Venture Capital Firms in Bay Area – Francisco Partners – San Francisco, CA – 46/50
Other Areas of Focus: Security, Hardware, Software, Communications
Notable Investments: SintecMedia, ClickSoftware Technologies, SmartFocus
Francisco Partners is an American private equity firm focused exclusively on investments in technology and technology-enabled services businesses. Founded in August 1999 and based in San Francisco and London, Francisco Partners Management L.P. has raised approximately USD $14 billion in committed capital. The firm currently has five active funds and roughly 50 current portfolio companies, including Verifone, Renaissance Learning, Bomgar, GoodRx, Quest, BluJay (formerly Kewill), ClickSoftware Technologies, SmartBear Software, and SonicWall.
Francisco Partners was founded in August 1999 in Menlo Park, California, during the emergence of dedicated technology buyout firms. Founders Sanford Robertson, Dipanjan Deb, David Stanton, Benjamin Ball, and Neil Garfinkel came from a variety of private equity firms. Robertson had been the founder of the technology-focused investment bank Robertson Stephens, while Deb left TPG Capital in August 1999 to help found the firm. Among its notable early investments, in 2000 the firm paid $375 million in cash to purchase 90% of Advanced Micro Devices’ communications products division. Francisco Partners then raised $800 million in 2002 to purchase 90% of Global eXchange Services, a unit of the General Electric Company handling sales operations for about 30,000 multinational companies.
The firm purchased NPTest in 2003, the semiconductor-testing unit of Schlumberger, and by the following year Francisco Partners had more than 30 active portfolio companies. Francisco Partners purchased Smart Modular from the Solectron Corporation in 2004, with Smart Modular going public two years later. From 2005 until 2010 the firm owned the software company RedPrairie. In 2006 the company led a leveraged buyout of Metrologic Instruments, which makes laser and holographic-based scanners, and also purchased WatchGuard. The firm purchased API Healthcare in 2008 and by 2010 Francisco Partners’ other healthcare holdings includ ed AdvancedMD, Healthland, QuadraMed, and T-System.
By 2012, the Francisco Partners’ funds had about $7 billion in capital and invested “exclusively in technology companies across sectors including semiconductors, capital equipment and electronics components.” That year the company acquired the software company Ichor from American Industrial Partners, as well as Plex Systems and Kewill. The firm invested in Paymetric in 2013, selling the company to Vantiv in Atlanta, Georgia four years later. After acquiring the e-commerce services company Avangate in 2013, in 2014 the firm invested in the software company Prosper, with Francisco Partners’ executive David Golob becoming a Prosper director. Also in 2014 Francisco Partners invested in the information technology company CoverMyMeds and paid $120 million for a majority stake in the controversial spy company NSO Group, sold in 2019. The firm completed raising about $2.9 billion for its fourth fund in 2015. That year the firm also purchased the California-based analytics company Procera Networks for $240 million and the Israeli workplace management company ClickSoftware Technologies for $438 million. The firm invested in GoodRx in 2015 as well.
Francisco joined with Elliott Management in June 2016 to buy the SonicWall and Quest Software subsidiaries from Dell as part of the spinoff of Dell Software. The SonicWall investment attracted some controversy in the press, as Francisco Partners had also invested in the competitor WatchGuard, going against norms in the private equity industry. Also in 2016, the firm sold Aesynt to Omnicell for $275 million and took Ichor Holdings public with an initial public offering. In late 2016, Francisco Partners launched its Agility fund, raising approximately $600 million of committed capital to focus on smaller technology deals. Shortly afterwards, Francisco Partners invested in Dynamo Software, Pet Circle, Discovery Education, and MyOn, the latter of which was sold in 2018. Additional investments in 2016 and 2017 includ ed companies such as SmartBear Software, iconectiv, Connecture Inc., Betterment, and Sintec Media.
In 2017, Francisco Partners sold CoverMyMeds to McKesson and Paymetric to Vantiv, and also sold PayLease and Corsair. Francisco Partners bought, and subsequently sold, James Allen.com in 2017. In June 2017, Francisco Partners also acquired Sandvine, a Canadian public company that was combined with Procera. Francisco Partners was named Private Equity Firm of the Year by Mergers & Acquisitions in 2017. The firm’s fifth fund, Francisco Partners V, was formed at the end of 2017 with approximately $4 billion of committed capital. The year after Francisco Partners V’s launch, the firm acquired Bomgar Corporation, Renaissance Learning, and LegalZoom. In June 2018 Francisco Partners purchased VeriFone for $3.4 billion. Also in 2018, Blackstone’s Strategic Capital Group and Goldman Sachs’ Petershill program acquired a minority stake in Francisco Partners.
Categories Financial Services, Information Technology, Venture Capital
Headquarters Regions San Francisco Bay Area, West Coast, Western US
Founded Date 1999
Founders Sandy Robertson
Operating Status Active
Last Funding Type Corporate Round
Number of Employees 11-50
Child Hubs Francisco Partners Portfolio Companies
Investor Type Private Equity Firm
Investment Stage Early Stage Venture, Private Equity
Number of Exits 17
With $7 billion of capital under management, Francisco Partners is one of the world’s largest technology-focused private equity funds. The firm was founded to pursue structured investments in technology companies undergoing strategic, technological, and operational inflection points. Francisco Partners targets control investments in private companies, with transaction values ranging from $30 million to $2 billion. The principals of Francisco Partners have invested in excess of $3 billion of equity capital in over 50 technology companies.