Laguna Beach-based venture capital firm Okapi Ventures, which is run by Sharon Stevenson and Marc Averitt, has seen its first portfolio exit, in Carlsbad-based Helixis. Okapi said that the first exit represented a return of more than six times the invseted capital in the firm, which it first invested in less than three years ago. San Diego-based Illumina announced its acquisition of Helixis yesterday, saying it would pay $105M for the firm. Helixis is a developer of real time, DNA analysis hardware, which was originally developed with technology licensed from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech).
"This was a dream deal--truly excellent, innovative technology addressing a real market need, world class scientific founders from Cal Tech, imaginative focused results oriented management team led by experienced CEO and a solid investor syndicate," says Sharon Stevenson, Managing Director at Okapi, in an interview with socalTECH discussing the deal. Okapi's other investments include RF Nano, My Damn Channel, Transaction Wireless, OrthAlign, SecondVoice, and Obalon Therapeutics. The venture firm closed its first fund, Okapi Ventures I, LP, in 2006.