Transitions: Odeon Adds Investors Expanding Capital Base –

NEW YORK – Odeon Capital Partners LP in March, hired Steven Hochberg as the firm’s fourth partner, and Marc Aronstein joined the firm as a principal in February, said Jeffrey Finkle, a co-founder and managing partner at the firm.

Odeon will need the added manpower as it prepares to launch a second fund this summer that will be well in excess of $200 million, almost double the firm’s first vehicle. The exact target amount of the fund will depend on market conditions when fund raising begins, Finkle said.

The firm operates under a team approach, where all investment professionals are responsible for identifying investments, evaluating opportunities and closing deals. The partners also work together to assist their portfolio companies in recruiting teams, creating relationships and developing products, Finkle said.

The firm hired Hochberg because they wanted someone who can see things through the eyes of an entrepreneur, and who has gone through the process of building a company. Having started four Internet ventures, including Physicians Online Inc., combined with his formal investment experience at Alex Brown & Sons and Bain & Co., Hochberg is an ideal match for the firm, Finkle said.

Most recently, Aronstein served as vice president of corporate development at Inc., where he was responsible for executing the company’s e-commerce investments, partnerships and acquisitions. He also held positions at private equity firms EXOR America Inc. and Morgan Lewis Githens & Ahn Inc. The firm’s tactic of leveraging the Internet to improve the performance of traditional businesses fit well with his private equity background and Internet experience, Aronstein said.

Odeon focuses on early-stage Internet, networking, software and services companies, making average investments of $3 million to $5 million in each company. The firm is currently investing its first vehicle, the $115 million Odeon Capital Partners LP, and is invested in 19 companies, with room for about six more investments, before the fund is completely committed.

Fund II is expected to have about 35 to 40 portfolio companies and with about two to three times the capital the firm can take larger positions.

Odeon’s investment team consists of the four partners – Matthew Smith, Ira Machefsky, Finkle and Hochberg – and Aronstein, the lone principal. The firm might hire another partner to be based on the West Coast, as well as a couple of analysts in New York in time to invest its sophomore effort, Finkle said.

The firm has offices in New York and Cupertino, Calif.