O’Neill Makes First Investment

When he’s not on the road in Africa with U2 front man Bono, Paul O’Neill can usually be found advising the Blackstone Group.

But now the 68-year-old O’Neill is trying his hand as investor.

O’Neill – former secretary of the U.S. Treasury and a onetime CEO of Alcoa – along with his son Paul O’Neill Jr., 39, surfaced as investors last month in a $4 million funding round for Atlanta-based Qcept Technologies Inc.

The Series B round included Pittsburgh-based O’Neill and O’Neill – Paul O’Neill’s private investment firm – plus Pittco Capital Partners, Atlanta Technology Angels and Bergman and Associates. Pittco, which had invested in Qcept earlier, led the new round. The senior O’Neill is also joining the board.

The O’Neills don’t have a fund, but are instead investing their own money. O’Neill Jr. told the Pittsburgh Business Journal that they will be making more investments, particularly in the Pittsburgh area, but declined to reveal how much money they have.

“There won’t be a lot of $25,000 investments sprinkled over town,” he said. “That’s not what we want to do. We’d rather make a commitment, enthusiastically join a board and feel free to share a Rolodex and be connectors.”

Rule out, however, raising a fund, at least over the next few years so long as there is a potential conflict of interest. The father is an adviser to the Blackstone Group, a New York-based private equity firm.

The son has a two-year non-compete arrangement with Goldman Sachs, resulting from his service as vice president of planning for the financial counselor Ayco Co., which Goldman Sachs acquired last year.