DURHAM, N.C. — Stephen Clark, the founder of wireless tower company SpectraSite Communications, is joining venture capital firm Intersouth Partners.
Clark will be a venture partner.
“I’ve been a start-up kind of a guy for a long time; I’ve been involved in five start-ups and founded four,” said Clark, 61. “I’ve had enough of that.
“I hope I find the opportunity to help other people get their ventures started and achieve what it is that they want to achieve,” he added. “It seemed like Intersouth was the best vehicle to do that.”
Saying with a laugh that he was too young to retire and didn’t play golf, Clark explained that Intersouth appealed to him. He has known many of Intersouth’s management team for years, including Chris Hegele who was at Kitty Hawk Partners when it invested in one of Clark’s earlier ventures.
“Intersouth is without any question the top venture capital organization in the Southeast,” Clark said. “They have great people, and I have a lot of respect for the organization.”
SpectraSite was sold in 2005 to rival American Tower Corporation in a deal worth $3.1 billion. Clark founded SpectraSite in 1997. It went public in 1999. Financial troubles forced the company through reorganization in 2003. Clark joined the American Tower board as part of the sale but latter stepped down.
“Having an experienced, venture-backed CEO as part of your team is always a good thing,” Intersouth Partner Mitch Mumma said. “More specifically, we believe there are a lot of investment opportunities in the wireless arena and Steve has a deep set of contacts in that industry.
“Beyond that,” Mumma added, “Steve is a terrific person, and he fits well with the Intersouth culture.”
As a venture partner, Clark will spend between 25-50 percent of his time working with Intersouth, said firm spokesperson Suzanne Cantando.
Clark wasted no time going to work for Intersouth. He was in Florida on Wednesday meeting with an Intersouth portfolio client.
A serial entrepreneur, Clark received the 2005 Entrepreneurial Excellence Award from the Council for Entrepreneurial Development. He also was named as the Ernst & Young Carolinas Entrepreneur of the Year in 2000.
Clark becomes the 12th member of Intersouth’s professional team. He will be part of the information technology team. Other members include Kip Frey, John Glushik, Mumma, Don Rainey and Hannah Chang. Chang recently joined Intersouth and will work out of its Washington D.C.-area office.
Before launching SpectraSite, Clark helped launch three different companies: PCX Corporation, a manufacturer of electrical distribution systems; Margaux. A distributed microprosessor-based building automation company that went public; and Entech Systems, a building automation firm.
Clark is a graduate of the University of Colorado, where he earned an undergraduate degree and a Masters in business administration.
Intersouth recently closed on a new fund — its seventh — which was worth $275 million.