Austin Ventures big on PE, softer on VC

Austin Ventures’ $50 million funding of a new software company in June was the latest in a series of so-called roll-up deals that many say demonstrates its strategy to act more like a private equity firm and less like a venture capital investor.

Austin Ventures, the city’s dominant VC firm, has dedicated about two-thirds, or nearly $600 million, of its latest fund to growth equity fundings, which include roll-ups, firm officials said. A roll-up is a company created, typically by an investment firm, by acquiring and combining multiple companies.

Such deals underscore Austin Ventures’ shift away from early-stage venture capital, a type of financing that officials said during the closing of their previous fund in 2005 was the firm’s “bread and butter.”

That bread and butter appears to have become more of a side dish.