- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 11, 2001

The Washington area will soonbe home to a second venture capitalfirm from Israel, one with deeproots in the United States.

Portview Communications Part-ners, run by two American emigresto Israel, plans to open an officeeither in Northern Virginia or theDistrict within the next two weeks.The company is already looking fordeals in the telecommunications in-frastructure sector, says SandyRoskes, the firm's representative inWashington.

"We really needed an office inthe United States," says Mr. Roskes,an American who is returning tothe area after a multiyear hiatus inIsrael. "We've been coming here alot, and now is the time."

Portview considered puttingdown American roots in California,but rejected that option in light ofthe lengthy flights and nine-hourtime difference with Israel. Theother option was Boston, but Por-tview opted for this region in lightof its focus on communications.

Portview arrives in the area witha pocket full of money. The firmclosed on a $61 million venturefund in September, money gar-nered largely from European in-vestors, some Americans and a"tiny bit" from Israelis, Mr. Roskessays.

The firm's motto, on its Web siteand repeated numerous times byMr. Roskes, is "TCB things car-riers buy." It has already invested,for example, in a Massachusettscompany, Mintera Corp., that man-ufactures light-based transmissionequipment, and another in Califor-nia, Quicksilver Technology, thatmakes chips for wireless technol-ogy.

Portview has chosen a "chal-lenging" time to jump into the tele-communications area, Mr. Roskesconcedes. The Washington area hasseen a forest fire of failures in thesector over the past year, with localgiants like PSINet and Teligentstruggling to stay afloat.

"At least we raised our fund at afortuitous time," Mr. Roskes says.

Portview hopes to carve out aniche by offering its portfolio com-panies a crack at the Europeanmarket. The founders of Portview,Robin Hacke and Julie Kunstler,developed contacts there throughtheir Israeli advisory firm, HKCatalyst Strategy and Finance.

"Our strong selling point to theU.S. companies is our trans-Atlantic play," Mr. Roskes says.

Portview will be a relatively tinyplayer in the Washington area, andone without the level of experiencein venture capital that the giants inthe field have, Mr. Roskes con-cedes. The firm has been investingfor only three years through asmaller fund, though HK Catalysthas sold advisory services for thebetter part of a decade.

"It's not the same level of experi-ence as others, but we're not com-peting as a Washington-area fund,"says Mr. Roskes, formerly an engi-neering consultant. "We're not go-ing head-to-head with the big play-ers either."

Portview is the fourth foreignventure capital firm to land in theregion, and the second from Israel,after Reston-based Yazam. Areaventure capitalists, such asFriedman, Billings, Ramsey, havealso cultivated links in other coun-tries, including Israel.

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