vSpring, Signal Peak form bigger investment firm
They’ll be equal partners in new investment firm.
Published: March 27, 2012 07:46PM
Updated: March 28, 2012 10:11AM
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Courtesy photo “You’re acting on a business plan without having met the team. It’s a leap of faith,” said Dinesh Patel, managing director for the Utah venture capital firm vSpring Capital. However, "when you’re part of a crowd, there’s hopefully a few smart people in the crowd and you’re playing along with them.”

One of Utah’s best-known venture capital firms is merging with a smaller start-up with an eye toward improving investment returns and expanding their holdings in information technology and life science companies based in the West.

vSpring Capital and Signal Peak Ventures, both based in Salt Lake City, are combining as equal partners in a new investment firm that, effective immediately, will operate under the Signal Peak Ventures name, both companies announced Tuesday. No money was exchanged.

Founded in 2000, vSpring has $400 million invested in 45 companies through three investment funds. Signal Peak, started last year, has put $50 million in 10 companies via one fund.

“We felt that this is a new partnership, and because Signal Peak is a relatively new name we thought we should go with that,” said Dinesh Patel, a managing director of vSpring Capital.

vSpring was established by five partners. Twelve years later only two remain — Patel and fellow managing director Scott Petty. Patel said he and Petty can’t properly manage all of the firm’s investments, so they decided to find more partners to share the work.

“Our goal [was] to be at least four partners, based on the number of companies that we have. This is just adding the two partners that we needed,” he said.

Signal Peak was established last year by Ron Heinz and Brandon Tidwell, both former managing directors of Canopy Ventures, a Lindon-based venture capital fund.

The number of limited-partner clients of the new Signal Peak firm is close to 40 institutional and individual investors. With four directors, investment returns should increase, Patel said. In turn, that should make starting a fifth investment fund some time in the next 18 months easier.

“Having good partners helps us get better returns,” he said. “Having better returns and a broader limited partner base will expand the pool of potential investors in the next fund.”

Heinz said Signal Peak’s investment strategy won’t change.

“It is no secret that the number of compelling information technology and life-sciences company in the Rocky Mountain region continues to expand,” he said.

pbeebe@sltrib.com

Twitter: @sltribpaul

vSpring, Signal Peak combine

The new venture capital firm will operate under the Signal Peak name. Examples of companies each firm has invested in:

vSpring • Aeroprise, Control4, FamilyLink,NetVision, Senforce Technologies

Signal Peak • C7 Data Centers, eFileCabinet, Lingotek, Smart Bomb Interactive, Solera Networks