May 21, 2007
IN-vivo Ventures closes on fund to capitalize on America's hottest 'angel' marketWEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - May 21, 2007 - IN-vivo Ventures LLC, a Purdue Research Park-based company formed in 2003, has created a founder's fund to provide initial seed capital to the company's projected short-term portfolio of 10-15 Midwestern technology ventures.
The IN-vivo Ventures Founder's Fund was developed from a large group of angel investors who helped launch Quadraspec Inc., an IN-vivo Ventures portfolio biotech company that uses compact-disc technology to cost-effectively diagnose disease. In addition to Quadraspec, IN-vivo Founders Eric Davis and Chad Barden have launched several companies, including Copient Technologies Inc.; Nuron LLC, which was acquired by Intel; Arxan Technologies Inc.; and Kylin Therapeutics Inc. Together, these companies have acquired more than $40 million in angel and venture capital-based funding and employ more than 100 people.
Davis, a managing partner at IN-vivo Ventures, said the new fund was created to respond to a heightened interest in private equity for Midwestern startups. He cites the success of the Purdue Research Park in West Lafayette, Ind., where more than $85 million in angel and venture capital investment flowed into startups in fiscal year 2005.
"Midwest-based venture funds typically do not have the capital to lead large syndicated financing rounds, and nearly all these funds are involved only with later-stage opportunities that are close to exit," Davis said. "Our new fund will bridge the gap between innovation and commercialization to more fully realize some of the tremendous opportunities here in the Heartland, and especially in Indiana."
Davis referred to a recent report by the Corporation for Enterprise Development, which ranked Indiana the fourth highest state in the percentage gain of venture capital/angel investing over five years (1999-2004). And while total venture capital/angel funding has increased only 7 percent nationwide over the last two years, it's increased 152 percent in Indiana during the same period. Perennial funding hotspots, such as the Silicon Valley and New England, have seen moderate increases, or even decreases, during this period (i.e. the Silicon Valley's funding increased 15 percent and New England's decreased 1 percent).
"I nearly wore out the soles of my shoes while raising initial capital for Quadraspec," said Chad Barden, IN-vivo Ventures' co-founder and a managing partner as well as Quadraspec's CEO. "We secured nearly all of our funding from a group of eighty Midwest-based angel investors and, during the course of the fundraising process, I realized the strength of this group and the opportunity that still existed in leveraging their combined investment potential for the benefit of emerging technology companies in the Midwest."
One of the Quadraspec "angels" is Carmel, Ind.-based real estate developer George Sweet. Sweet has become a leading participant in the IN-vivo Ventures Founder's Fund.
"Quadraspec allowed me contribute my own 30-plus years of entrepreneurial experience along with my monetary resources," Sweet said. "Angels are looking for excellent returns, but many also are looking to get involved with a company, and that's something larger VC firms on the coasts don't understand. I can achieve both of my objectives by working with Chad and Eric as they commercialize technologies that have the potential to literally diagnose and treat cancer ... and that's extremely rewarding."
Big Ten universities also are helping to fuel innovation in the Midwest. Each of these institutions enjoys nationally recognized research programs that, together, attract billions of dollars of sponsored research and produce hundreds of patented technologies annually.
"More than 300 life sciences companies exist in the Midwest, representing 21 percent of all U.S. biotech companies," said Joseph B. Hornett, senior VP, treasurer and COO of the Purdue Research Foundation, which owns and manages the Purdue Research Park. "IN-vivo Ventures efforts to grow new technologies and keep them here in Indiana are to be commended."
About IN-vivo Ventures
The mission of IN-vivo Ventures LLC is to cultivate and create economic value from the most promising platform technologies emerging from research universities and inventors in the Midwest. The company specializes in seeding emergent companies with qualified, professional management; advisors; and processes in order to streamline the process of licensing and commercializing technology.