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Nevada venture capital investments continue to disappoint

Venture capital activity in America increased modestly in 2013, but investor interest mostly skipped Las Vegas and Nevada. It’s the second straight year of lackluster venture capital activity in a state struggling to expand its technology sector.

Venture capitalists invested $9.6 million in three Nevada companies in 2013, new data released by the National Venture Capital Association show. That’s slightly more than the $7.09 million invested in 2012 in four companies.

Las Vegas-based iStreamPlanet Co., a telecommunications company, raised the region’s largest venture capital investment with two deals valued at $8 million. Intel Capital Corp., Juniper Networks Inc. and QuestMark Partners LP provided iStreamPlanet’s capital.

Not Safe For Work Corp., a Las Vegas media and entertainment company, raised $920,000 in two rounds last year from an undisclosed investor and Base Ventures.

CrowdHall LLC, also a Las Vegas-based media and entertainment company, raised $700,000 from three undisclosed investors plus Vegas TechFund, Vine Street Ventures LLC and Social Starts LLC.

Nevada still trails its neighbors in attracting venture capital.

In Arizona, 25 deals were funded in 2013, totaling $113.29 million. Venture capitalists funded 34 deals in Utah with a value of $314.9 million. California tops the list with 1,599 deals funded for more than $14.65 billion in 2013, the association said.

Nationally, venture capitalists invested $29.4 billion in 3,995 deals in 2013, an increase of 7 percent in dollars and a 4 percent rise in deals from 2012.

“The fourth quarter and 2013 year-end numbers show that there is a lot of energy around Internet-specific companies and stronger interests in biotechnology,” said Bobby Franklin, president and CEO of Washington, D.C.-based association. “We are hearing that this optimism is being fueled by a strong exit market, an improved economy, and as always, innovative entrepreneurs.”

Software companies accounted for more than one-third of all venture capital investing in 2013, the association said. That was followed by biotechnology and media and entertainment, the annual survey found.

Talmer closes Bank of LV purchase

Bank of Las Vegas has been purchased by a bank holding company backed by billionaire investor Wilbur Ross.

Tamler Bancorp Inc., of Troy, Mich., recently closed acquisition of the remaining assets of Capitol Bancorp Ltd., which had owned Bank of Las Vegas, a Jan. 10 filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission shows.

The WL Ross Funds own approximately 24.1 percent of the bank’s outstanding stock. In 2010 and 2012 private placements, WL Ross Funds acquired more than 16.5 million shares of common stock and warrants for $95.4 million.

The WL Ross Funds include WLR Recovery Fund IV L.P. and WLR IV Parallel ESC.

Bank of Las Vegas was one of four Capitol banks acquired by Talmer, the SEC filing said. Talmer also bought Capitol’s Michigan Commerce Bank, Indiana Community Bank and Sunrise Bank of Albuquerque.

Talmer is looking to dominate banking in the Midwest, and it’s unclear what it will do with its banks in Las Vegas and Albuquerque, N.M. Talmer said although it acquired five branches in Nevada and New Mexico “that are outside our target market,” 12 of the branches acquired “fit squarely within our target markets.”

“We will evaluate our long-term strategy with respect to the branches acquired in Nevada and New Mexico in light of our Midwest regional bank focus,” the filing said.

Bank of Las Vegas operates four branches in Las Vegas and Henderson.

Talmer’s SEC filing details its plans to raise $230 million in an initial public offering, which is expected to occur before the end of February. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods and J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. are handling the IPO.

The price per share and number of shares to be offered have yet to be determined.

Talmer started out as First Michigan Bank in Troy with one branch and $90 million in assets. Since April 2010, Talmer completed six bank acquisitions, with the company reporting $4.7 billion in assets and $2.9 billion in deposits, the SEC filing said.

In its SEC filing, Talmer said the company has a “goal of creating a leading banking franchise in the Midwestern United States through organic growth and acquisitions of other banks.”

As of Sept. 30, Talmer had assets of about $4.7 billion, the SEC filing said.


The Credit Union National Administration announced a new CUNA Payments Roundtable in conjunction with the CUNA Technology Council. Details and registration for the event, set for May 5 and 6 in the Las Vegas Valley, are available at

The CUNA Payments Roundtable was developed to provide attendees with an in-depth look at the future of payments systems. Speakers from the industry will present differing perspectives on payment systems and offer their advice on how credit unions can stay prepared for the upcoming changes.

“This round table will act as more of a meeting of the minds than a conference or school,” said James Carrick, associate vice president of CPD Learning Events at CUNA.

Discussion topics will include: six things that will change the future of payments; the rapidly evolving mobile payment landscape; and Bitcoin: what it is and why it’s gaining interest.