Palo Alto-based venture firm, Eclipse Ventures, has raised $1.2 billion across two funds. One fund, with $720 million in capitals commitments, will be invested in early-stage outfits, as well as startups that Eclipse itself incubates. The remaining $510 million will be funneled into growth-stage companies, including outfits that have never raised outside capital but that also fit into Eclipse’s broader themes. The firm’s capital under management is now at $4 billion.
Having being founded just eight years ago, the capital under management is a substantive achievement. Apparently, Eclipse’s ongoing pitch – that legacy industries need to modernize how they operate in order to stay competitive – is resonating with its investors.
Firm founder Lior Susan explains that there is so much opportunity in automation in general. Susan went ahead to give examples of how professionals in some fields e.g., warehousing, construction are getting fewer by the day and replaced by automation. She says that Eclipse intends to build a lot of automation companies in those markets.
There are many ways to pull traditional industries into the 21st century, judging by Eclipse’s wide-ranging portfolio. One of its biggest bets, for example, is on Bright Machines, a still-private company that looks to ensure that all the different components in a factory are connected to a central control system that can monitor and manage their operations in real time.
Eclipse also backed Enovix, a company that went public through a special purpose acquisition company last year and is producing lithium-ion batteries for small devices like smart watches, as well as 3D cell technology and batteries for electric vehicles. Eclipse was also an early investor in Lucira, a company focused on developing and commercializing infectious disease test kits. (It staged a traditional IPO in early 2021 when COVID was still rampant.)
“We think there is a massive opportunity for Eclipse at the early growth stage, and not just at the early stage. Our first bet from this new fund, for example, is Watchmaker Genomics, a company that will accelerate pharma manufacturing using enzymes and automation. Justin, one of our partners, knew the team for a couple of years; they’d bootstrapped the business to advanced revenue and traction after selling their previous company to Roche for $1.2 billion, and kind of elbowed our way in because they wanted someone to help them accelerate their manufacturing. We invested alongside Decheng Capital, which is an expert in the world of biotech,” Susan said responding to why Eclipse announced two funds rather than just raising a bigger flagship fund.