Semaphore Takes Over 2 in NY

Semaphore, a private equity management and advisory firm, announced last week that it has taken over the management of two New York funds.

The firm has taken over the New York Community Investment Company (NYCIC) and the New York State Business Venture Fund (NYSBVF).

Semaphore manages equity and debt investments, typically during the end or “harvest period” of a fund’s life. While the firm declines to discuss the fee structure of its services, PE Week has learned that Semaphore’s fees are based partly on the performance of the companies under their management and is paid management fees and carried interest close to the original terms of the fund.

NYCIC was created in 1995 to provide up to $1 million in venture capital funding and subordinated debt to New York-based small businesses. Its limited partners are large banks, including the Bank of New York, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, Fleet Bank, HSBC, JPMorgan, Merrill Lynch and U.S. Trust. Its portfolio companies run the gamut from medical equipment manufacturers to Internet beauty product retailers.

NYSBVF is a certified capital company founded in 1998 that raised about $60 million in funding from the insurance industry to invest in small, early stage businesses. Its limited partners include American Family Life Assurance Co., John Hancock Life Mutual, Metropolitan Life Insurance, New York Life Insurance, Prudential Insurance, Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association and the Travelers Indemnity Co. Similar to the NYCIC, its portfolio companies are diverse. They include a water taxi company and an online career services portal.

Semaphore took over managing the NYSBVF in collaboration with the New York City Investment Fund (NYCIF).

Semaphore has offices in Methuen, Mass., London, New York and Zurich. Other funds under its management include the Midwest Economic Opportunity Fund, Northcoast Fund and WBCW Capital. It also provides technology and business advisory services.