July 9, 2007, 12:00 AM

Staples founder targets multi-channel companies with $300 million fund

Tom Stemberg will lead a new fund at venture capital firm Highland Capital Partners. Focus will be on consumer-facing multi-channel companies, including retailers.

Kurt Peters

Executive Editor

Tom Stemberg, one of the co-founders of office supplies retailer Staples Inc., has set up a $300 million fund to invest in companies, including retailers, that provide products and services to consumers.

Multi-channel companies will be a special focus, Ted Philip, who will lead the Highland Consumer Fund I with Stemberg, tells Internet Retailer. “We like multi-channel companies that have both physical bricks and mortar as well as online,” says Philip, formerly of search engine company Lycos Inc.

The new fund is part of Highland Capital Partners, a venture capital firm with investments in such online retailers as VistaPrint and eToys. VistaPrint is No. 79 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, while eToys is No. 101. Highland also has investments in technology providers to online retailers, including web analytics company Coremetrics Inc. and customer service specialist LivePerson Inc.

Stemberg, who co-founded Staples in 1986, left the company in 2002. He joined Highland Capital Partners in 2005. Staples is No. 2 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.

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