Sterling Venture, Set to Close Fund I –

BALTIMORE, Md. – Sterling Venture Partners LLC expected to hold a final close at the end of September on $155 million for Sterling Venture Partners LP, the firm’s first vehicle, said Eric Becker, a managing partner at the firm.

The fund, originally targeted to reach $100 million, held a first close on $60 million on May 31. The firm targets telecommunications, information technology, business services, e-commerce and health-care technology companies. It will invest between $2 million and $10 million in about 15 to 20 individual portfolio companies. The firm targets early-stage companies in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions.

The firm prefers to be the first institutional investor to back a company and likes to lead deals because it wants to be able to spend time with the entrepreneurs. “[We] can help companies grow because we’ve all done it before,” Sterling said.

The firm’s investment team members are all former chief executive officers of companies that fall within the fund’s investment focus areas. They include Managing Partners Eric Becker, Michael Bronfein and Steven Taslitz, Chief Financial Officer Sam Beritela, and Principals Alan Macksey, Daniel Rosenberg, Scott Schelle and Stephen Thompson.

At press time, the firm had invested the fund in five companies, expending $20 million of capital. The investments include TidePoint Corp., Versient Inc. and Woodwind Communications.

The firm’s limited partners include some of the largest public pension plans in the U.S., Deutsche Bank, T. Rowe Price and a private network of 56 CEOs in the Mid-Atlantic and Midwest regions.

Sterling Venture Partners is affiliated with Sterling Capital Ltd., a private investment firm established in 1983. About five years ago, the investment firm began to back early-stage companies. Sterling Capital invested the firm’s money, along with that of a group of high-net-worth individuals. About one year ago, however, the firm decided to launch Sterling Venture Partners, a formal fund, to attract institutional capital.