3 LI companies snag $12M in venture funds

Jeff Leventhal, co-founder and chief executive of Work Jeff Leventhal, co-founder and chief executive of Work Market Inc. in Huntington. His company received $10 million in venture capital funds during the second quarter of 2013. (April 18, 2013) Photo Credit: Heather Walsh

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Venture capital began flowing again on Long Island this spring as three companies snagged upward of $12 million, marking the biggest windfall for local tech startups in the past year.

The three investments closed during the second quarter and cap a nine-month drought during which just two companies in Nassau and Suffolk counties received a total of only $2 million, according to a report published Thursday by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the National Venture Capital Association.

"The increase in early stage investing is an encouraging sign that entrepreneurs with innovative ideas can get the funding they need to succeed," said Mark McCaffrey, global technology partner and software leader at PwC U.S.

Long Island officials have long hoped the region's universities and research laboratories would give rise to high-tech startups to replace well-paying jobs lost in the decline of the aerospace industry. Investors, however, have been slow to fund local startups, leaving Long Island lagging behind other regions of the state in venture capital.

Most of the recent funding stems from the $10-million deal announced in May by Work Market Inc., a Huntington company that runs an online system for businesses to manage their freelance and contract workers. The investors included Softbank Capital of Newton, Mass., New York State's pension fund, Spark Capital of Boston and Union Square Ventures of Manhattan.

A second tech company, Parent Society, received $2.4 million from Greycroft Partners of Manhattan and an undisclosed firm. Launched in 2006, Parent Society runs a group of social networking and parenting websites, primarily for mothers. The company is based in Lynbrook, has an office in Manhattan and increased its staff in the last year from about 30 to 50, said Greg Byrnes, a co-founder.

The third investment went to IPVideo Corp. of Bay Shore, a company that produces video surveillance systems used by schools, corporations and government agencies. It received an undisclosed amount from Westbury Partners of Hauppauge.

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