Seapoint Plans $30M Oak-Anchored Fund –

BELLEVUE, Wash. – Created in August 1997 as a point fund in the Northwest for a trio of venture firms, Seapoint Ventures in July launched a $30 million fund that will enable the firm to more actively invest in the deals it sources.

The launch of Seapoint Fund I does not indicate a change of strategy at Seapoint. Where previously the firm received warrants in portfolio companies that it introduced, the fund will permit co-investment in those deals.

“This will also let Seapoint take advantage of seed-stage deals that the partners have passed on,” said Susan Sigl, an associate partner at the firm.

Oak Investment Partners, one of three backers supporting Seapoint, will anchor the fund as a limited partner, Sigl said. The firm’s two other backers, Sevin Rosen Funds and Venrock Associates, plan to participate in the fund, although Sigl said the manner of participation has not yet been determined.

In addition to the capital from the three funds, Seapoint plans to raise as much as 50% of the fund from high-net-worth individuals who have made angel investments in technology companies. Sigl expects the balance of the fund to come from larger institutions.

“[Individual] investors will also provide us with deal flow in the community,” she said.

Seapoint intends to continue sourcing deal opportunities in technology companies in the Northwest. The firm will serve as an adviser to portfolio companies, assisting in the construction and implementation of business plans that meet the requirements of later stage venture firms.

To date, Seapoint has matched seven companies with investors, resulting in those companies receiving more than $100 million in venture funding.

Portfolio companies include Airspan Communications Corp. of Bellevue, a wireless local loop, broadband CDMA system that offers telephony services; Avenue A Media of Seattle, an Internet media and data marketing company; Bridgeway Corp. of Redmond, Wash., a provider of customer network management solutions to telecom providers; InterNap Network Services of Seattle, an operator of private network access point facilities; a Bothell, Wash.-based company that comprises a team of independent researchers who maintain a public-access database; Qpass Inc. of Seattle, a transaction service for buyers and sellers of digital products on the Internet; and Tegic Communications, a Seattle-based designer of small form factor devices.

Seapoint started when the firm’s backers sought access to the increasing venture activity in the Northwest. The activity in the area has continued to increase. In fact, as of mid-July, 59 Washington state-based companies had received more than $855 million in total funding this year, according to Venture Economics Information Services, a data company affiliated with VCJ.

In conjunction with the fund launch, Seapoint plans to add a partner-level professional to the investment staff that currently consists of Sigl and Managing Partner Tom Huseby.

– G.M.