Ignition’s Brad Silverberg Says No Company Split, Just Different Funds

Xconomy reported yesterday that Bellevue, WA-based Ignition Partners has split into separate management organizations with the formation of downtown Seattle-based Ignition Capital, which is focused on growth-stage and private equity investments. Reached by e-mail, Ignition Partners co-founder Brad Silverberg says that Ignition is still one firm, with three complementary funds.

That’s despite the fact that on its website, Ignition Capital calls itself “a premier private equity firm located in Seattle, Washington driven by the mission of building and expanding a select group of highly profitable, long term businesses that occupy significant positions in their industries.” (Ignition Capital has not responded to e-mails and a phone message.)

“Ignition Capital is part of Ignition,” Silverberg said via e-mail. “Like many firms, we have multiple funds to focus on different opportunities. At Ignition, we have three affiliate funds: venture, growth (capital), and China. All the growth partners who were part of venture funds 1-3 continue to be part of those funds and manage their fund 1-3 companies. Their new investments are in later stage, growth opportunities, while venture focuses on early stage deals.”

Silverberg elaborated a bit on the origin of the growth-stage fund, which looks to invest in companies that have been around for a few years and need more capital to grow from venture-backed startups into mid-sized, established companies. “During our fund 3, we raised an annex fund to be able to pursue growth stage investments. That worked out well so a few of the partners decided to focus on such opportunities. In the latter half of 2007 we concurrently raised venture fund 4 and a growth fund. So there’s no news here. There is a common management company, while each fund then manages its own investments. One firm, multiple funds, each focused on a complementary opportunity, similar to other firms.”

According to Washington’s Secretary of State website, Ignition Growth Management incorporated as an LLC in September 2007, listing governing members as Richard Tong, John Zagula, Jon Anderson, and Robert Headley. At the same time, Ignition Ventures Management incorporated as a separate LLC, listing governing members as Headley, Silverberg, Steve Hooper, and Cameron Myhrvold. The first Ignition-related entity listed on the site, Ignition Corp., was incorporated in March 2000, and included the names of nine governing members (including Tong, Anderson, Silverberg, Hooper, and Myhrvold).

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