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Network Formed to Help Tech Corridor Get Funds

Network Formed to Help Tech Corridor Get Funds By CARLOS MARTINEZ Staff Reporter A Northern California-based investment banker, Randy Williams, has formed an angel investor network in Thousand Oaks. “We see a lot of emerging growth companies around the Tech 101 Corridor especially and that means great investment opportunities,” Williams said. Unlike an investment fund, Keiretsu Forum has no fund manager and is made up of its membership committee and a company screening committee. “Each member invests his or her money, and we merely provide the resources and assistance to make investment decisions,” Williams said. Brent Reinke, director of the law firm Reed Smith Crosby Heafey’s Westlake Village office, which is helping organize the group, said demand for a local angel network has been growing in recent years. “I was going to start my own angel network because there is a need, but when I talked to Randy and what he was doing, it got me interested in helping him come down here,” Reinke said. Ronald Burr, co-founder of Netzero and partner of capital investment firm Westlake Venture Partners in Westlake Village, said he’s eager to join the group after meeting with Williams recently. “Looking at it from an entrepreneur’s point of view, I can really sympathize with the inefficiencies of getting capital so I can see the benefit in the network,” Burr said. Likewise, David Cremin, managing director of DFJ Frontier Fund, said he plans to join the network to help local companies. “This area has been underserved by venture capital,” he said. Williams’ Keiretsu Forum was established in September 2000 in Northern California. Its members funded 22 companies with $20.8 million in funding over the past two years. Keiretsu is a Japanese term that means a network of businesses that own stakes in one another.

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