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Rand Capital’s investments grew 2 percent in second quarter

The value of Rand Capital Corp.’s investments grew by 2 percent during the second quarter as the Buffalo venture capital firm made new investments totalling $4 million in seven companies.

Rand executives said the second quarter was one of the busiest they can remember for new investments.

“Having completed seven investments for $4 million-plus in a quarter is a lot of investment activity for any fund,” said Daniel Penberthy, Rand’s executive vice president.

Rand had the cash to invest, in part, because of its successful investment in Buffalo-based health exchange operator Liazon, which was acquired last year by consulting firm Towers Watson. That deal yielded Rand a $6 million profit on its $1 million investment and left the venture capital firm with more than $7 million in cash.

The flurry of spring investments cut Rand’s cash stash almost in half, to $4 million. Those investments included previously announced deals that pumped $1.25 million into call center operator Teleservices Solutions Holdings and $600,000 into Buffalo molecular diagnostics company Empire Genomics.

Rand also made five deals that involved pumping additional money into companies where it already held an ownership stake. Those included:

• $750,000 in SocialFlow Inc., a New York City company that monitors activity on social networks to help users determine the best time to advertise or publish content.

• $500,000 in SciAps, a Woburn, Mass., company that makes hand-held analytical instruments used in field testing.

• $479,200 in Knoa Software, a New York City software firm as part of a new round of fundraising that brought in $5.1 million. At the same time Rand was pumping more money into the company, it wrote down the value of its investment by 29 percent.

• $350,000 in, a Saratoga Springs company that makes human resources software.

• $150,000 in Mercantile Adjustment Bureau, a Williamsville collections agency.

Overall, the value of Rand’s investments grew to $28.4 million, or $4.43 per share, at the end of June, up from $27.9 million, or $4.35 per share, at the end of March.

Part of the increase came from a $1.2 million rise in the valuation of Binoptics, an Ithaca company that makes optoelectronic components that are used by transceiver and transponder manufacturers. Binoptics sales and profits have hit record highs in recent quarters, said Pete Grum, Rand’s president.