Who wins in the Silver Spring IPO?: Foundation Capital

The headline pretty much says it all. Silver Spring Networks filed for a potentially $150 million IPO this week, but the group that stands to gain a lot in the short term is Silver Spring’s steadfast venture backer, Foundation Capital, which owned 41.5 percent, or 54.49 million, of the shares before the offering, according to Silver Spring’s filing.

The story of Foundation Capital supporting Silver Spring Networks has been told a couple of times over the past few years. The New York Times noted back in spring 2009 (when Silver Spring was initially considering going public) that Foundation Capital was looking for additional investors for Silver Spring in 2003, a year after Silver Spring was founded, and it was totally ignored.

But Foundation invested $8 million into Silver Spring, moved the company to an office in Redwood City, Calif., and hired CEO Scott Lang. In 2005, Silver Spring ran out of cash, and Foundation Capital kept it alive for 15 months with monthly loan checks, reported the New York Times (s nyt). Later, Silver Spring signed up its first big utility customer, Florida Power and Light (as well as dozens more), and brought in investors Kleiner Perkins, which owned 9.7 percent, or 12.61 million shares in Silver Spring before the offering.

We’ll see how much Foundation Capital stands to gain on paper after (and if) Silver Spring files its estimated price range, releases its amount of shares and prices its IPO. Investors commonly can’t get their money out of an IPO for at least 180 days, called the lock-up period.

Image courtesy of Foundation Capital or Foundation Partner Warren Weiss.