Private Equity Week Wire for Tuesday Jan. 15

PLANO, TEXAS — LaserComm, an innovator of photonic components and modules and a leader in managing chromatic dispersion in optical networks, today announced it has secured $21 million in fourth-round funding from internal investors, led by Morgan Stanley Venture Partners and Index Ventures. The new capital will allow LaserComm to support its growing customer base, scale manufacturing, expand its Hi-Mode(R) dispersion management product line, and introduce new products based on the company’s core technology.
In addition to the round’s leaders, many of LaserComm’s previous investors joined in the round, including Cedar Fund, GE Equity, Gilde Investment Funds, Giza Group, Link Technologies, and SSM Ventures. This additional funding brings LaserComm’s cumulative financing to $77 million.

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA — Stratify Inc., the emerging leader in unstructured data management, announced today that it has been selected by In-Q-Tel, Inc. to implement an information management platform to accelerate data acquisition and effectiveness for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). In-Q-Tel, the independent “venture catalyst” funded by the CIA, also became an investor in Stratify, and led the latest financing round.

PALO ALTO, CA — Norwest Venture Partners (NVP), a leading high-tech venture capital firm partnering with entrepreneurs to build large businesses, today announced it has raised a $400 million fund, Norwest Venture Partners IX, LP. The fund is targeted at early stage investments with a concentration on enterprise software and communications technologies. NVP is an experienced venture firm with 40 years of success funding new technologies with significant long-term growth opportunities. NVP expects to fuel the growth of several next-generation technology companies, providing between $10 and $20 million to each portfolio company throughout its entire lifecycle. The addition of this new fund, the largest fund the firm has raised to date, brings Norwest Venture Partners’ total capital and commitments to more than $1.5 billion.

NEW YORK & BOSTON — Clinton Group, Inc., a leading investment management organization, announced that it has secured $110 million in financing from TA Associates, one of the nation’s leading buyout and private equity firms. Located in New York City, Clinton Group manages over $5.8 billion in assets, including investment funds, separate accounts and structured finance products such as collateralized bond obligations. Clinton Group’s client base includes accredited domestic and offshore investors, including banks, financial institutions, insurance companies, pension funds, public funds, fund of funds and high net worth individuals.

FALLS CHURCH, VA and NEW YORK — Mesa Communications Group LLC today announced the closing of an $85 million round of financing. The financing includes a new $75 million senior credit facility. The bank group is led by BNP Paribas, and includes Tyco Capital, GE Capital and Wachovia Bank. Concurrent with the closing of the credit facility, Schroder Ventures US Fund, which initially invested in Mesa in 2000, contributed an additional $10 million of equity to the Company.

Mesa will use the new capital to aggressively build wireless communications towers within its existing geographic clusters. Mesa currently owns approximately 200 towers, which are located primarily in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Southeast regions of the U.S.

— GMA Capital, a venture capital and investment banking firm specializing in mergers, acquisitions, and corporate finance, has acquired ProVen Private Equity Ltd., a London, England- based firm. The announcement was made today by the company’s managing director and founder, Charles Rothstein.

As a result of the acquisition, the two companies will join to form Beringea, Michigan’s largest venture capital firm, with nearly $275 million in funds under management and a portfolio of 50 companies.

MAYNARD, MA — Kaon Interactive Inc., the company revolutionizing online communications with 3D images users can immediately access from any platform without a software plug-in, today announced it has raised $6.4 million in a Series B funding from Prism Ventures Partners, Longworth Venture Partners and private investors. Tweeter Home Entertainment Group Chairman and Founder and leading consumer electronics expert, Sandy Bloomberg and founding General Manager of ZDNet and co-founder of Longworth Venture Partners, Jim Savage, have also joined Kaon’s Board of Directors.

BRISBANE, CA — Intraspect Software Inc., a leading provider of c-business(SM) solutions, today announced that Donald L. Lucas, a pioneering venture capitalist in Silicon Valley, has been appointed as Chairman of the Board of Directors. Lucas, an initial investor in such successful Silicon Valley companies as National Semiconductor, Oracle Corporation, Macromedia, and Cadence Design Systems, will contribute his rare combination of experience and depth of industry knowledge to further secure Intraspect’s position as the market leader in enterprise collaboration.

— Trimble (Nasdaq: TRMB) today announced that it raised an additional $19.2 million as part of a second closing of the $26.75 million private placement completed on December 21, 2001, bringing the total amount raised to $45.95 million. Terms and conditions for the second close were the same as those of the first close.

In connection with the second closing, Trimble issued 1,280,004 shares of its common stock at a price of $15.00 per share to certain qualified investors. Additionally, Trimble has granted these investors five-year warrants to purchase an additional 256,002 shares of common stock, subject to certain adjustments, at an exercise price of $19.475 per share. Trimble plans to use the net proceeds from this transaction to pay down a portion of its outstanding debt. Salomon Smith Barney served as financial advisor to Trimble.

For yesterday’s Wire, click here

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