NEW YORK – Internet incubator and venture firm Orbit Capital appointed Bruce Katz as corporate vice president last fall and expected to hire four or five more investment professionals in anticipation of launching a $100 million-targeted vehicle early this quarter.
The still unnamed fund will back early-stage e-commerce companies and, accordingly, the firm will look to add staff members with Internet experience, Orbit Capital Chairman and Chief Executive James Nelson said.
Katz formerly was vice president at Citibank’s E-Citi Internet and e-commerce division, where he designed business models and strategies for dotcom companies.
“Orbit is very involved with the operations of its companies, and that excited me at a time when I wasn’t looking for another job,” he added. “I look forward to working with a lot of very smart entrepreneurs with great business ideas, and I believe they’ll impact the way business is conducted.”
Because of its size, Citibank was limited to larger deals and took a hands-off approach, Katz said.
While at Citibank, Katz was responsible for developing business models for companies such as Bizzed.com, a small business portal, Finance.com, a personal finance portal for individual investors, and CitiWallet, Citibank’s digital wallet venture, in addition to helping evaluate investments on behalf of Citibank’s Internet Venture Capital Group.
Prior to joining Citibank, Katz was a business analyst at American Express Corporate Services and Dreyfus Corp., a mutual fund company.
Katz said he was attracted to Orbit because the group provides operational, managerial and strategic assistance for start-ups and entrepreneurs with great ideas, in addition to capital. “We are a one stop source of capital and expertise for entrepreneurs with great ideas, but who are perhaps new to the Internet as a business environment,” he added.
Orbit Capital is an affiliate of Orbitex Group, a global financial services company that has more than $12 billion under management.
Founded in January 1999, Orbit Capital has been making investments with the parent company’s funds, backing ventures such as Licenseonline.com Inc., a software Internet distributor, Workseek.com, a job-fair organizer, Symposium Corp., a marketing services provider for e-commerce companies, and Digital Marketing Inc., another marketing services company for both Internet and off-line businesses.
At Orbit Capital Katz will screen all new investments, and he will sit on the executive committee, which votes on investment and incubation decisions. In addition, he will assist with the development of incubator projects such as OrbitGems.com Ltd., an Internet estate and fine jewelry seller valued at $25 million. In particular, Katz will oversee the business-to-business side of OrbitGems, which he estimates “will account for up to 50% of profits and 60% to 70% of sales.”
Nelson said he got to know Katz through a mutual friend at Orbitex Management and was impressed with Katz’s track record at E-Citi. “He is the perfect match in terms of expertise for our incubator and venture projects,” Nelson said.