June 8, 1998 |
A new class of extra-patient, risk-tolerant investors is scouring the Philadelphia area, looking for businesses once deemed too small and risky even for venture capitalists. Financed by wealthy institutions such as Safeguard Scientifics of Wayne, MBNA Corp. of Wilmington, and the Pennsylvania teachers' pension system, and at times by tax dollars, new "early stage" venture capital funds have raised more than $70 million so far this year to back fledgling Philadelphia-area companies they hope will strike it rich.
October 5, 1998 |
The pictures haven't been hung and some boxes remain unopened, but the research continues at Message Pharmaceuticals Inc. In August, the 9-month-old biotechnology company bought several patents from its former parent, Bearsden Bio Inc., for an undisclosed amount. It relocated from Bearsden's Aston offices to its own digs in Charlestown. Last week it raised $6.3 million from five venture capital firms. Now, all it has to do is prove its drug-discovery technology will work. Message Pharmaceuticals is testing a method of using proteins to create drugs.
February 3, 2003 |
Like a doctor consoling a patient, Gerald A. Schaafsma emphasizes the positives in the state of private investing in the Philadelphia region. "I can't say our region is suffering any more than any other part of the country," said Schaafsma, chairman of the Greater Philadelphia Venture Group, one of the area's largest associations of private investors and related professionals. Schaafsma, general partner of Anthem Capital L.P., of Rosemont, even detects signs of a possibly quick return to health: More than 30 percent of the region's private financing went to "early stage" companies last year, versus about 20 percent nationally, suggesting a renewed appetite for these investments, which are considered riskier than financing company expansions.
March 22, 2000 |
The Pennsylvania teachers' pension system has accelerated its push into the high-risk, global venture capital markets by committing $135 million to a new, Radnor-based private equity fund. The Co-Investment 2000 Fund will be managed by Radnor-based Cross-Atlantic Capital Partners and by Richard M. Fox, who until January was head of the investment banking arm of Penn Mutual Life Insurance Co. and its Janney Montgomery Scott brokerage. The new fund will invest in some of the privately held companies belonging to 25 venture capital firms that already manage money for the state-subsidized Pennsylvania Public School Employees Retirement System, according to Fox and John C. Lane, the pension system's chief investment officer.
March 5, 2001 |
Despite investors' anxiety over the nation's technology sector, venture capital was abundant last year. Philadelphia-area companies received $914 million in 78 deals. More than three-quarters of the money went into Internet-related ventures - about the same as in 1999. The amount invested locally in 2000 declined slightly from 1999, when venture capitalists put $929 million into 56 deals. Nearly half of the 1999 amount, $450 million, went to one firm, Digital Access Inc., of Bala Cynwyd, which announced last week that it was shutting down.
September 6, 1998 |
When Wall Street went ballistic last week, observers said the window had slammed shut on small companies that want to go public. However, for the venture capital firms that back these start-ups before they hit the big time, the downturn may not be so bad in the long run. "The [entrepreneurial] companies themselves probably view this quite negatively. The venture funds view this in more of a balanced or neutral way," said Jim Buck, general partner of TDH, a venture-capital firm in Rosemont with $70 million under management.
January 6, 1999 |
Comcast Corp. of Philadelphia has started its own venture capital fund to seek out, acquire and manage companies developing Internet-related technologies. Comcast will seed the fund - called Comcast Interactive Capital Group - with $100 million of its own money and for now will keep the fund as an exclusive Comcast venture. Comcast's move signifies the Internet's increasing importance to cable and communications companies. The cable industry is rapidly evolving from solely delivering video programming to selling TV programming, high-speed Internet access, and telephone service.
February 29, 2000 |
Got an idea for a dot-com site that will dwarf Amazon.com? A biotech cure for the common cold? A doohickey that will revolutionize tele-communications? If so, you're probably in need of cash to help get that great idea off the ground and into the marketplace. Such beyond-the-cutting-edge ideas are unlikely to make it past the loan review committee at your local bank or savings and loan. But they are the meat and potatoes for technology-oriented venture capital funds - groups of individuals, companies and institutions that pool their cash to finance high-tech entrepreneurs.
September 19, 2013
IN 1991, GEORGE Gendron, then-editor of Inc. magazine, penned a column about the best places to do business in the United States. He wrote that Philadelphia was "the Baghdad of the U.S. economy. Nothing works. Don't tell me about all the hot young Philly growth companies. Of the 20 Inc. 500 companies in the metro area, 19 are located as far out of town as they can get. " So what's changed in 22 years? Not much, according to a report Sept. 4 on the website The Atlantic Cities.
April 23, 2012 |
The Philadelphia region finally was home to one of the nation's biggest venture capital deals last quarter. Unfortunately, what the company does won't set imaginations afire because, I'm sorry to say, developing software for the insurance industry just isn't as sexy as, say, software to help you organize and share your digital photos. Still, Exton-based iPipeline Inc. did raise $71.44 million in January, good enough to place No. 8 on a list of the nation's largest venture deals included in the PricewaterhouseCoopers/National Venture Capital Association MoneyTree Report, released Friday.