed developers of innovative therapeutics - Isis Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:ISIP) and Sirtris (NASDAQ:SIRT); providers of healthcare service - VistaCare (NASDAQ:VSTA) and U.S. Behavioral Health (acquired by United Healthcare, NYSE:UBH); and suppliers of healthcare information technology - GMIS (NASDAQ:GMIS) and Allscripts (NASDAQ:MDRX). As the world's healthcare needs increase, we relish the opportunity to support entrepreneurs who will create the innovations of tomorrow.
India's vibrant economy offers huge potential in fulfilling demand for both domestic and export consumption. Just as BVP saw the long term opportunity when it entered Silicon Valley in the 1970s, the firm sees a similar opportunity in India driven by the growth in middle class prosperity and innovation. BVP's investment advisory team combines local knowledge and technical expertise with a global platform to help guide portfolio copmaines to global success. Since 2004, BVP has invested in 21 companies and established a 14-person Mumbai-based advisory team.
Bessemer has been investing in industry-leading IT infrastructure companies for close to forty years, yet we have never been more excited about the potential for innovation in this arena. Several key technology trends and market developments promise to transform the industry (again) in the coming decade, creating the opportunity for a new set of industry leaders to emerge.
BVP has been investing in Israel since 1992 and opened an office in Herzliya in 2007. The partners consider companies at many stages, from seed to growth, and across a number of sectors - Software, Internet, Semiconductors, Storage, Communications, and Cleantech.
Bessemer’s history in communications spans more than three decades, dating back to companies like Ungermann-Bass, which pioneered local area networking (the term “LAN” was actually coined in the living room of BVP’s Neill Brownstein). Our investments have followed the rapid evolution of the communications landscape with many of our recent investments focused on the mobile space around the themes of mobile device penetration, the consumer experiences they enable, and the challenges these devices bring to operators.
BVP has participated in each successive wave of innovation in retail since the mid-1980s, starting with our investments in big box retailers, Staples and The Sports Authority. In the late 1990s, we funded several first generation Internet retailers such as Blue Nile and eToys. Today, we are looking to invest in Internet retailers targeting segments large enough to sustain a meaningful new consumer brand. Our portfolio company Diapers.com is a leading example of an emerging category killer. We also believe there are opportunities to help existing off-line brands leverage the Internet as a powerful distribution channel. Our investments in Delivery Agent and OneStop Internet are consistent with this theme.
BVP has been actively investing in Russia since 2005 and is one of the most active international firms in the region. Our investments include Parallels (a global provider of virtualization software founded by Serguei Beloussov and Ilya Zubarev), KupiVIP (a leading Russian e-commerce destination founded by Oskar Hartmann) and Enforta (one of the largest WiMax operators in Russia). We are actively pursuing growth-stage investments of $5mm to $50mm in Russian Internet, software, and technology-enabled services businesses and typically co-invest with local Russian investment firms.
Bessemer’s Internet Trust investment practice ranks among our most successful, and we’re proud to have funded more leading innovators in data security and trust than any other venture capital firm (as far as we know). At last count we’ve made 22 investments that have led to five IPOs and ten acquisitions by public companies. At the time we exited these investments, they accounted for over thirty billion dollars of enterprise value and nearly 20,000 jobs.