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Venture Capital

BUSINESS
October 29, 2004 | By Porus P. Cooper INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Vis.align Inc., of West Chester, could be a poster child for the state of the venture-capital industry. The information-technology company, built by private investors, is on the comeback trail from severe setbacks four years ago when the technology boom collapsed and it had to lay off hundreds of employees. It received $400,000 in the quarter ended Sept. 30, bringing to $9 million the amount it has raised over the last five years. Earlier this week, it was making a pitch at the Mid-Atlantic Venture Conference in Philadelphia for $5 million more, to buy smaller companies next year.
BUSINESS
September 8, 2004 | By Porus P. Cooper INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Quaker BioVentures Inc., a Philadelphia venture-capital firm, said yesterday that it had raised $280 million from investors, including $115 million from state and city pension funds. The firm, founded in 2002, focuses on biotechnology investments and already has made commitments to six small companies, most of them in the Philadelphia region. The amount is unusually large, especially for a first-time venture fund, said John Taylor, head of research at the National Venture Capital Association.
BUSINESS
July 30, 2004 | By Linda Loyd INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
In an encouraging sign for cash-hungry entrepreneurs, venture-capital firms are starting to invest more money in start-up companies. One big beneficiary is a Philadelphia specialty pharmaceutical company developing new treatments for congestive heart failure. Cardiokine Inc. received $37 million in venture financing to begin Phase 3 clinical trials on a drug, Lixivaptan, licensed from Wyeth. It is one of 27 companies in the region that received a total of $127.4 million during the second quarter of the year, according to the quarterly MoneyTree Survey released this week by PricewaterhouseCoopers L.L.P.
BUSINESS
April 30, 2004 | By Porus P. Cooper INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Private investors in new technology companies, who were staggered by losses from the collapse of many Internet-based ventures just a few years ago, have regained their footing, largely by turning to health-care firms, an industry survey reports. These investors have been heartened by a surge in both initial public offerings and acquisitions. These two methods of selling companies in their portfolios had virtually dried up in recent years, discouraging investors from making commitments.
BUSINESS
March 1, 2004 | By Porus P. Cooper INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Want to know what's happened to technology investing? Follow Steven D. Hobman. The peripatetic financier has come home, so to speak, to NewSpring Ventures L.P., of King of Prussia. He helped found the private-equity fund 4 1/2 years ago but then served only on its advisory and investment panels, as he set up shop at a series of area banks. But now he is at NewSpring full time, helping to launch a $100 million "mezzanine" fund. These are funds that invest in companies that have grown out of their infancy, need capital to expand, and have the revenues to take on some debt.
BUSINESS
December 16, 2003 | By Joseph N. DiStefano INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
One of Philadelphia's largest law firms has agreed to pay $5.8 million to settle malpractice claims alleging the firm failed to prevent losses in public pension funds in Pennsylvania and three other states. Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll L.L.P., which counts Gov. Rendell among its former partners, will pay the money to its former client, the troubled, Philadelphia-based Keystone V Partners L.P. venture capital fund, to be returned to the pension funds. The deal must win approval from Judge Gene D. Cohen of Philadelphia Common Pleas Court's commercial section.
BUSINESS
November 3, 2003 | By Porus P. Cooper INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Small technology companies in the Philadelphia area that are backed by private-equity funds have received more money so far this year than in all of 2002. Through the third quarter of this year, $318 million was invested; $284 million was invested last year, according to the quarterly MoneyTree Survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers L.L.P., Thomson Venture Economics and the National Venture Capital Association. Nearly $78 million was invested in the third quarter, more than double the amount in the same quarter a year ago. That reverses two years of sharp declines in such investments, which are so risky that they have become a barometer of economic optimism.
BUSINESS
October 24, 2003 | By Joseph N. DiStefano INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
The Securities and Exchange Commission has ordered the Pennsylvania state workers' pension system to hand over records of its relationship with a troubled Philadelphia venture-capital firm that is the subject of a government investigation. "They want some documents dealing with the Keystone IV, V and VI [venture-capital funds] in reference to their pursuit of the principals of Keystone," Nicholas Maiale, the Philadelphia lawyer who is chairman of the $20 billion Pennsylvania State Employees' Retirement System, said after learning of the SEC subpoena yesterday.
BUSINESS
August 4, 2003 | By Porus P. Cooper INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
In a sign of the times, a company that thinks of mice as pests - not computer accessories - has reported raising the largest amount in private equity investments in the Philadelphia area in recent months. GCA Services Group Inc., of West Conshohocken, is in a business few would immediately associate with the technology-focused world of venture capital: It provides janitorial services. Year after year, only 10 percent of the deals funded by venture funds involve non-technology companies.
BUSINESS
April 1, 2003 | By Porus P. Cooper INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
If officials' most optimistic scenario comes to pass, in two years, Camden will be home to a venture-capital fund that will have $75 million to invest in emerging-technology companies in the region. A down payment of $850,000 was delivered yesterday by officials of the U.S. Economic Development Administration to Rutgers Camden Technology Campus Inc., a small-business incubator that was launched in October. About $750,000 will go toward groundwork for the fund, including legal expenses and a search for professionals to manage it. The incubator is an arm of Rutgers University's School of Business at Camden, and the university raised $550,000 to qualify for the EDA grant.
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