Capital Buzz: Bringing start-up financing to hard-hit communities
By Thomas Heath,
Local financiers Karim Zia and Candler Young have launched DC Community Ventures, a Georgetown-based venture capital fund, to make investments in the Washington area.
The fund is hoping to make money for investors while doing some good for local ailing neighborhoods, such as delivering high-quality services and creating jobs.
The fund raised $5 million from high-net-worth individuals, which it plans to use to invest or co-invest in deals between $100,000 and $750,000.
“We see a market niche for funding start-ups in distressed neighborhoods,” Zia said.
Zia and Young have known each other for nearly 20 years after starting in the equity research division at Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette.
Zia, 39, has an undergraduate degree from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He was a managing director at Deutsche Bank’s New York City offices, where he covered the cable and satellite sectors.
Young, 39, has an MBA from the University of Chicago and an undergraduate degree from Princeton, and moved on to focus on retail and consumer-related stocks at T. Rowe Price in Baltimore and later for hedge funds, Glenhill Capital and Highline Capital.
Susan O’Malley, former president of Washington Sports & Entertainment, which was the late Abe Pollin’s sports holding company prior to its acquisition by Ted Leonsis, is teaching a course this fall on sports law at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia.
O’Malley, who was the first female president of an NBA franchise (Wizards) and earned a Georgetown University law degree, retired from Washington Sports in 2007 after 21 years with the privately held company.
Her sports law course is listed as a marketing elective in the school’s undergraduate school of business:
“An overview of the legal issues related to sports, from the viewpoint of team management, league unions, college athletic directors and sports agents.”
Leonsis renamed the Pollin empire, which includes the Wizards, Capitals and Verizon Center, Monumental Sports & Entertainment.
The Buzz hears . . .
• Reggie Aggarwal, founder and chairman of Tysons Corner-based online events company Cvent, had a good week, picking up a $136 million minority investment. Some longtime investors are apparently using the influx of new money to take cash off the table, including Ed Mathias of the Carlyle Group and Pittsburgh’s Birchmere Ventures. MicroStrategy executive Sanju Bansal, on the other hand, is keeping his money in.
• Falls Church-based advertising agency SmithGifford has been selected by the Washington Area New Auto Dealers Association (WANADA) to develop the marketing strategy for the 2012 Washington Auto Show, set for Jan. 27 through Feb. 5. Karen Riordan is president of SmithGifford.
• Zach Cutler’s technology-focused public relations firm and its staff of five just moved out of the house to new space at Square 54, which is located at 2200 Pennsylvania Ave. across from George Washington University. Mort Zuckerman’s Boston Properties is the developer.
Cutler’s clients include local technology firms such as ROCS Inc., Vorsight, 123Junk Inc., TouchAppMedia, LogicBoost Software (formerly Thycotic Software) and NACT Solutions.
• D.C.-based private equity firm ACON Investments, headed by Jonathan Ginns, acquired Grupo SALA, one of the biggest waste management companies in Colombia. Terms were not disclosed.
ACON has been one of the earliest U.S. private equity firms to invest in Colombia, starting with its investment in the regional retailer Almacenes Vivero in 1998 followed by its acquisition of Bogota supermarket chain Carulla y Cia in 1999.
Pinkberry’s frozen yogurt offensive
Pinkberry, the tart-tasting California-based national yogurt chain, is opening its fifth location in the Washington region this fall at 3088 M St. in Georgetown, across from Georgetown Cupcake.
The 1,200-square-foot space will be located in a former clothing boutique. The real estate brokers who did the deal were Alex Walker and Bill Miller, both of TransWestern.
Pinkberry, which launched in West Hollywood, Calif., in January 2005, has three stores in the region, with a fourth opening in Leesburg on Aug. 26. The first three stores are in Dupont Circle, Fairfax and Clarendon.
The Georgetown location opens in late October.
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