Two venture-capital firms supported by some of the "who's who" in Utah business have announced new funds with hundreds of millions of dollars available to Utah businesses.
Salt Lake-based Peterson Partners said this month that it has created Peterson Partners V, a fund of $120 million for small- to medium-size businesses with at least $10 million in annual revenue. Lindon-based Canopy Ventures said Monday that it has formed $100-million Canopy Ventures II for start-up information technology and life-science technology companies.
If selected to receive money from either of the funds, companies will also get management and marketing assistance for expansion.
Peterson Partners raised money for its fifth fund by pooling the wealth of several prominent people with Utah ties, including David Neeleman, founder of JetBlue Airways; Dave Checketts, owner of Real Salt Lake; and "the Romney Family Investment Fund," which is associated with Mitt Romney, although the fund manager declined to specify if it was Romney's money or wealth left to the former presidential candidate and his siblings by father George Romney.
The $110 million fund is the largest thus far for 13-year-old Peterson Partners. Previous funds have helped companies such as JetBlue, EnergySolutions nuclear waste storage and Cranium game and toymaker. Businesses selected for the new funding "will be similar to the ones we've invested in through our prior funds," said Peterson Partners co-founder and managing partner Jordan Clements. "These are high-growth businesses."
Canopy Ventures' $100 million fund also is the largest in its 13-year history.
The late Ray Noorda, co-founder of Novell Inc., started the fund in 1995 after he retired from Novell. Noorda died in 2006, and managing partners Ron Heinz and Brandon Tidwell now run Canopy Ventures.
The money for Canopy Ventures II comes from sales of companies that were investments in Canopy Ventures I, as well as wealth from the Noorda family. While the first fund was purely for technology companies such as software, Web 2.0 and network securities businesses the new fund will expand to include life-science tech companies."We're actively reviewing investment opportunities every week, it seems," Tidwell said. "We have been considering two investments right now. You'll probably see in the next four or five weeks an announcement on at least one of them, or maybe both."