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First Tuesday, Yazam Announce Merger

[London, ENGLAND] Networking community for Internet entrepreneurs First Tuesday is to become the wholly owned subsidiary of seed-stage investor Yazam, the two companies announced Friday.

Originating in London, First Tuesday quickly became synonymous with the Internet revolution in the U.K., enabling entrepreneurs to meet with venture capitalists in a social setting on the first Tuesday of each month. It has expanded to offer a jobs forum with over 1,400 postings a month and has taken its meetings concept to over 85 cities globally.

Yazam, which recently raised $60 million to fund an aggressive international expansion, is established with offices in the U.K., U.S., Israel and Japan. It not only provides seed capital to start-up ventures but also offers various business development services to its portfolio companies.

Phil Garfinkle, Yazam's president, said the combined companies will create an entirely new platform to expand what he called "global entrepreneurialism."

The deal between the two parties does not, however, mean that all entrepreneurs who go to First Tuesday's events will be obliged to use Yazam's services. Garfinkle said other venture capital firms would be co-investing with Yazam.

Reade Fahs, First Tuesday's chief executive, said the merger was great news for the First Tuesday community and would result in tangible benefits for all its members.

"Investors will benefit from new alliances that help create more successful investments. Entrepreneurs will have more fertile ground on which to learn, grow, network, and create substantive relationships that will aid their success," said Fahs.

Yazam is backed by investments from JP Morgan, Merrill Lynch, Texas Pacific Group, Carlyle Internet Partners Europe, Apax Partners, Itochu International, the China Development Industrial Bank and personal investment from Charles Schwab.

With 80,000 members, First Tuesday will bring a lot of potential business to Yazam, especially as many of the members are still at the conceptual stage with their projects and are ideal targets for a seed capitalist.

To date, First Tuesday says that more than $130 million has been found for start-ups via the networking services it has provided. How much of this the entrepreneurs would have secured without First Tuesday is hard to determine, but the organization has certainly helped promote an entrepreneurial culture in the U.K. and elsewhere.

Among its growing list of events, First Tuesday now holds meetings specially for people involved in the mobile Internet. Inevitably, these events are called Wireless Wednesdays.