With $227 million in a new fund ready to invest, venture capital firm Novak Biddle Venture Partners is looking for business in the Research Triangle Park area.
Especially “super kick-xxx” technology.
Janet Yang, one of the firm’s six principals, came to Cary on Thursday to talk about trends in the venture industry and told a crowd at the PricewaterhouseCoopers “MoneyTree” breakfast that Novak Biddle is ready to deal.
“We have invested in three North Carolina companies, and we would like to do more,” Yang said.
Novak Biddle recently teamed with Southern Capitol Ventures in Raleigh to invest in a $1.95 million round for eMinor. Other Triangle investments for Novak Biddle include Chorus Systems and Centice.
David Jones of Southern Capitol said the Raleigh firm sought out Novak Biddle for the eMinor deal.
“If you ask up and down the east coast for a partner to work with in an early stage technology deal, Novak Biddle comes back as the one to talk to,” Jones said.
Asked if Southern Capitol will work with Novak Biddle on future deals, Jones replied: “I hope. I hope.”
Novak Biddle, which is based in Bethesda, Md., is an early stage venture firm, and its preference is to be the lead on any deal. It has done so in more than 70 percent of the investments that has produced a portfolio of more than 50 firms since Novak Biddle was launched in 1997.
Two reasons why Novak Biddle is eyeing the Triangle are emerging technology at local companies and competition, Yang said.
“We are focused on technology only while other firms invest in other fields such as life science,” explained Yang, who worked with venture firm Draper Richards before joining Novak Biddle.
Intersouth Partners and The Aurora Funds, two of the primary early stage venture funds based in the Triangle, invest in a variety of technologies.
Novak Biddle’s expertise is in technology, Yang added. “We can bring industry experience, from software to the Internet,” she said. Co-founders E. Rogers Novak and A.G.W. Biddle both have extensive backgrounds in investing and in information technology.
In looking for investment opportunities, Novak Biddle wants four things, according to Yang:
A “super kick-ass technology”
A large potential market
Defensible intellectual property
Novak Biddle, which has more than $580 million under investment, closed on its new fund in late October and plans to begin making investments in 2007.
Yang, a former equity research analyst with Merrill Lynch and Salomon Smith Barney who joined the firm earlier this year, said Novak Biddle is “talking to other” companies in RTP about possible deals.
Novak Biddle’s primary focus has been on the Washington D.C.-Virginia-Maryland market. But Yang noted that RTP “is only a one hour flight” away.
One reason Novak Biddle is looking for more business here is also due to one of its limited partners. The State of North Carolina is a Novak Biddle investor through its retirement fund that is overseen by State Treasurer Richard Moore.