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Venture Capital

BUSINESS
September 9, 2011 | By Mike Armstrong, Inquirer Columnist
Not even a lot of rain Thursday could dampen the entrepreneurial spirits of those at DreamIt Ventures Inc. That's because DreamIt disclosed the 15 start-ups that will spend the fall in its business acceleration program in West Philadelphia. And despite the 25 feet of rain that's fallen here since early August, not a one of them is trying to make a better umbrella or sump pump. DreamIt trends more to the Web-based or mobile business than the machine shop in part because that's where the interests of venture capital investors are. When Groupon , the Chicago online coupon firm, can claim a market valuation of $30 billion after just three years, you can see why. Starting Monday, the DreamIt companies will gather for 13 intense weeks of battle-testing their business plans and beta websites in their temporary home at the University City Science Center.
BUSINESS
June 26, 2011 | By Joseph N. DiStefano, Inquirer Staff Writer
The Pennsylvania State Employees' Retirement System (SERS) invested $20 million in Radnor-based Cross Atlantic Capital Partners Inc.'s first technology venture capital fund, back in 1999 during the dot.com boom, when then-Gov. Tom Ridge hoped it would help fund higher pensions. Twelve years later, the taxpayer-supported system had gotten back just $19 million of its first investment, and no profit, according to its Dec. 31 report. In 2001, SERS voted to put an additional $32.9 million with Cross Atlantic Technology Fund II . It's gotten back not quite $19 million.
NEWS
May 26, 2011
Amy Banse, a 20-year Comcast Corp. veteran, has been appointed to head the Comcast Ventures, the combined venture capital arms of Comcast and NBCUniversal. The $750 million Comcast-controlled fund will have offices in San Francisco, Philadelphia, New York and London. Banse, who had been based in Philadelphia, will relocate to San Francisco and focus on e-commerce, digital media and entertainment. She reports to Michael Angelakis, the chief financial officer. Banse previously ran Comcast Interactive Media.
BUSINESS
April 18, 2011 | By Mike Armstrong, Inquirer Columnist
Mirroring the frustratingly slow recovery in the broader economy, the venture capital sector cheered improved, if somewhat simmering, activity in the first quarter. Nationally, about $5.9 billion was invested in 736 deals in 2011's first three months, according to the PricewaterhouseCoopers / National Venture Capital Association MoneyTree Report, released Friday. In the fourth quarter, venture capital firms poured $5.6 billion into 827 deals. Based on data from Thomson Reuters , the MoneyTree Report tallied 22 deals for the Philadelphia region totaling $149.6 million for the first quarter.
BUSINESS
February 25, 2011 | By Mike Armstrong, Inquirer Columnist
It would be hard to pick a worse time to try to raise a venture capital fund than 2010. Many institutional investors and wealthy individuals were shying away from a type of investing that simply had not produced the riches promised. Thomson Reuters and the National Venture Capital Association counted 157 funds that raised $12.3 billion in 2010. Both were well below the 237 funds and the $31.2 billion raised in 2007. Those able to raise money needed an unbeatable track record or a new approach.
BUSINESS
January 21, 2011 | By Mike Armstrong, Inquirer Columnist
The swoon may be over for the venture capital industry nationally with the number of deals and the amount invested rising in 2010 for the first time since 2007. But region- ally the action was more subdued. The PricewaterhouseCoopers/- National Venture Capital Association MoneyTree Report, released Friday, shows some improvement for an in- dustry that has never returned to the manic heights it reached during the days of Internet Bubble 1.0 in 2000. The question is: With nosebleed valuations of $50 billion for Facebook and $15 billion for Groupon being bandied about, are we in the middle of another Internet bubble?
BUSINESS
December 7, 2010 | By Mike Armstrong, Inquirer Columnist
   While those who run venture-capital funds may get more attention, angel investors invest in far more start-ups in a given year.    The National Venture Capital Association cites data from Thomson Reuters that show 728 companies obtained their initial investments from venture funds in 2009 - a total of $3.3 billion invested.    In contrast, 57,225 businesses raised $17.6 billion from 259,480 individuals in 2009, according to the Center for Venture Research at the University of New Hampshire .    However, like the shrinking venture-capital industry, angel investment has also been declining, said the center.
BUSINESS
October 26, 2010 | By Joseph N. DiStefano, Inquirer Staff Writer
It's a good time to ask for money - if you're a big corporation that can afford to issue bonds at today's record-low interest rates, or a well-connected real estate firm looking to fund distressed projects at fat discounts, or a small company in one of the high-tech sweet spots that wealthy private investors love. It's an awful time to ask for money - if you're a small business trying to borrow from regional banks caught between fallen real estate values that have devalued loan portfolios and the newly tough Washington bank examiners, who want to make sure the easy-money years are really over and lenders aren't taking too many risks.
NEWS
April 27, 2010
RESEARCHERS for the Kauffman Foundation surveyed more than 500 founders of successful businesses in high-growth industries to see what they had in common. These are some attributes that stood out: The successful entrepreneur's average age was 40. Nearly 70 percent were married when they started their company, and nearly 60 percent had at least one child. More than 90 percent grew up in middle-class or upper-lower-class families. Their average birth order was second in the family.
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