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Value rises as Rand adjusts portfolio

The value of Rand Capital Corp.'s investments inched up by 1 percent during the first quarter as the Buffalo venture capital firm wrote up the value of its stake in Synacor Inc. and added to its stake in an Ithaca-based manufacturer of testing equipment.

Rand said the value of its portfolio increased to $24.6 million, or $3.61 per share, at the end of March from $24.4 million, or $3.58 per share, at the end of December. The value of Rand's portfolio has grown by 8 percent in the last year.

Rand sold about 83,825 shares of its Synacor stock during the Buffalo Internet content provider's initial public offering in February, but the venture firm increased the value of its remaining 902,400 shares by $200,000 to reflect the increase in Synacor's share price since then.

Rand now values its roughly 3 percent stake in Synacor at $5.9 million, or about a quarter of its total portfolio.

Synacor's shares closed Monday at $8.29, up 29 cents, more than five times Rand's average cost of around $1.30 per share.

Allen F. Grum, Rand's president, said Synacor is one of the venture firm's success stories. Rand invested $1.3 million in Synacor on four separate occasions, begining 10 years ago, and has seen the company grow from a fledgling startup to a business with more than 300 employees and a market value of more than $185 million.

Rand also invested an additional $456,000 in Rheonix Inc., an Ithaca company that makesmicrofluid testing devices that are used to analyze small volumes of chemicals and biological fluids. Rand now has a stake worth an estimated $1.3 million in Rheonix.

Rand also invested $100,000 in Mezmeriz Inc., an Ithaca company that develops microelectronic mechanical systems, almost doubling its stake in the firm.

Rand's shares closed down 5 cents, or 1.6 percent, at $3.01 on Monday.