Tony Warren: VC For High Techs

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These articles were prepared

for the January 24, 2001 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights

reserved.

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

resources

of several friends who started their own fund on the West Coast. They

named the umbrella company Westrock Partners, and now Conner is

expanding

his company to the East Coast with an office on Emmons Drive

(609-921-2626;

E-mail: westrockventures@aol.com).

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

international

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

quarter,

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

co-investors."

"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

participated

in. I don’t want to go into deals with other people’s money."

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Tony Warren: VC For High Techs

In the lineup of Princeton’s venture capital firms

published

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

million

closed in December for the next fund, titled Adams Capital III.

"We

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

materials

science in a new area," he says. He is particularly eager to

acquire

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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