Exclusive: Uber investor Lead Edge Capital raises $150 million for public equity fund

FILE PHOTO: A screen displays the company logo for Uber Technologies Inc. on the day of it's IPO at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., May 10, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

(Reuters) - Lead Edge Capital, which has backed Uber Technologies Inc and Alibaba Group, has raised $150 million through a new fund to invest in publicly listed software and internet companies, the venture said on Wednesday.

In a statement seen by Reuters ahead of its official release, New York City-based Lead Edge said the new fund is expected to hold positions in five to 10 public firms at a time and the initial portfolio will be built over the next two years.

"We think of it like private equity in the public markets. We will build a portfolio of 10 stocks over the next few years," said Evan Skorpen, principal, public markets at Lead Edge.

The new fund has so far invested in a Japanese business, Skorpen added, without giving more details. Lead Edge's public investments tend to focus on companies with market capitalizations ranging from $1 billion to $10 billion.

Lead Edge will operate the public fund alongside its private equity investment vehicles, it said. The company has been investing in public growth-stage software, internet and tech-enabled service businesses globally since 2015 out of their core private equity funds.

The venture firm will look to grow the new fund over time, Mitchell Green, founder and managing partner of Lead Edge, told Reuters.

Founded in 2009, Lead Edge has previously invested in e-commerce and internet giant Alibaba, food-delivery service Delivery Hero, Swedish company Spotify Technology SA and Toast Inc, a cloud-based restaurant software company.

The company has also invested in FIGS Inc, Bumble Inc and Asana Inc, all of which had successful stock market listings recently.

The new fund brings Lead Edge's total capital under management to over $3 billion. About 70% of the firm's fund comes from wealthy individuals who include executives, entrepreneurs and dealmakers.

(Reporting by Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)

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