Funding co. for high-tech startups opens office

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A venture capital company expanding to Colorado Springs from Austin, Texas, is looking at potential investments here and elsewhere along the Front Range, said Greg Carlisle, who will manage the company for Gefinor Ventures.
The company has rented office space on the 11th floor of the Wells Fargo building. Carlisle said it is looking at potential investments ranging from $500,000 to $7 million locally and in Austin. Gefinor also has a New York City office.
Gefinor Ventures considered sites in Denver, Boulder, Fort Collins, and other cities along the Front Range before deciding on Colorado Springs. Rocky Scott of the Colorado Springs Greater Economic Development Corporation provided much of the stimulus to locating in Colorado Springs, said Carlisle, as did Gary Markle, chief executive officer of the Colorado Springs Technology Incubator.
“They were able to convince us (investors) there were enough technology and high-technology people here,” Carlisle said. “They said what is missing in the Springs area is an active venture fund with an office here.”
Fresh capital will considerably help the region’s high-tech workforce, which took heavy hits in last winter’s layoffs. Venture capital is money extended to companies, often startups. Many times the funds are extended in exchange for part ownership of the company.
“Disruptive technologies” are prime consideration for funding, Carlisle said. “A disruptive technology is one that will change in industry in some manner,” said Carlisle. For example, the group funded a California company that was able to speed up the transfer of data over networks by as much as 10 times. Another example is NetSpend, a pre-paid credit card that enables those without a credit history to escrow funds and obtain a card with a credit limit equal to the funds deposited.
Obviously, software development firms, internet operations, wireless communication and data transmission companies are potential candidates for venture capital.
“We average about 30 deals per month, and about six are under serious consideration,” Carlisle said.
However, Carlisle said he does not exactly want a barrage of telephone calls from people seeking funding.
“Historically, the majority of our deals come from service companies that we’re already doing business with,” Carlisle said. “For example, people that work with high-technology startups.” That could be attorneys, other investor funds or angel investors, he said.
The venture capital funds may be used to expand or generate new products, Carlisle said.