Private Equity Week Wire for Friday 9/28

MILPITAS, CA — Corona Networks, the industry-leading developer of next-generation network-based edge aggregation and intelligent IP service platforms, today announced the closing of its third round of funding for $40 million, bringing its total capital raised to date to over $68 million. Merrill Lynch Ventures and New Enterprise Associates led the equity investment in this round of funding. Other investors participating in this round include, The Ignite Group, Alliance Ventures and Redwood Ventures. With its third round of funding, Corona Networks is well capitalized to continue both on-going development and expansion of production capacity for the expected rapid growth of the company in 2002.

HOUSTON — Sanders Morris Harris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: SMHG) today announced that it closed its $11 million LifeSciences Opportunity Fund. The Fund is the fifth pooled investment vehicle formed by Sanders Morris Harris and is designed to invest in a carefully targeted portfolio consisting of early- and middle-stage companies in the area of biomedicine. Technologies to be considered as fund investments include functional genomics and proteomics, therapeutic drug design and innovative drug-delivery systems.

COLUMBUS, OHIO — Pathlore, an e-learning solution provider, announced today it has secured $10 million in its first round of institutional funding from Seaport Capital. The funding will support Pathlore’s future growth plans, including sales force expansion, product enhancements and acquisition opportunities. Pathlore, a privately held company with more than 2,500 corporate customers, has profitably grown every year since its inception in 1995. Pathlore, whose current investors include Computer Associates, has annual revenue of approximately $25 million.

LOS GATOS, CA — iWatt Inc., a power management IC company, announces the closing of its first round of equity financing. Led by Sigma Partners of Menlo Park, California, iWatt’s Series A funding was completed with the infusion of $7.25 million of venture capital. Joining Sigma Partners in the funding were Horizon Ventures of Los Altos, California, and PTI Alliance of Taiwan.

WILLIAMSTOWN, MA — Bela L. Musits, the Incubator Program Director at Rennselaer Polytechnic Institute in Albany, NY, will manage the early-stage venture capital fund being established by Village Ventures, Inc. and the managers of The Berkshires Capital Investors (BCI) in the Capital Region of New York. Musits joins BCI fund managers Russ Howard and Brad Svrluga to establish and oversee the investment portfolio of the new fund. The fund, not yet named, will make early-stage investments in technology-enabled companies in the Capital Region of New York.

Prior to joining the Capital Region fund, Musits’ career includes working at RPI, IBM Corporate Research and General Electric’s Corporate Research and Development Center. As director of RPI’s Incubator Program, he provided management assistance to over 40 companies in the areas of capital acquisition, growth strategies, and general business principles. During his tenure at IBM Research, he held various management positions, including Chief of Staff to the Vice President of Research.

GOTHENBURG, SWEDEN — Jonas Risberg has joined InnovationsKapital, one of the leading start-up and early stage venture capital firms in the Nordic region. As an Investment Director on the Information & Communication Technology (ICT) team Jonas Risberg will be based in the Stockholm office. InnovationsKapital has recently started a new fund, InnKap 3 Partners, with Euro 132 million to invest in Sweden, Denmark and Finland.

Jonas Risberg was previously with WorldCom where he was Vice President Country Business Group responsible for 5 countries in Europe. Prior to that he was MD Worldcom Nordic for 5 years. During this time the company grew from a start up to $150 million turnover with 550 employees. Earlier he held several sales, marketing and executive positions at IBM Sweden and Ericsson cable. He has a Master of Science in Engineering and Business Administration from Linkoping Institute of Technology.

INCHON, KOREA — SPD Inc. announces that this week it has successfully completed its latest round of private financing, and has raised a total of $6.5 billion Korean won ($5 million). SPD Inc.?s majority shareholder and parent company, Hankuk Glass Industries Inc. (KSC:02000.KS), is Korea?s largest glass manufacturer and is a licensee of Research Frontiers Incorporated (Nasdaq: REFR), the developer of SPD light-control technology. SPD Inc.?s shareholders now include Hankuk Glass Industries, Research Frontiers Incorporated, KTB Network and KDB Capital (the two largest venture capital companies in Korea), and four major Korean banks (Korea Development Bank, Shinhan Bank, Choheung Bank and Hanvit Bank). S.L. Investments acted as SPD Inc.?s investment bank in connection with this financing.

GREENWICH, CT — MMC Capital Inc., the private equity subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan Companies, Inc. (MMC), today announced the formation of a new insurance and reinsurance company, AXIS Specialty Ltd., to respond to the capacity shortage in the insurance industry resulting from the events of September 11th. AXIS Specialty is expected to be capitalized at approximately $1 billion and to commence underwriting in Bermuda during the fourth quarter of 2001. Trident II LP., a fund managed by MMC Capital, will be the lead investor.

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