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WASHINGTON, DC-Not too many businesses can hang out a shingle boasting the ability to lend $2.5 billion. That’s what the Washington, DC startup CapitalSource Holdings LLC says it can do, leveraging $540 million in equity commitments in an agreement with First Union Capital Partners.

CapitalSource was founded by two financing veterans: John Delaney, who started and last year sold HealthCare Financial Partners for $500 million, and Jason Fish, former general partner with Farallon Capital Management.Based in Washington, DC with offices in Boston, San Francisco and Philadelphia, the company aims to fund small and mid-sized companies that have trouble getting funding. Lenders have focused intensely on companies in hot industries like telecommunications and the Internet.

“Liquidity is much more narrow in its focus since late 1998,” when Russia defaulted on its debts and plunged financial markets into a tailspin around the globe, Delaney says in published reports.

They plan to make available senior and mezzanine debt vehicles worth $1 million to $40 million. It plans to finance national companies with $20 to $100 million in revenues, in targeted industries such as specialty real estate, retail, high tech, telecom and media. They chose these industries because they are all complicated and experience lots of change. That will require tracking trends, but that’s part of CapitalSource’s plan. The company plans to start out as a generalist then divide itself into industry-focused groups.

Co-lead investors in the company, which says it has the largest startup funding ever, include Farallon Capital Management and Madison Dearborn Partners. Other investors include First Union Capital Partners, an affiliate of First Union Corp., Friedman Fleischer & Lowe LLC; Highfields Capital Management; Och-Ziff Capital Management Group; and Rosewood Venture Group.

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