Larta Institute Fund Will Target Academia, Government

American Venture Magazine, May 17, 2007.

By BOOYEON LEE

LOS ANGELES BUSINESS JOURNAL STAFF

Larta Institute, which provides tech transfer services for governments, businesses and universities, recently launched a venture capital fund called T2 Venture Capital.

Headed by Victor Hwang and Greg Horowitt, Larta’s inaugural fund will invest primarily in startups born out of academia and government agencies. The firm did not disclose the size of the fund.

Hwang, former president of Larta, said the fund is already working on technology startups in Kansas, Florida, New York and internationally in New Zealand and Mexico.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity to connect the great sciences all over the world with capital and talent in Los Angeles,” Hwang said.

The nonprofit began in 1993 during a widespread decline in the defense industry to help rejuvenate the tech sector.

For more information on T2 Venture Capital, go to http://t2vc.com.

Two-Cent Stamp Giveaway

Stamps.com Inc. let first-time customers keep their two cents when the postage rate increased to 41 cents last week.

It was the perfect marketing opportunity for the Internet-based postage service provider. With stamp costs dominating the news cycle, the company announced that it would give away 2-cent sheets of stamps and ship them for free to 12,000 first-time customers.

And the LA-based company needs all the help it can get.

Last month, shares in the online retailer plummeted more than 15 percent after the company reported paltry earnings and dropped its 2007 forecast. During the first quarter, sales fell 3 percent to $20 million, dragged down by an 18-percent drop in its signature, personalized stamp product called PhotoStamps.

THQ Surges

Videogame developer THQ Inc. saw a 27 percent surge in net sales to $1 billion for fiscal year 2007, while its operational cash flow expanded by 50 percent.