Exclusive: MMV Financial in trouble

Jul 18, 2011

A venture debt provider stops writing new business.

MMV Financial looks like it’s on the ropes.

Fortune has learned that the Toronto-based venture debt provider has closed its three U.S. offices, laid off its U.S. staff and stopped writing new business. Seems that the overheated niche market – which has been flooded by commercial banks with lower costs of capital – has become prohibitively competitive.

“We feel that it is not prudent, or in our investors’ best interest, to write new business because of market conditions,” says MMV co-founder and CEO Minhas Mohamed, when reached via telephone. “We’ll continue to manage our portfolio from Canada."

When asked if MMV ever plans to write new business again, Mohamed was noncommittal.

The closed offices were in Silicon Valley, New York and Reston, Virginia.

MMV was formed in 2004 to provide growth capital to emerging tech and life sciences companies throughout North America. Its management had worked on a previous venture debt platform backed by GATX Corp. (gmt), while the new effort was backed by a group of Canadian banks, private equity groups and pension funds. Sources have told me that one of MMV's larger investors exercised a put option on the company due to ROI concerned, but Mohamed insisted that such speculation is unfounded.

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