Venture capital (VC) is money provided to seed early-stage, emerging and emerging growth companies. Venture capital funds invest in companies in exchange for equity in the companies they invest in, which usually have a novel technology or business model in high technology industries, such as biotechnology and IT.
Venture capital is attractive for new companies with limited operating history that are too small to raise capital in the public markets and have not reached the point where they are able to secure a bank loan or complete a debt offering. In exchange for the high risk that venture capitalists assume by investing in smaller and less mature companies, venture capitalists usually get significant control over company decisions, in addition to a significant portion of the companies’ ownership.
Our presenter is Bruce Luehrs, Managing Partner of Rittenhouse Ventures.
Bruce’s presentation, “Early Stage Venture Investing: Family, Angels and Vultures”, focuses on the current climate for VC in the region, and provides trends in the various sectors of VC involvement.
Rittenhouse Ventures, formerly known as Emerald Stage2 Ventures, is a Philadelphia-based early stage venture fund that invests in emerging technology companies across Pennsylvania and the Mid-Atlantic region. The Fund is focused on capital-efficient opportunities across multiple verticals.
Bruce was previously a General Partner of the Edison Venture Fund from 1998 through 2006 and has been a banker, entrepreneur, and venture capitalist for the past 30years. Bruce has extensive experience with both equity and debt financings and is well known in the Philadelphia area, having served as a past Chairman of the Greater Philadelphia Venture Group (now the MAC Alliance) and as an active member of the Mid Atlantic Venture Conference Steering Committee and the Association for Corporate Growth.
Bruce brings a strong track record and has extensive investment experience in the region, having championed numerous Edison investments in the Mid-Atlantic region including Gain Capital, Virtual Edge (sold to ADP), Fiberlink (sold to IBM), Innaphase (successfully sold to Thermo Electron in 2004), Octagon Research (sold to Accenture) and Cadient (sold to Cognizant). Bruce’s investment activities have been concentrated on financial services information technology (IT), pharmaceutical IT and communications services companies. Over the past 15 years, Bruce has championed investments in 20 companies totaling over $65 million. Mr. Luehrs currently sits on the Boards of Tabula Rasa Healthcare(formerly known as CareKinesis), Miria Systems and Core Solutions.
Previously, Bruce was Vice President of Columbia Capital, an investment merchant bank in Alexandria, Virginia and a principal at PNC Equity Management and Fidelcor Capital. While at PNC Equity Management, he directed their specialization on wireless telephone service investments. Earlier in his career, Bruce was a commercial lender with Continental Illinois National Bank (Chicago) and Fidelity Bank (Philadelphia). While at Fidelity, he developed a lending and investment practice for Fidelity Bank to serve emerging growth companies in the Delaware Valley. In 1988, he secured a SBIC license for Fidelity Bank and served as the first President of the SBIC unit and Fidelcor Capital.
Bruce was commissioned as an officer in the United States Air Force in 1975. He received an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University following graduation from Duke University with a BA in Economics, summa cum laude.