Accel Partners, the first venture firm to back Facebook Inc., led investments of almost $100 million today in two software makers, advancing its strategy of taking shares in later-stage technology companies.
Accel purchased a $60 million minority stake in Sydney- based Atlassian Pty and co-led a $38.5 million investment in New York-based Squarespace Inc., according to statements today. Both companies are at least seven years old and taking institutional money for the first time.
The investments come out of Accel’s $480 million growth fund, which last year bought a stake in Groupon Inc., the online coupon provider that’s valued at $1.35 billion. Atlassian and Squarespace are both profitable and fit into Accel’s plan to help Internet and software companies that are already successful accelerate growth, said Rich Wong, a partner at the Palo Alto, California-based firm.
“You’re starting to see a continued shift toward software technology and toward the Web,” said Wong, who is joining Atlassian’s board. “Mobile, the social Web and software are going to continue to be great categories to invest in.”
Accel, founded in 1983, profited from two of the biggest acquisitions of venture-backed companies last year. Google Inc. bought mobile-advertising company AdMob Inc. for $750 million, and Electronic Arts Inc. acquired social game maker Playfish Inc. for as much as $400 million.
Accel’s biggest boon may come when Facebook sells shares to the public. The firm bought a $12.7 million stake in Facebook in 2005, when the social network had 2.8 million users, less than 1 percent of its current membership.