James Fulton, Cooley partner
James Fulton, Cooley partner (Jason Doiy / The Recorder)

SAN FRANCISCO — Cooley advised Palo Alto-based Norwest Venture Partners on the formation of a $1.2 billion venture fund announced Tuesday.

The formation marks the half-century-old firm’s 12th fund, and brings Norwest’s total capital raised to $5 billion. The Cooley team was led by New York partner James Fulton and included partners Nicole Peppe and Webb “Bill” Morrow and associate Geoff Rapoport.

Norwest is a longtime client of Cooley, which advised on its last fund formation—another $1.2 billion raise—in 2009. Norwest’s general counsel, John Geschke, is a former Cooley partner.

In the past year, Norwest saw two of its investments, cybersecurity firm FireEye Inc. and online deal provider RetailMeNot Inc., go public. It also achieved returns through various acquisitions, such as the sale of wireless semiconductor company Passif Semiconductor Corp. to Apple Inc. and cybersecurity company Morta Security to Palo Alto Networks Inc.

Typically, Norwest invests in early to late-stage businesses, with a particular focus on sectors that include consumer Internet, infrastructure and applications. It mostly invests in the U.S, with some activity in Israel and India.

Senior managing partner Promod Haque said in a statement that Norwest will plow this fund into businesses with similar profiles. Norwest backs companies such as Gilt Groupe Inc. and Spotify.

Norwest’s raise lands it in the ranks of an elite few to reach the billion-dollar echelon this year. Technology Crossover Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz raised $2.2 billion and $1.5 billion, respectively, in March.

Contact the reporter at callison@alm.com.