Private Equity Week Wire for Friday, Jan. 11

BOSTON — Advent International, the global private equity investor, today announced that it has raised $1.9 billion for its Global Private Equity IV fund (GPE IV), a sector-focused fund expected to invest 70 percent of its capital in Europe and 30 percent in North America. The new fund brings total capital managed by Advent to $6 billion.

GPE IV is targeting buyouts and established growth companies in the $100 million-$500 million capitalization range, as well as selected larger investments in key industries. The new fund is 60 percent larger than its predecessor, GPE III, raised in 1997.

GPE IV will develop an internationally diversified portfolio of later-stage investments in industries where Advent has substantial expertise and a successful track record, including: specialty chemicals, media, pharmaceuticals, business services, software and information technology, and telecommunications.

A total of 62 investors participated in GPE IV. In addition to the strong support received from Advent’s existing limited partners, 35 new investors committed $790 million to the program. More than 40 percent of this new capital came from European institutional investors, reflecting the surge of interest in private equity as an asset class in Europe in recent years. Overall, two-thirds of GPE IV’s capital was raised from North American sources and one-third from European, Asian and Middle Eastern investors.

Selected investors in GPE IV include Abbey National, the British Columbia Investment Management Corporation, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS), the CPP Investment Board, GE Capital, General Motors Investment Management Corporation, the Funds managed by Standard Life, and the State of Michigan.

GPE IV has made three investments to date: Materis S.a.r.l., a spin-off of the specialty construction materials division of Lafarge; Datek Online Holdings Corp., a leading online brokerage firm and provider of day-trading software and clearing technology; and The Island ECN Inc., one of the world’s largest electronic communications networks, executing over 20 percent of Nasdaq trade volume.

SAN FRANCISCO — ezboard Inc., which enables users to create and customize their own Web-based “social space” for professional collaboration and social discussion, announced that it closed a Series D capital financing led by Labrador Ventures. Additional partners include Scripps Ventures and Staenberg Private Capital. The additional financing gives ezboard the opportunity to build upon its market-leading online community presence and groundbreaking Community-Supported Communities(TM) and Community Chest user payment programs.

ezboard has become the market leader by offering an easy-to-use application that engages people to create and participate in highly customized and personalized online communities, which may be seamlessly integrated with any web page. These virtual communities, like their real world counterparts, foster communication, ideas and commerce.

The company is backed by Labrador Ventures, Scripps Ventures and Staenberg Venture Partners. Other investors include Kathy Levinson, former President & COO of E*TRADE Group, Mark Pincus, former Chairman of Support.com, and Yosi Amram, President & CEO of Valicert.

NEW YORK — Newtek Capital Inc. a specialist in acquiring, developing and operating early stage high growth businesses, announced today that it has acquired Exponential Business Development Company Inc. a venture capital firm located in Syracuse and Albany, New York. Exponential invests exclusively in early stage businesses located in the Upstate New York region, and operates through a number of investment vehicles including a certified capital company (“CAPCO”). The acquisition of Exponential continues Newtek’s plan to make strategic acquisitions, broadening its comprehensive coverage and strengthening its entrepreneurial resources.

Exponential’s six principals, all successful entrepreneurs committed to managing and developing businesses in this region include: Dirk Sonneborn, formerly with Coopers & Lybrand, who is and will remain Chief Executive of Exponential; Jeffrey Solomon, former Chairman of Paul-Jeffrey Company, a company specializing in distribution of consumer products, who has over 30 years of experience in the field of logistics, with expertise in productivity and cost control; Michael Marvin, Co-Chairman of MapInfo, Inc. a software development company founded in 1986, who has had responsibility for creating strategic technology alliances with Fortune 500 companies and others and has assisted in the formulation of dozens of strategic plans for early stage companies; Paul Solomon, a 30-year expert in the field of logistics and marketing with an expertise in implementing sales strategies, who is former President of Paul-Jeffrey Company; Robert Godgart, Chairman of AutoTask Group, a software development company specializing in business management solutions for project-driven companies and former Chairman of Image Systems and Technology Company, a Troy, New York-based software company acquired by Softdesk, Inc. in 1994, and; Lawrence Wetzel, co-founder of Clean Room Technology, Inc. and currently Chairman of Air Innovations, Inc. and CleanRoom Systems Inc., designers and manufacturers of air control and conditioning equipment, with extensive experience in manufacturing and the construction industry. Each of the six principals has a multi-year agreement to continue working with Exponential.

Since inception, Exponential has made first round investments in over 30 early stage businesses, including ReQuest Multimedia, Vicarious Visions and Blue Slate Solutions. Exponential has since 1998, operated a CAPCO, similar to the seven operated by Newtek in New York and other states.

Newtek Capital, Inc. creates significant non-dilutive capital through the operation of seven CAPCOs in four states. Since 1998, Newtek has raised more than $119 million of certified capital and has made investments in 33 companies, 12 majority-owned or primarily controlled partner companies and investments in 21 other businesses. Newtek’s portfolio of partner companies includes Transworld Business Brokers, Inc., Direct Creations, LLC, Starphire Technologies, LLC, NicheDirectories, LLC, Group Management Technologies, LLC, Harvest Strategies, LLC, and Universal Processing Services, LLC. Newtek operates as a holding company for a network of partner companies in a collaborative and coordinated effort to develop successful businesses in a number of emerging and technological areas.

Private Equity Week Wire For Thursday, Jan. 10

SALT LAKE CITY–Wasatch Venture Fund (Wasatch), an affiliate office of Silicon Valley’s Draper Fisher Jurvetson, today announced that Matt Mosman has joined Wasatch as a managing director. Mosman will work out of Wasatch’s Bay Area office, located in San Mateo County and will focus on developing strategic partnerships and follow-on financing for Wasatch’s portfolio companies as well as sourcing investments from the Northern California region.

Mosman brings more than 15 years of operating, advisory and venture management experience to Wasatch, a leading early-stage venture firm, known for pioneering early-stage information technology investments in the Intermountain Region. Mosman joins Wasatch after most recently serving as software giant Oracle, Inc.’s senior vice president of Corporate Development, where he was responsible for corporate development, mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, spin-offs and technology licensing and establishing and leading their $500 million venture fund. Mosman also served on Oracle’s Product Development Management Committee.

NATICK, MASS. — Vision-Sciences, Inc., (Nasdaq: VSCI) today announced the election of William F. Doyle to the Board of Directors of the Company. Mr. Doyle is a Managing Director at Insight Venture Partners and brings over 20 years experience in the advanced technology and healthcare industries. He focuses on all aspects of software investing and leads Insight’s efforts in the healthcare and pharmaceutical verticals.

Prior to joining Insight, Bill was a member of the Consumer Pharmaceutical and Professional Group Operating Committee and VP, Licensing and Acquisitions of Johnson & Johnson. At J&J, Bill was also Chairman of the Professional Research and Development Council and a director of Johnson & Johnson Development Corporation, J&J’s venture capital subsidiary.

EVERSON, WASH.— Skytalk Communications/SMO Multimedia Corp. (PINK SHEETS:SKLK) announces that it has entered into an engagement letter with Pickens Venture Partners (“PVP”) to provide strategic financial advice.

In addition, PVP has taken an equity position in the Company. PVP is the private-equity affiliate of The Pickens Group LP, a premier Dallas-based investment Firm (“Pickens Group”). Mike Pickens, son of T. Boone Pickens, will be leading the group and working directly with SMO Multimedia to present the Company to larger financial institutions. Pickens Group acts as advisor to Pickens Fund Management (“PFM”) and Pickens Venture Partners. PFM is the asset management arm of the firm and oversees the M3 series of technology hedge funds and the M3 Dow Shire fund-of-funds. PVP provides growth capital to formative companies in the areas of software, data-storage, networking, and the health sciences. Pickens manages over $600,000,000 in assets and its family of funds has consistently posted some of the highest returns to investors in the alternative asset management industry. Pickens funds are eligible to accredited U.S. and non-U.S. institutional and high net worth individuals only and have just recently re-opened to new investors.

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, CALIF. — Renovis, Inc., a privately held neurobiopharmaceutical company, announced today the completion of a $34.3 million second round of venture financing. Leading the round is HBM BioVentures AG, a biotechnology investment firm launched by former Roche Holding AG finance chief Henri B Meier. New investors in this round include Applied Genomic Technology Capital (AGTC) Funds; Bioveda Capital; De Novo Ventures; International BM Biomedicine Holdings, Ltd., as advised by Global Biomedical Partners; Vertex Management & Double Helix; and Yasuda Enterprise Development Co., Ltd. Previous investors Venrock Associates, Alta Partners, and Skyline Ventures also participated.
Effective immediately, Nancy M. Crowell, a Founding Partner of AGTC Funds and a member of its Investment Committee, will join Renovis’ Board of Directors, representing Series C investors. Previously, she was a Partner and Managing Director at Cowen and Company, now SG Cowen Securities Corporation. Ms. Crowell founded and managed Cowen’s health care investment banking practice for ten years, building the group to one of the premier national underwriters. She received an MBA from the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley.

LONDON — Inflexion plc, the mid-market private equity investment company, announces that Geoff Westmore has been appointed to its Advisory Panel.

Mr Westmore was previously a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers, with his most recent role being that of Global Leader of Transactions Services and Strategic M&A. During this time, he was involved in over 100 completed transactions with a total value of almost