Peregrine Ventures

Specialty: Technology start-ups

Capital Under Management: $66.5 million

Amount Invested in 1996: $3 million

Peregrine Ventures has found its niche in traditional venture capital financing, with only a general industry focus and a preference for early-stage companies.

"If you talk about a personality, ours is classic venture capital as opposed to narrowly defined niches that other people get into," said Peregrine General Partner Gene Miller.

Indeed, when other venture capital firms are focusing on specific areas such as software or biotech, Peregrine has invested in companies that range from a tool shed producer to a maker of multimedia graphics editing equipment.

One of the firm's most successful ventures was Quarterdeck Corp. a computer software firm in Marina del Rey that became one of L.A.'s leading software producers before falling on bad times last year.

"They're not doing too well now, but we got out of them" when the company was still booming, Miller said.

With offices in L.A. and Cupertino, Peregrine is currently investing funds from its second venture fund, Peregrine Ventures II, which was formed in 1984 with $25 million in capital. Most of that money came from pension funds and insurance companies, Miller said.

Miller is the sole partner in Peregrine's L.A. office, while two other partners are in the Northern California office.

Miller estimates that 90 percent of Peregrine's investments are still in technology-related firms, and between 60 percent and 65 percent of those are in California.

"What might differentiate us from other venture capital firms is we don't demand that (the companies we invest in) have an initial public offering in their plans. We need to have an exit vehicle, but not necessarily an IPO," he said.

Douglas Young

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