Expansion: Sycamore Ventures

New in Fiberoptics

East-West Growth


New in Town

Crosstown Moves

Corrections or additions?

This article was prepared for the March 6, 2002 edition of

U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.

On the Move

Top Of Page
Expansion: Sycamore Ventures

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


and Asia.

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

Sycamore Ventures, 845 Alexander Road, Princeton

08540. Peter Gerry, managing director. 609-759-8888; fax,



Top Of Page
New in Fiberoptics

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."

PrinceTel Inc., 4 Princess Road, Suite 209,


08648. Kainan Tang, CEO. 609-895-9890; fax, 609-895-9552. Home

page: www.princetel.com

Top Of Page
East-West Growth

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

his prescription.

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


East-West Service Co. Inc., 2 Marlen Drive,


08691. Avinash Diwan, owner. 609-631-9000; fax, 609-689-3091. Home

page: www.carpenteremergencylighting.com

Brooks Power Systems, 3 Nami Lane, Unit 6,


08619. Veena Diwan. 609-890-0100; fax, 609-631-9001.

Top Of Page

Radpharm, 103 Carnegie Center, Suite 300 A,


08540. Donald Rosen MD, chief technological officer. 609-924-1067;

fax, 609-924-2094. Home page: www.radpharm.com

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.

Top Of Page
New in Town

Esoterix, 20 Lake Drive, East Windsor 08520.


G. Busa, president of clinical trial center. 888-333-3952; fax,


Home page: www.esoterix.com

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.

Top Of Page
Crosstown Moves

Mohrman/Scott Associates Inc., 2681 Princeton Pike,

Lawrenceville 08648. Jeffrey Scott, president. 609-434-1500; fax,

609-434-1510. Www.mohrman-scott.com

The pharmaceutical marketing research firm moved from 1,600 square

feet at 14 Washington Road to 1,500 feet at 2681 Princeton Pike.

New Jersey Pharmacists Association, 760 Alexander

Road, Box 1, Princeton 08543. Joseph I. Morris, chief executive


609-275-4246. Www.njpha.com

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

is new.

Next Story

Corrections or additions?

This page is published by PrincetonInfo.com

— the web site for U.S. 1 Newspaper in Princeton, New Jersey.

Facebook Comments