Despite the millions of dollars being pumped into Internet venture deals, many small, nontechnology start-ups have been left out of the largess. Two Wall Street pros figure they can solve that problem. Neal Goldman, formerly of Lehman Brothers Inc., and Steven Turner, formerly of Bear Stearns & Co., have ventured into the high-tech world to connect private equity capital with emerging businesses. Their company, CapitalKey Advisors, was put together in 1998, but with the unveiling of its Web site, www.capitalkey.com, the company can now more easily reach emerging businesses and match them with equity sources.
"A Lehman Brothers or a big bank can't profitably work on a small transaction, because there is too much inherent cost involved," explains Goldman. "But by using technology, we have been able to rip the costs out of the process."
CapitalKey maintains a proprietary database of venture capital and private equity funds, allowing it to match investors with companies. Then, by using the Web, CapitalKey streamlines the investment banking process, providing small- business owners with a Web interface that provides advice and funding documents.
One of the companies on the receiving end of a CapitalKey match was Edison, N.J.-based Princeton Photo Network, a consolidator of special-event photo studios. It hooked up with the New York private equity firm Sagaponack Partners. Says Princeton Photo CEO David Bloom: "They did a nice job of getting meetings with firms that were interested in deals of our size."