Silicon Alley Firm Wraps $110M Debut –

NEW YORK – Maiden venture firm Odeon Capital Partners is setting its sights on technology deals in Silicon Alley and beyond with the backing of several strategic limited partners who helped the vehicle reach a $110 million final close in early July.

Launched early this year, Odeon will invest in enterprise software, e-commerce, strategic consulting and outsourcing and security network management deals, said the firm’s Managing General Partner Matthew Smith.

The firm will not geographically limit where it searches for its deal flow, but its strategic partnership ties draw the fund’s attention principally to New York and secondarily to Silicon Valley and Israel. Odeon was founded with a $30 million investment from the Wolfson Organization, an active venture investor in the United States and Israel with commitments to Softbank Technology Ventures and Technology Crossover Ventures and a frequent co-investor with Mr. Smith’s former firm, Wheatley Partners.

Internet consulting firm USWeb/CKS and Merrill Lynch round out the firm’s roster of corporate limited partners. “Our objective was to have 50% of our L.P. interests bring more than just money,” Mr. Smith said.

Odeon also has assembled a host of individuals in roles that complement the firm’s hands-on approach. Strategic limited partners, who provide Odeon with a wealth of venture capital and technology investing experience, include co-founder of Fort Lee, N.J.-based venture firm Geocapital Partners; Irwin Lieber and Barry Rubenstein, general partners of Wheatley, Applewood Associates; and 21st Century Communications Partners.

Additionally, the firm has assembled an advisory board composed of technology executives to identify deals and provide advice to portfolio companies, and two consulting partners to provide other hands-on assistance to the firm’s entrepreneurs.

With offices in New York and Cupertino, Calif., Odeon had closed seven deals by press time, including four in Silicon Alley: Web community developer CyberSites, online bargain-hunting service Dealtime, Web shopping incentive program FreeRide Media and Internet-based business software developer Opus360 Corp.

The firm also closed a deal in Boston, business and information technology consulting firm The Avicon Group Inc., and two in Silicon Valley, USWeb founder Joe Firmage’s New Age incubator, Intend Change, and its first project Electron Economy. Odeon has term sheets pending on three other deals, including one in Israel.

Mr. Smith and Jeffrey Finkle, a business development veteran of Computer Associates and Cheyenne Software, oversee the firm’s New York office, and Ira Machefsky, a former vice president and senior analyst at Giga Information Group, heads up the Cupertino office. The firm expects to add a fourth partner in California later this year.