The first things I noticed were the ski vests. “Green for those with dough,” explained Charlie Kireker of FreshTracks Capital, “and blue for those looking for dough.” For two hours, blue vests would ride up the chairlift making sales pitches to green vests.
The Vermont Teddy Bear Co., which sells stuffed bears,
flowers and food over the Internet, is going private. In a deal valued at
$50 million, an investment group lead by Mustang Group LLC of Boston
will own the company.
In 2002 an estimated $12.2 million in venture capital flowed to companies in the state, according to a survey conducted by FreshTracks Capital in Middlebury where Cross is managing director.
Charlie Kireker, who began FreshTracks in 2001 with Cairn Cross, said they usually provide “second stage” financing, once a business is up and running and ready to expand.
Through formation of a new venture capital fund here in Vermont, we expect to help improve upon this low ranking, and thus lift out state closer to New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Connecticut, which all rank in the venture capital top 20 nationally.
FreshTracks Capital, L.P. in Middlebury has finished raising money for an early-stage venture capital fund with access to $20 million for investment primarily in Vermont companies and occasionally in other parts of the Northeast.
FreshTracks Capital L.P. will invest up to $2 million in early stage growth companies in such sectors as software, medical and biotechnology, telecommunications and wireless/network infrastructure, consumer product and media, said fund co-founder Cairn Cross.
Kireker and his partner Cairn Cross believe that venture capitalists are overlooking companies worthy of investment. And evidently, so do Village Ventures, Middlebury College, and a slew of other institutional and individual investors.