02 Sep Peak Ridge Capital makes first Wisconsin investments
Peak Ridge Capital Group, a private alternative asset management firm that manages more than $1 billion, has closed on its first three investments in Wisconsin.
The firm, which does not disclose the amounts of its investments, has committed capital to Frozen Codebase, a Green Bay video game developer; Broadjam, Inc., an online music service based in Madison; and Rapid Diagnostek, a developer of sensing devices that has moved from St. Paul, Minn. to Wisconsin’s Chippewa Valley region as part of a syndication deal.
The syndication involves Peak Ridge, NEW Capital Fund of Appleton, and other unidentified partners.
In each case, the commitment of funds was made to help the companies expand their operations and take advantage of lucrative markets in video games, online music, and the combination of markets targeted by Rapid Diagnostek, respectively.
After having made several investments elsewhere in the Midwest, the new investments mark its first deployment of capital in Wisconsin and the first from its Midwestern Fund. “We continue to see quite a bit of activity and opportunity in this region,” said Jason Smith, president of Peak Ridge Capital.
Regarding to Frozen Codebase, which is led by founder Ben Geisler, Smith said the firm’s interest is based on the quality and experience of management, the market space, and its ability to generate intellectual property in that market space.
With Broadjam, the market also was appealing. “We view the independent music online market as one that has evolved over the last five years, and something that shows a good deal of growth potential from now until at least the next three to five years,” he said.
Rapid Diagnostek has developed a patented sensing devise to quickly diagnose bacteria, viruses, spores, and disease markers. The potential size of the market for sensing devices, including Homeland Security, also drove Peak Ridge’s investment decision. “That would be one of several verticals that we would be looking at with regard to where this device could be used,” Smith said, “but we did see a number of verticals, I can tell you that.”
Peak Ridge Capital Group is a Boston-based firm active in hedge funds, real estate, and private equity. In late 2006, it opened an office in Madison to support investment opportunities in Wisconsin and the Midwest.
Peak Ridge recently opened a downtown Madison office, and added angel group manager James Hanke to its staff. Hanke previously organized and managed three angel investing networks in Wisconsin, including Badger AgVest, and he served as an economic development director for the City of Wausau.
The firm also has offices in Canada and Bermuda.
“As the president of a global equity firm, I enjoy being able to turn the national and international eyeballs to the direction of what’s going on in Wisconsin,” said Smith, a native of Superior, Wis.
For strategic reasons, Smith said the firm prefers to operate below the radar, declining to discuss the parameters of the investment fund and terms of individual investments. “There are private equity firms, and there are private, private equity firms, and we would fall in the latter category,” he said.