JEGI Preps $100M E-commerce Fund –

NEW YORK – Less than six months after being hired away from his managing director post at GE Capital, Tom Crowley has helped JEGI Capital LLC launch a new venture capital fund targeting early-stage e-commerce companies that develop applications of interest to traditional media organizations.

More specifically, the fund will focus on front-end Web-hosted services, traditional infrastructure plays and enabling technologies that enhance the diversity and possibilities of media Web sites.

“We’re really not looking at new media businesses here but real e-commerce and Internet companies that can help the media improve and expand on what they do,” Crowley said. He added that the fund was currently in the documentation stage on its first investment, an enabling technology company.

Named JEGI Internet Economy Partners (JIEP), the new fund has a target of $100 million in committed capital by this summer. Despite that target date, the fund will remain open until mid-September with a maximum cap of $150 million. So far, JIEP has raised $42 million from a limited partner pool made up of existing media companies, high-net-worth individuals and institutional investors. A second close is expected in late April.

JEGI Capital is the Internet-focused affiliate of boutique investment bank The Jordan, Emiston Group Inc. Crowley said that the fund’s tight focus on early-stage and start-up companies allayed JEGI’s initial concerns over possible conflicts of interest between potential portfolio companies and existing media clients.

He added, though, that the fund does indeed plan to leverage its relationships with established media players. “We will be value-added investors that can open doors that some of these start-ups probably can’t open on their own, but at that point we’ll leave any future relationship up to the two companies,” Crowley said.