Editor’s note: This is the ninth in our daily series about venture capital and investment firms which are active in the Carolinas and Georgia. The series was compiled by Matthew Burns and Daniel Pearson. An affiliate of Silicon Valley venture capital powerhouse Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Reston, Va.-based Draper Atlantic brings West Coast style and money to Southeastern information technology companies.

The firm focuses its investments on companies developing communications equipment and software, enterprise software and services or Internet infrastructure services.

Under the guidance of managing partners Jim Lynch, who previously headed DFJ’s Polaris fund, and former entrepreneur John Backus, Draper looks to develop complete teams and mature business plans in its portfolio companies to position them for growth. The firm plays an active role in its companies, partnering with entrepreneurs to bring energy, vision and experience and provide hands-on team building, partnerships, advice and support.

Draper has invested in just two North Carolina companies to date, Brightpod and Mirador Systems, but the firm manages $150 million altogether and has placed less than half of its current $66 million fund. First-round investments typically are less than $2 million.

Draper and the other DFJ affiliates have carried more than 30 of their portfolio companies through initial public stock offerings.

Here’s the skinny:

Featured firm: Draper Atlantic

Mailing address:
11600 Sunrise Valley Drive, Suite 420 Reston, VA 20191

Phone number: (703) 995-3600

Web site: www.draperatlantic.com

Management Team:

John Backus, managing partner
Jim Lynch, managing partner
Thanasis Delistathis, principal
Chris Miller, principal

Focus of firm: Early stage information technology venture capital firm based in Northern Virginia. We focus on information technology businesses with enormous market potential.

Size of current fund: Second fund currently being invested = $66 million

Money under management: $150 million

How many of those dollars have been invested: All of Fund 1 is invested in portfolio with reserves for later rounds for those companies. Fund II has invested $23.5 million thus far.

Companies funded in 2001: None in NC

Companies funded over the last five years (amount and round for each co.):

Only NC companies funded are:

Mirador Systems $2.7 million
Bightpod $250,000

How many new deals do you expect to fund in 2002: Three to five

In what size range: Most of our initial investments range from $250,000 to $2 million for first rounds

Sweet Spot (types of deals, stage of the company): We partner with entrepreneurs with the energy, vision, experience, and passion to build great companies and help them succeed through hands-on team building, partnerships, advice and support. Draper Atlantic is part of the Draper Fisher Jurvetson Network of Affiliates.

Most important attributes for companies seeking funding: Careful research and planning can go a long way to starting a productive relationship with the venture capitalist. The first step is a good business plan. Your business plan should be a working document, used in long-term planning, and not simply a sales tool for fundraising.

What differentiates you: A start-up venture capitalist becomes a company’s financial strategist, headhunter, investment banker, and corporate therapist, who provides support and confidence to a team. As a board member, we are active, and we have the energy, experience and contacts to help take the company to the next stage and beyond.

Friday’s Profile: Eno River

For previous stories in this series, search the Venture Watch archive.