Advent Promotes Two as Fund III Nears First Close –

BOSTON – Advent International in early February promoted Wendy Phillips and Greg Smitherman to partners, in advance of an expected first close on its $300 million-targeted Fund III, Phillips said.

Phillips and Smitherman, part of the firm’s Global Venture Capital Group in Menlo Park, Calif., will manage the new vehicle along with three additional partners, Phillips said. The fund, slated for a mid-March close, has to date raised “north of $100 million” and will back early-stage communications equipment, Internet and enterprise software companies. Launched in the fall, Digital Media and Communications III is slated for a final close in the second quarter of this year.

“Fund raising has gone very well – there has been a lot of interest,” Phillips said.

Linsday Jones, a partner in the firm’s Boston office, declined to name any of the new fund’s limited partners, but said it included institutional investors, unlike Fund I and Fund II, which were only open to corporate investors, including NTT, NTT DoCoMo, Toshiba Group, Sonera Corp., Novell Inc. and McGraw-Hill Inc. Advent opened its latest fund to institutional investors because the previous two funds had good track records, and the firm was looking to enlarge its investor base, she explained.

Phillips, who joined Advent in 1991 as an associate, will continue to focus on enterprise software, the Internet and information technology services. She has participated in 20 investments and has led or co-led the firm’s investments in six companies. Smitherman, who joined Advent in 1997 as a principal, said the promotion took note of his participation in 11 deals, including XIOTech Corp., which recently was sold to Seagate Technology Inc. for $360 million. Smitherman, who focuses on communications technology and services, hardware/components and enterprise software, will continue to source and lead deals in his new role.

Andrew Fillat, managing director of the Global Venture Capital Group, said the two promotions would not greatly affect the responsibilities of the two partners, except that they would lead more of the deals on which they work.

Advent also has side funds, and the firm just began investing the $100 million Health Care and Life Sciences II fund, which was raised last year.

Advent has invested in over 50 information technology and communications companies in North America, Europe and Israel over the last three years. Nine of the firms portfolio companies in the information technology sector completed initial public offerings last year, raising nearly $750 million. The firm also sold 10 IT companies in 1999 for a combined value of more than $3 billion.