Private Equity Week Wire for Tuesday 3/13

NEW YORK — The Auda Group, a leading international investment advisor that specializes in alternative investments for U.S. and European institutions and high net worth investors, announced the closing of its $185 million fund-of-funds, Auda Ventures L.P. This partnership is Auda’s sixth private equity fund-of-funds and focuses on investments in top-tier venture capital funds. Auda Ventures targets investments in venture capital funds managed by a small number of experienced and well-established private equity sponsors that focus on early- to later-stage investments in emerging growth companies. Current investment funds include Bain Capital Venture Fund, L.P.; MPM BioVentures II, L.P.; Oak Investment Partners X, L.P.; Rho Ventures IV, L.P.; Summit Ventures VI, L.P.; Technology Crossover Ventures IV, L.P.; TH Lee.Putnam Internet Partners, L.P.; Three Arch Capital, L.P.; and Tudor Ventures II L.P.

NEW YORK — Centre Partners Management LLC, a leading middle-market private equity firm, announced today the appointment of David L. Jaffe as a managing director. Mr. Jaffe, 42, was a founding member of DLJ Merchant Banking Partners, the private equity investment arm of Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, Inc. He will join Centre Partners in early May.

SAN JOSE, CA & LONDON — Striva Corp., a leader in Database to e-Integration technology, announced that Leapfrog Ventures, a leading venture fund and strategic investment channel for PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), has made a substantial equity investment in the company. Silicon Valley Bank, the United States’ premier provider of financial products and services to emerging technology and life sciences companies, has also joined this funding round.

REDWOOD CITY, CA — Quova, a leading provider of Internet infrastructure intelligence services to e-businesses, today announced the completion of a $21 million round of venture financing. VeriSign (Nasdaq: VRSN), the leading provider of Internet trust services, participated in the round along with existing investors SOFTBANK Venture Capital, IDG Ventures, Nexus Group, Fidelity Ventures, Schoffstall Ventures and individuals. Quova has developed patent-pending technology that maps Internet infrastructure. Quova’s first service, GeoPoint(SM), enables online businesses to approximate the geographic location of Internet-connected devices. GeoPoint is used in a wide variety of applications such as e-commerce, digital rights management and authentication.

NEW YORK ? Lazard announced today that Jonathan Kagan and Paul Zepf have been named Managing Directors of Lazard and Managing Principals of the North American arm of its Global Private Equity business. Mr. Kagan rejoins Lazard from Centre Partners where he has been a Managing Director since 1995. Prior to that, he had been a Managing Director of Corporate Partners and a General Partner of Lazard Frères & Co. where he started his career in 1980. Mr. Zepf rejoins Lazard from Centre Partners where he has been a Managing Director since 1997. Prior to that, he had been a Managing Director at Corporate Partners, which he joined in 1989.

SOUTHBOROUGH, MA — Cognistar Corp., leading producer of legal and corporate on-line education courses, announces completion of second round financing, totaling $2,000,000. Massachusetts Technology Development Corporation, the primary investor, contributed $750,000-the venture capital group’s maximum annual investment allowance for an individual company. The balance of the funding was provided by private investors.

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA — Cybrant Corp., the leading developer of Internet-based solution design, product selection, and configuration applications, announced that they have closed $14 million in Series C funding. Bluevector LLC leads this third round of funding, which features follow-on investments from Crescendo Ventures and RWI Group, as well as new investments from DRW Venture Partners and Cap Gemini Ernst & Young. The latest round of investment brings the total committed capital in Cybrant to $34 million, which fuels Cybrant’s growth in the eCRM market. Cybrant will leverage the new funding to expand sales and engineering initiatives around the newly released Solutions Architect product line as well as their leading Business Velocity and Commerce Velocity product suites.

MINNEAPOLIS — St. Paul Venture Capital today announced that Mary Jeffries has joined the firm as a general partner and chief operating officer. Jeffries will be responsible for operations, marketing, finance, human resources, management development, key involvement in firm strategy and new initiatives, as well as other general partner responsibilities. Jeffries has more than 20 years experience in finance, operations, strategic planning and technology. She served most recently as chief operating officer for Shandwick International, the world’s largest public relations agency. As a member of Shandwick’s global management team, she oversaw the management of the firm’s worldwide financial, technology, human resources, client service and training functions. Jeffries also served as a managing director of the agency’s Minneapolis office.

SEATTLE — CapitalStream, a leading transaction automation provider for the financial services industry, today announced it has closed a $20 million round of venture financing led by an investment from FTVentures with additional investment from existing investors Polaris Venture Partners, Spectrum Equity Investors, Voyager Capital, Merrill Lynch KECALP and the Benaroya Co. The strong interest in CapitalStream by leading investors is a result of two factors: CapitalStream’s proven business model and its success in helping the commercial finance industry to better automate customer management, transaction management and integration with back office systems. This round of financing will take CapitalStream to its break-even point, as the company moves toward profitability. CapitalStream has seen a steady increase in revenues, subscribers and contract values since launching its network-enabled e-finance infrastructure in April 2000. Some of CapitalStream’s key customers include Textron Financial Corp., Siemens Financial Services Inc. and Bank of America.

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND — Aberdeen Murray Johnstone Private Equity (“AMJPE”) today announces that it has invested £2.7 million into Visual Gold Limited, a provider of leading-edge 2D and 3D creative design and animation services, principally for the television and film market. The £2.7 million of development capital is to support Visual Gold?s ongoing infrastructure investment as well as its working capital requirements.

GOTHENBURG, SWEDEN — The Bure Fund, CR&T Ventures, the Swedish Industrial Development Fund and Itact through its V2 fund, are investing a total of SEK 15 million in Comhat AB from M?lndal in Sweden. The company aims to become a world-leading supplier of reflector aerials for radio links, a market which is expected to turn over SEK 30 billion by 2004.

For yesterday’s complete Wire, click here.