12. Ascend Venture Group L.L.C.

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Founded by Darryl E. Wash in 2000, Ascend Venture Group L.L.C., is one of the nation’s leading private equity firms.  Since its inception, the New York City-based firm has managed $150 million in capital under management.

The firm focuses on mid-stage investments in applied technology and education industries. The firm’s portfolio companies in technology include Channel M, ITM Software Corp., and The News Market Inc. Education-based portfolio companies include Early Bird Learning, School Net Inc., and Tutor.com.