VSpring, Signal Peak merge venture capital firms, may raise fund in 2013

Published: Thursday, March 29 2012 10:00 p.m. MDT

Signal Peak Ventures leadership

Signal Peak

SALT LAKE CITY — VSpring Capital, one of Utah's largest venture capital funds, will merge with Signal Peak Ventures to invest in regional companies.

The combined firm, which will keep the Signal Peak name, will manage $450 million of committed capital, partners Dinesh Patel and Ron Heinz said this week. The firm wants to raise a new investment fund of $150 million to $200 million in 2013.

Partners at the firm will include Patel, Heinz, vSpring's Scott Petty and Signal Peak's Brandon Tidwell. They will each equally split ownership. VSpring managing director Ed Ekstrom will become a venture partner and work with portfolio companies. By joining, the firm can pull from a larger pool of limited partners who invest money.

"If we're successful, there are a lot of people who will want to invest in our ongoing success," Heinz said.

Before the merger, vSpring had $400 million of committed capital and was investing in about 45 companies, while Signal Peak was investing $50 million in 10 companies.

The partners typically invest $5 million to $12 million in companies and look to own 15 percent to 20 percent at exit, Patel said. Potential investments typically will be found in Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona.

Utah has several areas to invest in, the partners said. Heinz said he likes software as a service businesses because they can scale globally and information security companies such as South Jordan-based Solera Networks. Patel said there is a lot of talent in the medical device sector.

Heinz said the intermountain region has an "expanding base of entrepreneurs."

"You combine that with what has been great innovation and great technology — as far as the type of software engineers we have, the type of people in the medical field that have always been innovators — I think that is really going to bode well for the state over the next couple of decades," he said.

The V100, which tracks venture entrepreneurs, will maintain its name, Patel said. The merger signals an end to the vSpring firm name in Utah.

Signal Peak was founded last year by Canopy Venture's venture capital team.

email: jburke@desnews.com

Lawyers want federal case for Grand Canyon Skywalk

PEACH SPRINGS, Ariz. — Attorneys for a Las Vegas developer are asking a federal appellate court to weigh in on a dispute over the Grand Canyon Skywalk.

A judge ruled earlier this month that David Jin's attorneys must fight in Hualapai tribal court to retain Jin's contractual rights to the popular tourist attraction.

Jin's attorneys contend the court narrowly interpreted a law regarding the bad faith exception to exhausting remedies in tribal court.

They've appealed to the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.

The tribe and Jin have been locked in a yearlong dispute that led the tribe to cut Jin out of managing the Skywalk.

The glass bridge juts out 70 feet from the Grand Canyon on Hualapai land in northwestern Arizona, giving tourists a view of the Colorado River below.

— Associated Press

Utah county ranked 4th in nation for job creation

PROVO — Utah County ranked No. 4 in the nation for the percentage of new jobs created over a 12-month period.

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