Fund Briefs, December 2009

Ballast Banks on $140M

Ballast Point Ventures has raised $140 million in limited partner commitments for its second fund, according to a regulatory filing. The St. Petersburg, Fla.-based venture firm, which invests in companies in the Southeast and Texas, had targeted the fund at $150 million.

Ballast Point raised $53 million for its debut fund in 2003, with financial services provider Raymond James Financial as its lead investor. Raymond James invested in fund II, along with new investor Florida Growth Fund, which was formed by the State Board of Administration of Florida and Hamilton Lane to manage Florida-focused venture capital and private equity investments.

Ballast Point Ventures II will be managed by Partners Richard Brandewie, Drew Graham and Paul Johan.

Portfolio Advisors Beats Target

Darien, Conn.-based Portfolio Advisors has closed its debut secondaries fund with $1.1 billion in capital commitments, surpassing its $600 million goal.

The firm has invested in secondaries via its fund-of-funds vehicles, but this is its first dedicated secondaries vehicle. A majority of its secondary interests will go toward funds in which the firm is already confident. It has made commitments to venture capital, buyout, growth equity and distressed debt vehicles worldwide.

In 2007, Portfolio Advisors and Pomona Capital won the bidding for the secondary sale of Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, which was a much sought after private equity portfolio.

Maverick Angels Goes International

Thousands Oak, Calif.-based Maverick Angels has partnered with Intesa Sao Paolo, Italy’s largest bank, to launch a new angel network based in Milan.

Maverick President John Dilts says the angel group has been looking for ways to partner with large corporations that want faster access to startups. A lot of corporate venture arms got burned in the tech bubble and pulled back on investing in startups, and now they’ve fallen behind, Dilts says.

“But the economy is changing dramatically at the same time that business cycles are shortening and new opportunities are coming up faster,” notes Dilts, who founded the group three years ago soon after leaving Keiretsu Forum. “VCs are calling us—there are mid-level venture capital vehicles investing at the early stage—and the corporate model is changing.” —Deborah GageRomulus Raises Debut Fund

Romulus Capital, a seed-stage investment firm focused on student-run startups in the Boston area, has closed its debut fund, according to its website. No financial information was disclosed, although a recent regulatory filing indicated that Romulus was seeking to raise up to $1.2 million.

The firm’s roster includes co-founders and General Partners Anantshree Chaturvedi, Cankut Durgun and Krishna Gupta.