[Posted on February 19, 2008 - 3:45 PM]
New York venture capital firm Contour Venture Partners has put the final touches on its inaugural $24 million investment fund. The funding was raised primarily from high-net worth individuals known to Contour founders Bob Greene (left) and Matt Gorin. Greene is a former managing partner with Flatiron Partners and previously was a general partner at Chase Capital Partners' technology and Internet investment group. Gorin brings operational experience from his time as manager at Linux software maker Red Hat Inc., Promontory Interfinancial Network and Morgan Stanley.
"We were very successful in raising it from wealthy individuals," Greene says. "We got an interesting reception from institutional investors, but because we were targeting a size well below $100 million it was below their radar."
The partners says that some institutional investors did opt to contribute to the fund during the final closing, when they saw the firm's "model proving out and how the portfolio is shaping up," adds Gorin (right). Contour has already notched an exit from the fund, as portfolio company YellowJacket Software Inc. was sold to IntercontinentalExchange Inc. for an undisclosed in January.
Contour chiefly invests in early-stage IT startups in the financial services, Internet and business services sectors, with a geographic focus on the Northeast corridor between Boston and Washington. "Our sweet spot is early-stage financial services technology on the platform side and next-generation advertising solutions," Gorin says. "We love those businesses and understand those sectors."
The two venture capitalists have been putting money from the fund to work since 2006, the year they founded Contour, and now have eight portfolio companies. The firm "runs the spectrum from idea-stage to seed and angel up to Series A, first institutional rounds," Greene says.
Fundraising remains difficult for first-time vehicles. The National Venture Capital Association reports that the ratio of follow-on to new funds was approximately 3-to-1 in 2007, with 55 new funds, compared with 180 follow-on entities. - George White
See press release on YellowJacket
See NVCA report