WAYNE, Pa. – Pennsylvania Early Stage Partners, a partially state-sponsored $50 million private equity vehicle, was launched in early 1998 to spur early-stage technology investments in Pennsylvania.
The fund was established in response to Governor Tom Ridge’s Technology 21 initiative, which was launched several years ago to help boost the state’s high-tech industry and attract new businesses to the area.
Limited partners consist of Team Pennsylvania Foundation, a quasi-governmental non-profit organization that provides Pennsylvania companies with access to resources outside of the state budget; Safeguard Scientifics Inc., a Pennsylvania-based information technology investor that manages eight other venture funds; and the Pennsylvania School Employes’ Retirement System.
Pennsylvania Early Stage expects to make 25 to 30 investments, with commitments ranging between $250,000 and $2 million per round but averaging about $1 million per deal.
The fund will invest in start-up and early-stage Pennsylvania information technology companies and businesses that agree to relocate to the state. Pennsylvania Early Stage also will invest in catalyst-stage companies – established businesses that develop a new technology and need additional financing.
Pennsylvania Early Stage is overseen by Managing Director Mike Bolton, a 14-year veteran of the Pennsylvania venture community, and Principals Stephen Amsterdam, a former senior associate of TL Ventures, and Rob McCord, a senior fellow and adjunct faculty member of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business.
The fund’s first eleven portfolio companies are as follows:
STORM Systems (Pittsburgh) develops and markets stand-alone and embedded Internet-enabling software products and related services.
AANetcom (Allentown, Pa.) provides enabling system-on-a-chip technology for networking and communications systems customers.
Argus Networks (Camp Hill, Pa.) provides data collection, networking and storage services to the transportation and environmental industries.
Arista Knowledge Systems (Alameda, Calif.) provides information technology solutions and assessment tools for network-based training and education.
Destiny Software (Conshohocken, Pa.) provides software solutions to the financial services industry.
Interactive Commerce Group (Conshohocken, Pa.) owns and operates the 4Internet Network, a system that gives Web users access to a variety of targeted affinity sites, without the need of a search engine.
Maxwell Systems (Norristown, Pa.) develops software products and provides technical support and consulting services for the construction, service management and property management industries.
PhotoTronics (Philadelphia) develops proprietary digital photographic quality imaging systems independent of conventional film.
PRWT ComServ (Philadelphia) will offer expanded call center services to commercial customers.
QuestOne Decision Sciences (Bethlehem, Pa.) develops software, training and education technology for Fortune 1000 companies. QuestOne is a spin-off from Lehigh University and the Iacocca Institute.
Vcall (Philadelphia) broadcasts corporate investor relations events over the Internet.
Pennsylvania Early Stage Partners is located at 435 Devon Park Dr., 800 The Safeguard Building, Wayne, PA 19087, tel. (610) 293-4075, fax. (610) 254-4240. The firm can be found on the Web at www.paearlystage.com.