Editor’s note: Local Tech Wire features a profile of a venture capital or investment firm each business day. There are no energy crises to Kinetic Ventures, just opportunities.

The firm, which has offices in Atlanta and outside Washington, D.C., focuses its investment activity on areas it believes to be critical to the transition underway in the deregulating utility industry, such as e-commerce, communications and customer service, all of which will enable utility companies to thrive in a newly competitive environment.

Founded in 1983 as Arete Ventures, Kinetic is working on its seventh fund. Its portfolio has included such successes as fiber-optics supplier Cerent, now part of Cisco Systems; publicly traded Corvis, which makes optical switching gear; and Internet access firm Ramp Networks, now part of Nokia.

The portfolio also includes APX, which provides an online market for energy purchases, SmartSynch, which provides a wireless method for checking utility meters, and Peace Software, which develops billing systems.

Kinetic typically invests between $2 million and $5 million and likes to match its portfolio companies with its investors, which include Raleigh-based Progress Energy and other utilities that are looking for new products and services to strengthen their competitive advantage in a market that is becoming more deregulated.

Here’s the skinny:

Featured Firm: Kinetic Ventures LLC

Mailing address:

3500 Lenox Road, Suite 1790
Atlanta, GA 30326

Phone number: (404) 233-3053

Web site: http://www.kineticventures.com

Management Team:

George Levert
Nelson Chu
Jake Tarr
William Heflin
Todd Klein

Focus of firm: E-commerce, communications, and customer service companies in the utility industry.

Current portfolio companies:

APX
Cereny Corporation
ClearSource, Inc.
Codeon Corp.
Corvis Corp.
Epoch Internet, Inc.
Grande Communications, Inc.
iVivity, Inc.
Nayna Networks, Inc.
NetCore Systems, Inc.
Optical Capital Group LLC
Pathfire
Peace Software International Ltd.
PlaceWare
Proficient Systems, Inc.
Quantum Photonics, Inc.
Ramp Networks, Inc.
Seneca Networks, Inc.
Sierra Networks, Inc.
SmartSynch Ltd.
Vectrad Networks Corp.
VerticalOne, Inc.
Zaffire, Inc.

In what size range: $2 million to $5 million

Sweet Spot (types of deals, stage of the company): Strive to partner with management teams that combine entrepreneurial drive, domain expertise and a track record of success in relevant, high-growth environments.

Most important attributes for companies seeking funding: Most have a business plan that describes the rapidly growing market to be addressed; the lasting competitive advantage the company intends to exploit; the unique qualities of the management team; and the financial prospectus and requirements for the business.

What differentiates you: Strategy is to maximize our investor relationships to provide portfolio companies unprecedented access to one of the largest vertical markets in the world: the utility industry.

Wednesday’s profile: Gray Ventures

Previous profiles can be found by searching under Venture Watch. The list, by date:

Feb. 11: Academy Venture Funds
Feb. 12: Atlantic Group
Feb. 13: Aurora Fund
Feb. 14: Capital Investment Partners
Feb. 15: Carolina Financial Group
Feb. 18: Carousel Capital
Feb. 19: Catalysta Partners
Feb. 20: Charlotte Angel
Feb. 21: Draper Atlantic
Feb. 22: Eno River
Feb. 25: Halifax Group
Feb. 26: Intersouth Partners
Feb. 27: Kitty Hawk Capital
Feb. 28: NC Enterprise Corp.

March 1: NC Technological Development Authority
March 4: Oberlin Capital
March 5: A.M. Pappas
March 6: Piedmont
March 7: RBC Centura
March 8: Redleaf Group
March 11: Remington Capital
March 12: River Cities
March 13: Research Triangle Ventures
March 14: Southeast Interactive
March 15: Tri-State Investment Group
March 18: Trelys
March 19: truePilot
March 20: Wakefield Group
March 21: Frontier Capital
March 22: Southern Capitol Ventures
March 25: Alliance
March 26: Armada
March 27: Cordova Ventures
March 28: Craven, Green & Wahlen
March 29: Intelligent Systems

April 1: Five Paces Ventures