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New Enterprise Associates, Inc. (NEA), a leading global venture capital firm, today announced with Mayor Rahm Emanuel that the company will establish an office in Chicago to serve its growing portfolio in the region. Currently, the firm has U.S. offices in the Washington, D.C. region, Menlo Park, Calif., and New York City, as well as affiliate operations in Shanghai and Beijing, China; and Bangalore and Mumbai, India.
“This announcement is proof positive that Chicago is one of the best places to grow a tech company and find investment opportunities, as well as a city that is constantly working to improve its efficiency, infrastructure, talent and business environment,” said Mayor Emanuel. “NEA has partnered with a generation of Chicago’s finest companies, and today we ensure that a new generation of companies has the potential to work with the country’s leading venture capital firms as well.”
With approximately $13 billion in committed capital, NEA invests in information technology, healthcare and energy technology companies at all stages in a company’s lifecycle, from seed stage through IPO. The firm's long track record of successful investing includes more than 175 portfolio company IPOs and more than 290 acquisitions, including investments in technology leaders like Data Domain, CareerBuilder, Diapers.com, Fusion-io, Groupon, Juniper, Macromedia, Salesforce.com, TiVo and Workday.
“NEA partners with great entrepreneurs around the world, and we’ve discovered that many of them are based here in Chicago,” said Peter Barris, Managing General Partner, NEA. “This city’s entrepreneurs have transformed traditional industries, like advertising and logistics, and today are shaping new ones, like social media and mobile payments. NEA has been investing in Chicago for more than 25 years, and it has been thrilling to play a role in the city’s emergence as one of the nation’s premiere technology hubs. Establishing an office will help us serve our growing portfolio and become even more deeply rooted in Chicago’s flourishing tech community.”
NEA’s announcement of a Chicago location was buoyed by two major pieces of news relative to NEA’s portfolio companies. First, NEA announced that the firm has led a $35 million investment in Braintree, a Chicago-based company focused on providing online and mobile payment solutions. Mayor Emanuel visited Braintree’s headquarters this summer to announce that the company would be creating approximately 150 jobs in Chicago in the next two years. The funding round will fuel Braintree’s growth and the hiring of additional programmers and developers, among other expansions.
NEA also announced that Zumper, an apartment rental website that matches landlords with potential tenants, will be expanding to Chicago this year as the company enters a third market. Presently, the company is located only in New York and San Francisco.
NEA has invested more than $300 million in 20 Chicago-based companies including Groupon, ArcSight, Cleversafe, Echo Global Logistics, InnerWorkings, Neutral Tandem, and Sprout Social. In recent years, NEA’s investment pace in the region has accelerated—more than half of the firm’s investments have been made since 2006, including BenchPrep and Braintree in 2012.
Mr. Barris, a Chicago native who serves on Northwestern’s Board of Trustees, has led many of NEA’s investments in the region since joining the firm in 1992. He currently serves on the boards of BenchPrep, Goji Food Solutions, Groupon, and Sprout Social. Other NEA partners active in Chicago include Ravi Viswanathan, General Partner; Harry Weller, General Partner; and Tom Grossi, Partner.
Mayor Emanuel has made the attraction of technology companies and technology investment a major priority during his administration. The Mayor has stood with more than 50 companies that have announced nearly 25,000 jobs coming to Chicago, many of them in technology, and has worked to attract major technology players, such as Motorola Mobility. Recently, the Mayor stood with more than 20 CEOs of tech companies, including NEA portfolio company Sprout Social, to announce that those firms were adding more than 2,000 jobs to Chicago’s business community. Sprout Social hosted Wednesday’s announcement at their West Loop headquarters.
On Tuesday of this week, the Mayor announced ChicagoNEXT, a new council of technology and business leaders focused on job growth, increasing venture investment in the digital, clean tech and life sciences space and attracting top talent to Chicago. That council will be led by World Business Chicago, whose directors J.B Pritzker, Eric Lefkofsky, Jeff Aronin and Pat Ryan, Jr. will co-chair the new initiative. The WBC council will work to engage business leaders in both the domestic and international communities, increase venture capital investment and create new opportunities for entrepreneurship and innovation, and played an active role in NEA’s decision to open an office in Chicago. ChicagoNEXT will begin meeting in November and seeking opportunities to attract investment and new companies to the city, and will report to the public through World Business Chicago.
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