AVT Tries Its Hand At Corporate VC –

KIRKLAND, Wash. – AVT Corp., a developer of managed communications solutions, in January launched AVT Capital LLC, a $25 million venture capital fund.

The vehicle, which receives capital solely from its parent company, will back about 10 to 15 early-stage e-commerce business-to-business communications companies primarily on the West Coast, said Roger Fukai, the company’s executive vice president and chief financial officer, who will also be responsible for managing the fund. AVT Capital will make investments in individual portfolio companies ranging from $1 million to $3 million, none of which have been selected yet.

AVT is one of a number of corporations in recent years to enter the world of venture investing. AVT provides tools for communications management to organizations such as Lucas Films, Georgio Armani, The Dannon Co. Inc. and Bestfoods, that have high volumes of communications workflow. The company created a venture fund to enhance the capabilities of its parent company and to reap the financial rewards of venture investments, Fukai said.

AVT seeks to invest in products, such as speech to text technologies that can be incorporated into the company’s existing communication products. Additionally, the fund will back companies that will enhance the capabilities of hand-held communication devices such as phones and beepers, all of which will benefit AVT, Fukai said.

Fukai, and Richard LaPorte, chairman and chief executive officer at AVT, will source deals with a financial expert and support staff that has yet to be hired.

The company expects its venture fund to be completely invested within two years, Fukai said.