Funds: Wit SoundView Closes Fund III –

NEW YORK – Wit SoundView Ventures, the venture capital unit of Wit Capital Group Inc., closed the $270 million Dawntreader Fund II LP in late-April, said Daniel DeWolf, a managing director at the firm.

Wit SoundView launched the vehicle, targeted at $200 million, in late January and held a first close in mid-February. The firm will invest the fund in approximately 25 to 35 Internet and technology companies with initial investments of $5 million to $10 million, DeWolf said.

Wit SoundView abides by what it refers to as a bar-bell strategy, investing in early and late-stage companies. The firm focuses on companies based on the East Coast, but is willing to go anywhere if an opportunity presents itself, DeWolf said. At press time, the firm had made three investments in undisclosed companies.

Managing Directors Edward Sim, Andrew Weissman and DeWolf, and Vice President Edwin Carlson will make investments. The team will continue to manage a portfolio of about 25 to 30 companies from its two previous vehicles, the $22 million Dawntreader Fund I LP and Wit Capital’s Arista Capital Partners LP, a $38.5 million Internet-related venture capital fund.

Having worked together since April 1998, the investment team came to Wit Capital as a group in November 1999 from Dawntreader, a venture firm founded by Robert Lessin, the chairman and co-chief executive officer of Wit Capital. Dawntreader’s investment professionals joined Wit Capital to benefit from the parent company’s research capabilities, deal flow and institutional relationships.

The firm’s portfolio includes Opus360 Corp., a New York-based business-to-business online employment firm, which went public in April, and Caldera Systems Inc., an Orem, Utah-based provider of Linux-based e-business products and services, which went public in March.

The firm’s limited partners include a mix of large financial institutions, public companies and high-net-worth individuals, most of which are expected to join the new fund, DeWolf said.