Can Sevin Rosen Win Sans Rosen?

THE TORCH IS being passed at high-flying venture-capital outfit Sevin Rosen Management. Its newest fund, $100 million Sevin Rosen V, will be its first without Benjamin Rosen, the former Wall Street analyst-turned-venture-marvel, as a partner. Rosen, who remains an adviser to the company, is spending more time on an electric-car start-up. "I'm completing the phase-down," says Rosen, 63.

The Dallas company's first fund, raised in 1981, is considered one of the biggest home runs in high-tech investing. General partners Rosen and semiconductor guru L.J. Sevin backed such blockblusters as Compaq Computer, Lotus Development, Cypress Semiconductor, and Silicon Graphics. The fund's $2.5 million 1982 investment in Compaq is now worth $1.1 billion.

General partners heading the newest fund will be five Young Turks from Sevin Rosen. They're sticking close to the Sevin Rosen investment philosophy, focusing Fund V on making seed and early-stage investments in information technologies such as communications, semiconductors, and software, says general partner John Jaggers.

One change: the younger generation's interest in biotech. Fund V will invest in life-science startups, which Sevin Rosen first explored in Fund IV with such investments as ArQule, maker of chemical building blocks for drugmakers. But it's too soon to assess that bet: None of the Fund IV outfits has gone public.

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