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Innovation Works Makes 100th New Investment in Seed-Stage Technology Companies

Innovation Works, the Pittsburgh region's most active and largest seed-stage investor in technology start-ups, invested in its 100th company since the inception of the organization's seed fund in late 1999.  The portfolio companies also reached an unprecedented single-year milestone of attracting more than $100 million in follow-on investment from private and other sources in 2007.

 

In total, Innovation Works (IW) has invested more than $35 million since 1999, with portfolio companies going on to raise more than $425 million in follow-on financing in the same period.  Some of the earliest IW investments are now paying off in terms of additional venture capital, company growth, product sales, and local employment.

 

Innovation Works made more first-time investments in 2007 than any other single year since its inception, adding 17 new companies to the state-sponsored organization's investment portfolio and surpassing the 100-company mark.  "With 17 new companies added to the investment portfolio in 2007 -- and more than 100 since its inception -- Innovation Works has proven to be a statewide leader in early-stage technology investment," said Dennis Yablonsky, Secretary of Pennsylvania's Department of Community & Economic Development.  "The milestones reached by Innovation Works and their portfolio companies demonstrate the organization's ability to develop cmpanies that affect the most innovative industry sectors in the world."

 

One of those innovative companies is Aethon, Inc., maker of the robotic "Tug" that automates supply chain logistics in hospitals. Aethon received one of IW's first investments in 2000.  Since then, the company has doubled revenues every year, employs over 100 people (75 employed at the company's headquarters in Robinson Township), has more than 100 client hospitals throughout the country and has raised $20 million in venture capital.  "The entire start-up community has grown substantially since our first investment from Innovation Works," says Aldo Zini, President and CEO of Aethon.  "It's fantastic that 100 start-ups have received investment from Innovation Works and that those companies have hit a milestone like attracting $100 million in outside money in a single year.  It really speaks to the growing strength of our technology community in every way -- the research, entrepreneurial growth, availability of capital and the talent that is here."

 

In 2007, Innovation Works added the following companies to the investment portfolio:

  • Accipiter Systems, Inc.
  • Alertek, LLC
  • BIOSAFE, Inc.
  • Bossa Nova Concepts, LLC
  • CastGrabber, LLC
  • Ciespace Corporation
  • Cognition Therapeutics, Inc.
  • Concurrent Electronic Design Automation, LLC
  • Coventina Healthcare Enterprises, Inc.
  • ImpactGames, LLC
  • MobileFusion, Inc.
  • Pertuity, Inc.
  • RedPack Logistics, Inc.
  • ShowClix LLC
  • Sim Ops Studios, Inc.
  • SMASH
  • ThermalTherapeutic Systems, Inc.

In addition, Innovation Works re-invested in the following portfolio companies to continue fueling their growth in 2007:

  • ClearCount Medical Solutions, Inc.
  • DesignAdvance Systems, Inc.
  • Knopp Neurosciences Inc.
  • Proteopure, Inc.
  • Cellatope Corporation (Formerly StageMark, Inc.)
  • TowerCare Technologies, LLC

"2007 was a banner year for Innovation Works; but more importantly, it was a strong year for the young technology companies here that hit extraordinary milestones of their own," said Rich Lunak, President & CEO of Innovation Works.  "In previous years, IW invested in seed-stage companies that became the region's technology powerhouses: FORE Systems, Automated HealthCare, VoCollect, Precision Therapeutics, and others.  These companies have had a significant impact on the region's economy and talent pool.  Now there are strong signs of growth in the current portfolion of start-up companies -- one of the best indicators being that the majority of local companies that received venture capital in the past two years have been Innovation Works portfolio companies.  This bodes well for their future growth and solidifies Pittsburgh as an area for additional private investment."

 

- Innovation Works

 

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