Harris & Harris Group incorporated under the laws of the state of New York in August 1981. In 1983, we completed an initial public offering (“IPO”). In 1984, we divested all of our assets except Otisville BioTech, Inc., and became a financial services company with the investment in Otisville as the initial focus of our business activity.
In 1992, we registered as an investment company under the Investment Company Act of 1940, the “1940 Act”, commencing operations as a closed-end, non-diversified investment company. In 1995, we elected to become a BDC subject to the provisions of Sections 55 through 65 of the 1940 Act.
Harris & Harris Group has been investing in companies with proprietary technology since 1983. For most of our history, we were a very small firm that invested in and helped develop early stage businesses, particularly ones founded on proprietary intellectual property.
From 1983 through the present, ten of our portfolio companies completed public offerings.
We first became interested in nanotechnology in 1994, when we invested in Nanophase, which subsequently went public in 1997. In 2002, we focused our efforts investing in companies that were enabled at the nanoscale. Many of the disruptive scientific breakthroughs that are the basis of the transformative companies we build occur at the nanoscale. This focus permitted Harris & Harris Group to become a leader investing in this emerging space. Recent exits attest to our leadership position. Additionally, our interdisciplinary scientific backgrounds led us to identify interesting breakthroughs that were occurring ever more often at the intersection of different scientific disciplines.
In 2009, we began focusing more of our efforts on investments that occurred at the intersection of multiple scientific disciplines with biology being one of those disciplines. Our team, with scientific backgrounds in chemistry, biochemical engineering, physics, genetics and material science, is uniquely qualified to identify, diligence and invest in the intersection of biology with these other disciplines.
BIOLOGY+ has now become our distinctive approach to building high value life science companies.
We define our investment focus of BIOLOGY+ as investments in interdisciplinary life science companies where biology innovation is intersecting with innovations in areas such as electronics, physics, materials science, chemistry, information technology, engineering and mathematics. We focus on this intersection because we believe interdisciplinary innovation will be required in order to address many of the life science challenges of the future.