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This article was prepared for the March 6, 2002 edition of
U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
On the Move
A five-year-old venture capital firm, Sycamore Ventures,
has acquired a Princeton address. The 13-person office moved from
4,700 square feet at 989 Lenox Drive to 5,700 feet on the first floor
of the U.S. Trust Building at 845 Alexander Road in January and has
a new phone and fax.
Among the firm’s three founding partners is a man with impeccable
political connections, John Whitman, husband of the former governor.
Peter Gerry and Kilin To are also managing partners. They have
in more than 100 companies and have taken 20 companies public. They
have sold or merged 40 companies, and they have offices in San
Sycamore Ventures, the only tenant of U.S. Trust, has a five year
lease with a renewal option. Bob Sobol of the Acclaim Group
the tenant and Buzz Woodworth of Keller Dodds & Woodworth the
Architect Joel David Zieden designed the interior to have 14 perimeter
offices, a large interior conference room, and a large file room,
and two secretarial areas. Michael Riesz and Co. of Fords, New Jersey,
was the general contractor.
Except for the new office’s proximity to the train station, Princeton
is not a particularly convenient location for the Whitmans, who live
in Bedminster. "We looked for an office further north, but there
really are not a lot of class A buildings along the 206 corridor that
would be convenient for everyone," says David Lichtenstein, the
chief financial officer who planned the move.
With $450 million under management, the firm focuses on second stage
through IPO companies in the areas of information technology and
Its active funds are Sycamore Venture Capital, an SBIC fund started
in November, 1999, that has $51 million in private capital. As a Small
Business Investment Corporation, it gets federal funds matched two
for one, so the fund can be $153 million. The Asia Star IT fund,
in May, 2000, has $165 million. Earlier funds are fully invested and
are in "harvest mode."
An Edison-based consumer products company with brands such as
Fresh", "X-14," and "2000 Flushes," was acquired
by WD-40 Company last April.
One of Sycamore’s first computer investments was Taiwan-based Acer
Group, now the sixth largest PC manufacturer in the world. Other
companies are ASUSTeK Computer, the largest global PC system board
manufacturer; ACM Research Corporation (a semiconductor equipment
manufacturing company for polishing and plating in copper
headquartered in northern California), and three more Taiwan-based
In the telecommunications and networking industries, Sycamore has
invested in companies based in Texas, Florida, California, India,
Tokyo, and Jedai Broadband Networks in Red Bank.
Among Sycamore’s other companies in New Jersey are two dotcoms.
Easylink (www.easylink.com) provides business messaging services and
went public in June, 1999. RxHope.com, in Hackettstown, is a website
where doctors can request free medication for their indigent patients.
In 1998 these VCs invested in Juno Online Services, helped it go
and sold their position. Software, healthcare and biotechnology, media
and broadcasting, and financial services are among the other
Whitman went to Yale, Class of 1966, and has a Harvard Business School
MBA. He has had several positions at Citicorp and was an advisor to
such firms as the Ford Motor Company, AT&T Venture Corp., the
Enterprise Fund, British and Commonwealth Holdings PLC, Coopers &
Lybrand, the United States Agency for International Development
and Prudential Securities Inc. From 1987 to 1990 he was CEO of
Interfunding Inc., a merchant banking fund.
Gerry graduated from Harvard in 1968 and received his MBA from the
Harvard Business School. He has been president of two Citicorp equity
investment subsidiaries and president of the New York Venture Capital
To earned his master’s degree in electrical engineering from Princeton
University in 1969 and an MBA from the Wharton School in 1979. He
worked at Philips Electronics, RCA Corporation, AT&T Corporation and
Digital Equipment Corporation, was president of Citicorp Investments
Inc., and vice president at Citicorp Venture Capital Ltd. To divides
his time between the United States and the four Asian offices —
in Hong Kong, Taipei, Singapore and Shanghai — which total 10
people. The VCs are hiring for the Asian offices.
— Barbara Fox
08540. Peter Gerry, managing director. 609-759-8888; fax,
With about a dozen companies concentrating on some
of fiberoptics, Princeton is acquiring a reputation as a photonic
and fiberoptic center. Another company has emerged on the Princeton
scene, this one at Princess Road in Lawrence. It set up shop last
year, has 10 employees, and does some manufacturing of components
here, though it has also established an assembly and distribution
center near Beijing.
Like PD/LD, founded by Vladimir Ban in 1993, PrinceTel does laser
diode packaging. Among its products are pigtailed modules, receptacle
modules, and turnkey laser diode light sources. Available as stock
items or as custom-order packages these products serve a wide variety
of industries — sensing, test and measurement, biotechnology,
medicine, aerospace, and telecommunications. These products constitute
60 to 75 percent of the current business.
The newest line of products is fiberoptic test equipment, and this
line is expected to grow to 50 percent of sales. "Our test
is specifically for the lab environment, which makes us different
from companies that are focused more for the on-road individual,"
says Daniel Watts, who is in charge of sales and services.
the equipment we deal with is so closely linked with our other
we have developed a standard of tolerances that we think is better
and more efficient than our competition." He also claims his
have long term stability and efficiency.
The test equipment provides the light source used in testing
components for power level and loss of power. "Just like household
electrical jacks that provide a steady electrical source, needed to
start the action for running the computer or the toaster, this acts
as a beginning source," says Watts.
The test equipment, called "Cooled Laser Diode Light Source,"
is priced in the low thousands, weighs 1.3 kilograms and measures
197 x 163 x 58 millimeters. It is often coupled with a power meter
to read the power. Says Watts: "The unit is prepared so that it
can be on the desktop of each individual in the lab."
08648. Kainan Tang, CEO. 609-895-9890; fax, 609-895-9552.
Avinash Diwan is finding a way to make manufacturing
pay. The Rutgers MBA (Class of 1978) founded an import/export company,
East-West Service Co., right after graduation. Diwan’s 23-year-old
firm sells to distributors around the country, and its marketing
are in Virginia.
Among his latest ventures is Brooks Power Systems, a manufacturer
of outlet strips and surge suppressors that has opened an office on
Nami Lane. Diwan’s wife, Veena, runs that 15-person company. Its
include Compaq, Apple, Cooper Industries, Dell, Boeing, and the
Services Administration. For the U.S. Navy it designed and made a
shipboard surge protector.
Diwan and his wife live in West Windsor, where their two children
graduated from West Windsor Plainsboro High School. Their son, Anurag,
works for Salomon Smith Barney, and their daughter, Ambika, is a
therapist at Livingston Hospital.
Several years ago, Diwan purchased Carpenter Emergency Lighting, a
Virginia company. Countering the trend of manufacturing going south,
Diwan moved Carpenter to New Jersey last year. The company has offices
at 2 Marlen Drive in Hamilton. Its products include emergency lights
and exit signs. Carpenter employs 15 people, and Diwan expects to
add 8 to 10 more within six months. Finding employees is not difficult
now, he says, largely because of all the downsizings.
Diwan combined Carpenter’s accounting and other administrative
with those of Brooks Power, and he says that such efficiency is one
key to profitable manufacturing in New Jersey. Perhaps more important,
he says, is to "keep it global." Scour the world for the best
prices on parts and assembly, and then do final assembly here, is
One of the products that he makes on a private label basis is a
system for residential basement sump pumps. Instead of relying on
a float valve, it senses the water level, starts the motor, and sends
a signal upstairs. It will be available in chain hardware stores this
08691. Avinash Diwan, owner. 609-631-9000; fax, 609-689-3091. Home
08619. Veena Diwan. 609-890-0100; fax, 609-631-9001.
08540. Donald Rosen MD, chief technological officer. 609-924-1067;
A clinical trial services company has quadrupled in size, going from
3,400 feet at Research Park to 15,000 square feet at the Carnegie
Center. Radpharm is a sister company to Princeton Radiology Associates
and focuses on medical imaging.
Radpharm is a full-service imaging core lab that manages the imaging
segment of global clinical trials. It has 26 full-time board certified
sub-specialty trained radiologists on staff, and it proposes to cut
the time that it takes to get a new drug to market. It has a research
facility in Jamesburg.
G. Busa, president of clinical trial center. 888-333-3952; fax,
A pharmaceutical company based in Austin, Texas, has taken 32,000
square feet at 20 Lake Drive for a clinical trials laboratory. John
Horan of Coldwell Banker Commercial/Feist & Feist represented the
tenant and Bob Sager of Insignia ESG represented the landlord.
Headquartered in Austin, Texas, this company has its clinical trial
center and an endocrinology laboratory in Calabasas Hills, California.
It has a coagulation division in Aurora, California, an infectious
disease center in San Antonio, a molecular genetics office in Eden
Prairie, Minnesota, a toxicology laboratory in Woodland Hills,
and several oncology laboratories in the U.S. and the Netherlands.
Lawrenceville 08648. Jeffrey Scott, president. 609-434-1500; fax,
The pharmaceutical marketing research firm moved from 1,600 square
feet at 14 Washington Road to 1,500 feet at 2681 Princeton Pike.
Road, Box 1, Princeton 08543. Joseph I. Morris, chief executive
The pharmacists’ association has moved from Marlen Drive in
to 760 Alexander Road, the New Jersey Hospital Association building
and the home of many other health-related associations. The phone
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