Richard M. Fox, 65, a leading Philadelphia-area venture capitalist, died Tuesday, March 19, of esophageal cancer at the Samaritan Center at Voorhees, a South Jersey hospice.
Mr. Fox had been a resident of Cherry Hill for many years.
He was born in Gloversville, N.Y., to Mitchell and Beatrice Fox. His father, a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, was a store owner, and his mother a classically trained concert violinist.
At age 10, the precocious Mr. Fox memorized President John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address and recited it before the 1964 New York Democratic State Convention.
He graduated from New Britain (Conn.) High School and earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Connecticut in 1977, and a master’s degree in 1980 from Georgetown University.
That year, Mr. Fox began his career in the Latin American division of Chemical Bank, now part of JPMorgan Chase.
He rose quickly through the ranks at Chemical Bank, and then was a vice president in the corporate lending division of PNC Bank.
From PNC, he moved to a post as president of Penn Janney Advisory, a subsidiary of Penn Mutual Life Insurance Co. Penn Janney managed the direct private equity and partnership investments for Penn Mutual and its subsidiary Janney Montgomery Scott.
Bill Rulon-Miller, a friend of Mr. Fox and former director of Janney Montgomery Scott’s investment banking department, said Penn Janney Advisory provided investment capital for fledgling enterprises such as Urban Outfitters and Mother’s Work, now Destination Maternity.
The capital helped “a lot of [small] companies in the area that grew into important companies,” Rulon-Miller said.
From 1999 to 2013, Mr. Fox was one of five managing directors of Cross Atlantic Capital Partners, where he worked closely with entrepreneurs and served on the boards of many companies in Cross Atlantic’s portfolio, including the Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Vixxo and the Boston-based Interactions. He was an early investor in Interactions.
Cross Atlantic invests primarily in technology companies in the mid-Atlantic region, although it also has investments in Ireland and the United Kingdom.
Mr. Fox, a partner in Cross Atlantic, was responsible for the activities of two dedicated funds, the Co-Investment Fund LP and the Co-Investment Fund II LP.
The two co-investment funds had as their source of capital Penn Mutual. Both Mr. Fox and Rulon-Miller served on the funds’ boards of director.
“He had worked at Penn Mutual and knew all the investment people, including myself at Janney Montgomery Scott,” Rulon-Miller said.
He left Cross Atlantic to become president and CEO of mClinical Technology Inc., a health-care software company with offices in Haddonfield. The firm’s mobile software allows doctors at different locations to collaborate.
Mr. Fox was known for his intellect and integrity. “I would say also he was very good working with people,” Rulon-Miller said. “He was a very pleasant guy to spend time with. He was a good mentor for folks.”
For the last three decades, Mr. Fox was an adjunct professor at New York University, teaching credit analysis to foreign and domestic bankers.
He also served on the board and the executive committee of the Philadelphia-Israel Chamber of Commerce.
During the past two years, he co-authored with Paul Devine a screenplay, Out of Harm’s Way, about Ze’ev Jabotinsky, a Zionist who formed an all-Jewish military force to fight for the creation of Israel. The screenplay was a hit with Mr. Fox’s son, Danny.
“Your dedication to Judaism and Israel was unwavering, and the screenplay turned out amazing,” his son posted online. “I’m so proud of you.”
Mr. Fox enjoyed music, sports, and tracing his family’s lineage.
In addition to his son, he is survived by his wife, Susan; daughter Rachel; stepsons Alex and Sam Roda; two grandchildren; and two sisters.
Services will be private.