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RAND CAPITAL'S ASSETS STEADY, OUTLOOK GOOD

The value of Rand Capital Corp.'s assets held steady during the fourth quarter, but the president of the Buffalo venture capital firm said Friday the company's investments are looking good.

"Our companies had great fourth quarters, but it wasn't all reflected in the financials," said Pete Grum, Rand's president.

"Almost all of our investments have strengthened their outlook," he said. "We are finally beginning to see the long-term success that we anticipated when we made these investments."

The value of Rand's assets inched up by less than 1 percent to $7.63 million at the end of December from $7.61 million at the end of September, but on a per-share basis, the assets were stable at $1.33 per share share.

Grum also said that Nora Sullivan, the company's executive vice president, has left Rand to become a private banker at Citibank.

During the fourth quarter, Rand increased the value of its investment in Aria Wireless Systems Inc. by $116,840 to reflect its higher stock price. Rand also hiked its valuation of its investment in DataView LLC, a Mt. Kisco, N.Y., software developer, by $143,357, and MemberWare Technologies, a Pittsford, N.Y., Internet-based consultant, by $50,000.

Those gains were offset by a $108,350 drop in the value of Rand's preferred stock portfolio. In addition, Rand's investment in Ellicottville Energy Corp. was repaid and the company sold its remaining shares in Lightbridge Inc.

Rand made $1.7 million in new investments in 11 companies last year as the venture capital firm whittled its sizable hoard of cash down to 20 percent of its assets by the end of the year, compared with 29 percent at the end of September.

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