AUSTIN-A group of high-profile investors marks its third year by forming a limited partnership to pour $64 million into a high-tech venture capital fund, a deal that comes just a month after it invested $500,000 into a $12-million round for Isochron Data Corp., an Austin wireless software maker.

Convergent Investors VI LP is comprised of Jimmy Mansour, Brian Smith and Willard Hanzlik, all in Austin, while its Houston-based general partners are John Chaney, Robert Gauntt and Steve Shaper. A seventh general partner, Henry James, is based in Seattle. Mansour is a founder of two independent telecommunications companies; Smith, co-founder and CEO of Crossroads Systems Inc.; Hanzlik, a private investor and former principal of The Sterling Group; Chaney and Shaper, founders and CEOs of Telecheck Inc.; Gauntt, a principal in Morgan Stanley & Co.; and James, a former general partner of Goldman Sachs & Co.

Convergent associate Chris Yeoman told that it’s uncertain how much more money will become available in the future to support the venture capital program. The funding, mostly doled out to Austin-based businesses, targets firms “with a unique idea, patent or whatever.” The group, says Yeoman, started out three years ago as “a loose association of private investors … we’re now formalized as a working fund.”

He says the source of most of Convergent’s deals have been in Austin, Dallas or Houston, but a few investments have been made in out-of-state operations, including GT Group Telecom, a Canadian telecommunications company now headquartered in Toronto. To date, Convergent has invested in 11 early-stage operations, six of which are the Austin-based startups of BroadJump Inc., Nepliance Inc., Chicory Systems Inc., Grande Communications Inc., Nanoscale Engineering and Technology Group Inc. and Zebra Imaging Inc.

Yeoman says the investment group started pooling its money as the state become more deeply entwined in the nation’s high-tech industry. “Texas has really been budding… in Austin, the Telecom Corridor in Richardson (a Dallas suburb) and Houston,” he told The limited partnership favors companies that serve rapidly growing and large-scale markets or those with developing intellectual properties with innovative far-reaching technologies.

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