Top venture capital firm in U.S. is New Enterprise

March 07, 1995|By Timothy J. Mullaney | Timothy J. Mullaney,Sun Staff Writer

New Enterprise Associates Inc. was the nation's top venture capital firm in 1994, according to a new survey that ranks venture investors by the number of companies they lead to successful initial public offerings.

The VentureOne 1994 annual report on venture financing says 12 companies in which New Enterprise invested at an early stage went public last year, raising $304 million in offerings that pegged the overall value of the companies at more than $1.5 billion.

The venture capital firm has dual headquarters in Baltimore and San Francisco.

"New Enterprise has averaged one IPO per month for the last three years running," said Rolf Selvig, VentureOne marketing director for San Francisco-based VentureOne Corp., who said New Enterprise tied for fifth place in last year's survey. "These guys know what they're doing."

"NEA is truly an entrepreneurial/venture money machine," the authors of the VentureOne study wrote. Three firms in the survey tied for second place by seeing seven companies in which they had invested go public last year.

Nancy Dorman, a general partner at New Enterprise's Baltimore office, said the firm has been well-served by a receptive IPO market and a strategy that highlights investing in information technology, health care and life science firms.

"The market window definitely has been open for the past few years, and we have had some really good companies that could take advantage of it," she said.

Among New Enterprises' initial offerings in 1994 were companies working to develop or market pharmaceuticals, computer software, blood vessel grafts, office products and medical lasers.

The firm has invested in about 250 companies since its 1978 founding. The firm is currently invested in about 130 companies, Ms. Dorman said.

New Enterprise manages about $766 million in assets. Ms. Dorman said the firm's two oldest venture capital pools have delivered annual returns of 29 percent and 18.7 percent, which she said is good enough to place the firm comfortably among the top 25 percent in the industry.

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