Maine’s venture capital fund invests $100K in Eliot digital marketing firm

By Whit Richardson, BDN Staff
Posted Feb. 18, 2013, at 7:08 p.m.

ELIOT, Maine — Maine’s Small Enterprise Growth Fund, the state’s venture capital fund, has invested $100,000 in an Eliot-based business that offers digital marketing technology to the convenience store and retail gas industries.

The company, Abierto Networks, “demonstrates the high growth potential and public benefit that the SEGF looks for in companies in Maine in which we invest,” Jayme Okma Lee, SEGF’s fund associate, said in a statement. “They show strong promise for sales growth and job creation. The company is an especially appealing SEGF investment because of its proven technology in an underserved market.”

Abierto Networks offers what it calls its “digital marketing platform,” which allows a convenience store or gas station to use technology to better target customers with point-of-sale advertising, and change in-store advertising depending on the time of day.

The company currently employs six people and expects to expand in 2013, according to the SEGF.

John Burns, SEGF’s fund manager, said Abierto is in the fund’s “sweet spot,” referring to investments in companies “with early revenue, tested technology and a strong growth plan.”

The SEGF’s investment is in the form of convertible debt and is part of a larger round of financing.

Rick Sales, Abierto Networks’ president, said he was pleased to become a member of SEGF’s portfolio of Maine companies.

“I chose to move Abierto to Maine because of the significant support the state offers entrepreneurial companies,” Sales said in a statement. “Programs such as the Maine Technology Institute, the Small Enterprise Growth Fund, and the Maine Seed Capital Tax Credit have all contributed and will continue to contribute to our success.”

The Maine Legislature created the SEGF in 1995. The fund has received $13 million in capital contributions from the state and operates as a revolving, “evergreen” fund.

http://bangordailynews.com/2013/02/18/business/maines-venture-capital-fund-invests-100k-in-eliot-digital-marketing-firm/ printed on April 24, 2014