Philadelphia investors say the region has to import more than its share of tech-focused capital because there isn't enough locally to fund all the profit-likely new software and healthcare firms here (see the end of this item for people and companies honored in the 2016 Philadelphia Association for Capital and Technology PACT Enterprise Awards.)
"We had a real dry spell, meaning a lack of capital, for a good ten years," after the dot.com boom, says Mike DiPiano, managing general partner at NewSpring Capital, the Radnor firm that has invested more than $1 billion, mostly in small Northeast U.S. tech companies "That has and continues to change with the advent of smaller funds that have been formed, angel groups, and family offices that are all getting active."
"The missing slice of capital is an active group of investors between the angel/seed round and the growth round, typically referred to as A round investors," says Glenn Rieger, general partner NewSpring Capital, who subbed for DiPiano at Wednesday's Angel Capital Investors Association panel on local investment. Read reporter Robert Torres' Technical.ly account here.
"I believe money is out there, but it's fragmented!" panelist Ira Lubert told me afterwards. Lubert's Independence Capital Partners funds (led by Lubert-Adler and LLR) have invested more than $14 billion in real estate, tech, security and other sectors since the late 1990s.
"For angel rounds, lots of people are interested. But each write small checks, about $25,000," Lubert added. "There are too few $50 million to $100 million funds dedicated to early stage," where money is at higher risk, and firms are more likely to follow funders out of the region.
"The angel and early-stage community has grown considerably," says Richard Vague, the marketing mogul (forrmer chief of First USA, Barclaycard, EnergyPlus) and cofounder of Gabriel Investments, since he moved up here from Wilmington in the mid-2000s. "There (is) also consensus that Philly needs more capital from the very next stage of funding, the 'A Round' investors."
Rieger says local venture capitalists and the firms who want to mate with them have just concluded "a great couple of weeks," with the usual spring pep rallies -- Philly Tech Week, the Angel Capital Investors Association conference, and last night's PACT Enterprise Awards. Here's the winners (thanks to Keith Jurrens, Director of Operations at Broadpath and a PACT volunteer):
Healthcare Innovator: Accolade, Philadelphia
Healthcare CEO: Paul Perreault of CSL Behring, King of Prussia
Healthcare Emerging: ACT Oncology, Flemington
Healthcare Startup: Biomeme, Philadelphia
Technology Innovator: CRF Health, Plymouth Meeting
Technology CEO: Calvin Knowlton of Tabula Rasa HealthCare, Moorestown
Technology Emerging: LoanLogics, Trevose
Technology Startup: NavPort, Plymouth Meeting
Martinson founded Edison in 1986; the firm has invested "more than $1 billion in 215 East Coast companies," says Jurrens. Recent examples: Cadient, ClearPoint, eChalk, iContracts, Health Market Science (now part of LexisNexis).