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These articles were prepared
for the January 24, 2001 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights
Westrock Partners: New Venture Capital
In 1994 Kevin Conner had the expertise and the
desire to start a venture capital fund, but he didn’t have the money.
Instead of positioning himself as a money broker, he tapped the
of several friends who started their own fund on the West Coast. They
named the umbrella company Westrock Partners, and now Conner is
his company to the East Coast with an office on Emmons Drive
That’s because Conner — who has an accounting business as well
as a private investment consulting firm — has accumulated enough
cash to start his own fund. He has funded several companies and is
looking for companies in the high technology area, especially online
education and E-mail marketing.
Conner went to Westchester University, Class of 1984. His brother
Joseph is the CFO for North American Electric Reliability Council
at Forrestal Village. The name of the business, Westrock Partners,
is a combination of his alma mater and his wife’s high school, Council
Rock in Bucks County. He worked for Price Waterhouse, for an
bank in Manhattan, and for a small CPA firm before starting his own
CPA firm in 1991. Now Westrock of San Jose is a viable company with
100 percent technology stocks.
Conner is not actively seeking submissions: "I have a good deal
flow, and we try to keep it as small as possible. We have a small
fund of $22 million available to us, including on both coasts. I am
raising money in a blind pool. Based upon my partners’ experience
and my experience we have invested in 11 domestic companies and one
overseas. Once the fund rolls out its prospectus in the second
we can talk about it."
Conner is looking for early stage to mezzanine financing. "Our
first two investments were earlier stage, seed capital, and we got
burned on both. Our smallest investment will be $100,000, and the
largest, $1.8 million. We are not taking the lead but looking for
"The main thrust is taking what I have done in the CPA business
and transforming it into a corporate advisory firm with some venture
capital," he says. He hopes to take an equity position in some
companies where he and his cohorts can have a significant role in
management. "Whatever deals we have done so far, we have
in. I don’t want to go into deals with other people’s money."
In the lineup of Princeton’s venture capital firms
on January 3, one was omitted: Anthony C. Warren’s Adams Capital
Management, based at Suite 104, 947 State Road (609-688-9990; fax,
609-688-9988). Warren does technology investment banking as Strategic
Technologies, but has Adams Capital Management as a venture capital
fund. This fund has $700 million now under management, and $420
closed in December for the next fund, titled Adams Capital III.
are actively looking for deals in New Jersey," says Warren,
He looks for first stage companies with up to $5 million in the first
round, up to $25 million in the next round. "We are interested
in information technology, software, business-to-business, and
science in a new area," he says. He is particularly eager to
companies based on technologies developed at universities, and has
done one deal from a technology that originated at MIT.
"We are very happy to take management risk — we don’t have
to have a CEO who has done it six times before," says Warren.
"We will take the risk of building a management team."
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