Editor’s note: Local Tech Wire features a profile of a venture capital or investment firm each business day. Matthew Burns, Worth Civils and Daniel Pearson compiled the series.A longtime Memphis investment bank and financial adviser, SSM Ventures expanded into Austin, Texas, in the mid-1990s and Atlanta two years ago to boost its technology investing.

The Atlanta office is headed by Bill Henagan, a veteran early-stage investor who helped create the Yamacraw Seed Fund and is a founding member of Atlanta Technology Angels.

SSM focuses its technology investments on early-stage deals, mostly in software developers and Internet-based applications, and it does later-stage deals with non-technology service sector businesses to help balance its portfolio. The firm, which has $165 million under management, typically invests between $2 million and $10 million in its portfolio companies and likes to be the lead investor on its deals.

Portfolio companies include Bloodhound Software in the Research Triangle area and Atlanta-based Connecture, Employease, Servigistics and Central Pharmacy Services, the last of which was acquired by a division of Cardinal Health.

Here’s the skinny:

Featured Firm: SSM Ventures

Mailing address: Fifteen Piedmont Center, Suite 1560, Atlanta, GA 30305

Phone number: (404) 495-5955

Web site: www.ssmventures.com

Management Team:
Bill Henagan (Atlanta)
Jim Witherington (Memphis)
Barham Ray (Memphis)
Wilson Orr (Memphis)
Eric Jones (Austin)
Dick Moeller (Austin)
Bill Harrison (Austin)

Focus of firm: With offices in Atlanta, Memphis and Austin, focus is on the Southern United States, high-growth businesses, post-revenue stage, technology and non-technology companies. Technology market emphasis is on Atlanta, Austin and RTP, and non-technology is diversified along partner experience.

Size of current fund: $114 million

Money under management: $165 million

Companies funded:

360 Commerce
Bloodhound Software
Connecture
Dental One
Direct General
Employease
Fuego
GoldCoast Restaurants
Kirkland’s
LaserComm
Motive Communications
Netbotz
NewsStand
Passport Health Communications
Servigistics
SmartPrice
TelOptica

How many new deals do you expect to fund in 2002: Less than 10

In what size range: $2 million to $10 million

Sweet Spot (types of deals, stage of the company): We look for companies based in the Southeast with strong management teams, national market opportunities and proprietary or defendable business models. We focus on non-technology service businesses as well as technology based software and Internet applications.

Most important attributes for companies seeking funding: Seasoned management team, domain expertise and solving a big problem for a large market.

What differentiates you: As one of the oldest and most profitable private equity firms in the Southeast, we have a 30-year history of successfully developing private companies. The balance between early, expansion and later-stage technology and non-technology companies provide us with the opportunity for presence in each of the significant Southern venture markets.

Note: Previous profiles can be found by going to Search, selecting the Venture Watch category, and setting date parameters between Feb. 1 and today.