10-K 1 htgc-10k_20141231.htm 10-K

 

 

UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

 

FORM 10-K

 

(Mark One)

x

ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15 (d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2014

OR

¨

TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15 (d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the transition period from        to        

Commission File No. 814-00702

 

Hercules Technology Growth Capital, Inc.

(Exact name of Registrant as specified in its charter)

 

 

Maryland

 

74-3113410

(State or other jurisdiction of

incorporation or organization)

 

(I.R.S. Employer

Identification Number)

400 Hamilton Avenue, Suite 310

Palo Alto, California 94301

(Address of principal executive offices)

(650) 289-3060

(Registrant’s telephone number, including area code)

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:

Title of each class

 

Name of each exchange on which registered

Common Shares, par value $0.001 per share

7.00% Notes due 2019

7.00% Notes due 2019

6.25% Notes due 2024

 

New York Stock Exchange

New York Stock Exchange

New York Stock Exchange

New York Stock Exchange

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.     Yes  ¨    No  x

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Act.     Yes  ¨    No  x

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days:    Yes  x    No  ¨

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically and posted on its corporate Web site, if any, every Interactive Data File required to be submitted and posted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit and post such files).    Yes  ¨    No  ¨

Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of registrant’s knowledge, in definitive proxy or information statements incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10-K or any amendment to this Form 10-K.  x

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, or a non-accelerated filer. See definition of “accelerated filer, large accelerated filer” and “smaller reporting company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act. (Check one):

Large accelerated filer  x             Accelerated filer  ¨            Non-accelerated filer  ¨            Smaller reporting company  ¨

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act).    Yes  ¨    No   x

The aggregate market value of the voting and non-voting common stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant as of the last business day of the registrant’s most recently completed second fiscal quarter was approximately $970.5 million based upon a closing price of $16.16 reported for such date on the New York Stock Exchange. Common shares held by each executive officer and director and by each person who owns 5% or more of the outstanding common shares have been excluded in that such persons may be deemed to be affiliates. This determination of affiliate status is not intended and shall not be deemed to be an admission that, such persons are affiliates of the Registrant.

On February 26, 2015, there were 64,707,137 shares outstanding of the registrant’s common stock, $0.001 par value.

DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE

Documents incorporated by reference: Portions of the registrant’s Proxy Statement for its 2015 Annual Meeting of Shareholders to be filed within 120 days after the close of the registrant’s year end are incorporated by reference into Part III of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

 

 

 


 

HERCULES TECHNOLOGY GROWTH CAPITAL, INC.

FORM 10-K

ANNUAL REPORT

 

 

 

Page

 

Part I.

 

Item 1.

Business

3

Item 1A.

Risk Factors

25

Item 1B.

Unresolved SEC Staff Comments

57

Item 2.

Properties

57

Item 3.

Legal Proceedings

57

Item 4.

Mine Safety Disclosures

57

 

 

Part II.

 

 

Item 5.

 

Market for the Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

58

Item 6.

Selected Consolidated Financial Data

62

Item 7.

Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

63

Item 7A.

Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosure About Market Risk

103

Item 8.

Financial Statements and Supplementary Data

104

Item 9.

Changes in and Disagreements with Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure

170

Item 9A.

Controls and Procedures

170

Item 9B.

Other Information

171

 

 

Part III.

 

 

Item 10.

 

Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance

172

Item 11.

Executive Compensation

172

Item 12.

Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters

172

Item 13.

Certain Relationships and Related Transactions and Director Independence

172

Item 14.

Principal Accountant Fees and Services

172

 

 

Part IV.

 

 

Item 15.

 

Exhibits and Financial Statement Schedules

173

Signatures

180

 

Hercules Technology Growth Capital, Inc., our logo and other trademarks of Hercules Technology Growth Capital, Inc. are the property of Hercules Technology Growth Capital, Inc. All other trademarks or trade names referred to in this Annual Report on Form 10-K are the property of their respective owners.

 

 

 

 


 

In this Annual Report on Form 10-K, or Annual Report, the “Company,” “HTGC,” “we,” “us” and “our” refer to Hercules Technology Growth Capital, Inc. and its wholly owned subsidiaries and its affiliated securitization trusts unless the context otherwise requires.

PART I

Item 1.

Business

GENERAL

We are a specialty finance company focused on providing senior secured loans to venture capital-backed companies in technology-related industries, including technology, biotechnology, life science, and energy and renewables technology at all stages of development. We source our investments through our principal office located in Palo Alto, CA, as well as through our additional offices in Boston, MA, New York, NY, and McLean, VA.

Our goal is to be the leading structured debt financing provider for venture capital-backed companies in technology-related industries requiring sophisticated and customized financing solutions. Our strategy is to evaluate and invest in a broad range of technology-related industries including technology, biotechnology, life science, and energy and renewables technology and to offer a full suite of growth capital products. We invest primarily in structured debt with warrants and, to a lesser extent, in senior debt and equity investments. We invest primarily in private companies but also have investments in public companies.

We use the term “structured debt with warrants” to refer to any debt investment, such as a senior or subordinated secured loan, that is coupled with an equity component, including warrants, options or rights to purchase common or preferred stock. Our structured debt with warrants investments typically are secured by some or all of the assets of the portfolio company.

Our investment objective is to maximize our portfolio total return by generating current income from our debt investments and capital appreciation from our equity-related investments. Our primary business objectives are to increase our net income, net operating income and net asset value by investing in structured debt with warrants and equity of venture capital-backed companies in technology-related industries with attractive current yields and the potential for equity appreciation and realized gains. Our equity ownership in our portfolio companies may exceed 25% of the voting securities of such companies, which represents a controlling interest under the  Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended, or the 1940 Act. In some cases, we receive the right to make additional equity investments in our portfolio companies in connection with future equity financing rounds. Capital that we provide directly to venture capital-backed companies in technology-related industries is generally used for growth and general working capital purposes as well as in select cases for acquisitions or recapitalizations.

We also make investments in qualifying small businesses through our two wholly-owned small business investment companies, or SBICs. Our SBIC subsidiaries, Hercules Technology II, L.P., or HT II, and Hercules Technology III, L.P., or HT III, hold approximately $150.5 million and $314.8 million in assets, respectively, and accounted for approximately 9.1% and 19.1% of our total assets, respectively, prior to consolidation at December 31, 2014. As of December 31, 2014, the maximum statutory limit on the dollar amount of combined outstanding Small Business Administration, or SBA, guaranteed debentures is $225.0 million, subject to periodic adjustments by the SBA. At December 31, 2014, we have issued $190.2 million in SBA-guaranteed debentures in our SBIC subsidiaries. See “— Regulation—Small Business Administration Regulations” for additional information regarding our SBIC subsidiaries.

We regularly engage in discussions with third parties with respect to various potential transactions. We may acquire an investment or a portfolio of investments or an entire company or sell a portion of our portfolio on an opportunistic basis. We, our subsidiaries or our affiliates may also agree to manage certain other funds that invest in debt, equity or provide other financing or services to companies in a variety of industries for which we may earn management or other fees for our services. We may also invest in the equity of these funds, along with other third parties, from which we would seek to earn a return and/or future incentive allocations. Some of these transactions could be material to our business. Consummation of any such transaction will be subject to completion of due diligence, finalization of key business and financial terms (including price) and negotiation of final definitive documentation as well as a number of other factors and conditions including, without limitation, the approval of our board of directors and required regulatory or third party consents and, in certain cases, the approval of our stockholders. Accordingly, there can be no assurance that any such transaction would be consummated. Any of these transactions or funds may require significant management resources either during the transaction phase or on an ongoing basis depending on the terms of the transaction.

3


 

CORPORATE HISTORY AND OFFICES

We are a Maryland corporation formed in December 2003 that began investment operations in September 2004. We are an internally managed, non-diversified closed-end investment company that has elected to be regulated as a business development company under the  1940 Act. As a business development company, we are required to comply with certain regulatory requirements. For instance, we generally have to invest at least 70% of our total assets in “qualifying assets,” including securities of private U.S. companies, cash, cash equivalents, U.S. government securities and high-quality debt investments that mature in one year or less. A business development company also must meet a coverage ratio of total net assets to total senior securities, which include all of our borrowings (including accrued interest payable) except for debentures issued by the SBA and any preferred stock we may issue in the future, of at least 200% subsequent to each borrowing or issuance of senior securities. See “—Regulation as a Business Development Company—.”

Our portfolio is comprised of, and we anticipate that our portfolio will continue to be comprised of, investments primarily in technology-related companies at various stages of their development. Consistent with regulatory requirements, we invest primarily in United States based companies and, to a lesser extent, in foreign companies.

We focus our investments in companies active in the technology industry sub-sectors characterized by products or services that require advanced technologies, including, but not limited to, computer software and hardware, networking systems, semiconductors, semiconductor capital equipment, information technology infrastructure or services, internet consumer and business services, telecommunications, telecommunications equipment, renewable or alternative energy, media and life science. Within the life science sub-sector, we generally focus on medical devices, bio-pharmaceutical, drug discovery, drug delivery, health care services and information systems companies. Within the energy technology sub-sector, we focus on sustainable and renewable energy technologies and energy efficiency and monitoring technologies. We refer to all of these companies as “technology-related” companies and intend, under normal circumstances, to invest at least 80% of the value of our assets in such businesses

Effective January 1, 2006, we elected to be treated for tax purposes as a regulated investment company, or RIC, under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, or the Code. Pursuant to this election, we generally will not have to pay corporate-level taxes on any income that we distribute to our stockholders. However, our qualification and election to be treated as a RIC requires that we comply with provisions contained in the Code. For example, as a RIC we must receive 90% or more of our income from qualified earnings, typically referred to as “good income,” as well as satisfy asset diversification and income distribution requirements. As an investment company, we follow accounting and reporting guidance as set forth in Accounting Standards Codification (“ASC”) 946.

Our principal executive offices are located at 400 Hamilton Avenue, Suite 310, Palo Alto, California 94301, and our telephone number is (650) 289-3060. We also have offices in Boston, MA, New York, NY and McLean, VA. We maintain a website on the Internet at www.htgc.com. Information contained on our website is not incorporated by reference into this Annual Report on Form 10-K, and you should not consider that information to be part of this Annual Report.

We file annual, quarterly and current periodic reports, proxy statements and other information with the Securities and Exchange Commission, or SEC, under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, which we refer to as the Exchange Act. This information is available at the SEC’s public reference room at 100 F Street, N.E., Washington, D.C. 20549. You may obtain information about the operation of the SEC’s public reference room by calling the SEC at (202) 551-8090. In addition, the SEC maintains an Internet website, at www.sec.gov, that contains reports, proxy and information statements, and other information regarding issuers, including us, who file documents electronically with the SEC.


4


 

OUR MARKET OPPORTUNITY

We believe that technology-related companies compete in one of the largest and most rapidly growing sectors of the U.S. economy and that continued growth is supported by ongoing innovation and performance improvements in technology products as well as the adoption of technology across virtually all industries in response to competitive pressures. We believe that an attractive market opportunity exists for a specialty finance company focused primarily on investments in structured debt with warrants in technology- related companies for the following reasons:

·

Technology-related companies have generally been underserved by traditional lending sources;

·

Unfulfilled demand exists for structured debt financing to technology-related companies as the number of lenders has declined due to the recent financial market turmoil; and

·

Structured debt with warrants products are less dilutive and complement equity financing from venture capital and private equity funds.

Technology-Related Companies are Underserved by Traditional Lenders. We believe many viable technology-related companies backed by financial sponsors have been unable to obtain sufficient growth financing from traditional lenders, including financial services companies such as commercial banks and finance companies because traditional lenders have continued to consolidate and have adopted a more risk-averse approach to lending. More importantly, we believe traditional lenders are typically unable to underwrite the risk associated with these companies effectively.

The unique cash flow characteristics of many technology-related companies typically include significant research and development expenditures and high projected revenue growth thus often making such companies difficult to evaluate from a credit perspective. In addition, the balance sheets of these companies often include a disproportionately large amount of intellectual property assets, which can be difficult to value. Finally, the speed of innovation in technology and rapid shifts in consumer demand and market share add to the difficulty in evaluating technology-related companies.

Due to the difficulties described above, we believe traditional lenders generally refrain from entering the structured debt financing marketplace, instead preferring the risk-reward profile of asset based lending. Traditional lenders generally do not have flexible product offerings that meet the needs of technology-related companies. The financing products offered by traditional lenders typically impose on borrowers many restrictive covenants and conditions, including limiting cash outflows and requiring a significant depository relationship to facilitate rapid liquidation.

Unfulfilled Demand for Structured Debt Financing to Technology-Related Companies. Private debt capital in the form of structured debt financing from specialty finance companies continues to be an important source of funding for technology-related companies. We believe that the level of demand for structured debt financing is a function of the level of annual venture equity investment activity.

We believe that demand for structured debt financing is currently underserved. The venture capital market for the technology-related companies in which we invest has been active and is continuing to show signs of increased investment activity. Therefore, to the extent we have capital available, we believe this is an opportune time to be active in the structured lending market for technology-related companies.

Structured Debt with Warrants Products Complement Equity Financing From Venture Capital and Private Equity Funds. We believe that technology-related companies and their financial sponsors will continue to view structured debt securities as an attractive source of capital because it augments the capital provided by venture capital and private equity funds. We believe that our structured debt with warrants product provides access to growth capital that otherwise may only be available through incremental investments by existing equity investors. As such, we provide portfolio companies and their financial sponsors with an opportunity to diversify their capital sources. Generally, we believe technology-related companies at all stages of development target a portion of their capital to be debt in an attempt to achieve a higher valuation through internal growth. In addition, because financial sponsor-backed companies have reached a more mature stage prior to reaching a liquidity event, we believe our investments could provide the debt capital needed to grow or recapitalize during the extended period prior to liquidity events.

5


 

OUR BUSINESS STRATEGY

Our strategy to achieve our investment objective includes the following key elements:

Leverage the Experience and Industry Relationships of Our Management Team and Investment Professionals. We have assembled a team of experienced investment professionals with extensive experience as venture capitalists, commercial lenders, and originators of structured debt and equity investments in technology-related companies. Our investment professionals have, on average, more than 15 years of experience as equity investors in, and/or lenders to, technology-related companies. In addition, our team members have originated structured debt, debt with warrants and equity investments in over 313 technology-related companies, representing over $4.9 billion in commitments from inception to December 31, 2014, and have developed a network of industry contacts with investors and other participants within the venture capital and private equity communities. In addition, members of our management team also have operational, research and development and finance experience with technology-related companies. We have established contacts with leading venture capital and private equity fund sponsors, public and private companies, research institutions and other industry participants, which should enable us to identify and attract well-positioned prospective portfolio companies.

We concentrate our investing activities generally in industries in which our investment professionals have investment experience. We believe that our focus on financing technology-related companies will enable us to leverage our expertise in structuring prospective investments, to assess the value of both tangible and intangible assets, to evaluate the business prospects and operating characteristics of technology-related companies and to identify and originate potentially attractive investments with these types of companies.

Mitigate Risk of Principal Loss and Build a Portfolio of Equity-Related Securities. We expect that our investments have the potential to produce attractive risk-adjusted returns through current income, in the form of interest and fee income, as well as capital appreciation from equity-related securities. We believe that we can mitigate the risk of loss on our debt investments through the combination of loan principal amortization, cash interest payments, relatively short maturities, security interests in the assets of our portfolio companies, and on select investment covenants requiring prospective portfolio companies to have certain amounts of available cash at the time of our investment and the continued support from a venture capital or private equity firm at the time we make our investment.

Historically our structured debt investments to technology-related companies typically include warrants or other equity interests, giving us the potential to realize equity-like returns on a portion of our investment. In addition, in some cases, we receive the right to make additional equity investments in our portfolio companies, including the right to convert some portion of our debt into equity, in connection with future equity financing rounds. We believe these equity interests will create the potential for meaningful long-term capital gains in connection with the future liquidity events of these technology-related companies.

Provide Customized Financing Complementary to Financial Sponsors’ Capital. We offer a broad range of investment structures and possess expertise and experience to effectively structure and price investments in technology-related companies. Unlike many of our competitors that only invest in companies that fit a specific set of investment parameters, we have the flexibility to structure our investments to suit the particular needs of our portfolio companies. We offer customized financing solutions ranging from senior debt to equity capital, with a focus on structured debt with warrants.

We use our relationships in the financial sponsor community to originate investment opportunities. Because venture capital and private equity funds typically invest solely in the equity securities of their portfolio companies, we believe that our debt investments will be viewed as an attractive and complimentary source of capital, both by the portfolio company and by the portfolio company’s financial sponsor. In addition, we believe that many venture capital and private equity fund sponsors encourage their portfolio companies to use debt financing for a portion of their capital needs as a means of potentially enhancing equity returns, minimizing equity dilution and increasing valuations prior to a subsequent equity financing round or a liquidity event.

Invest at Various Stages of Development. We provide growth capital to technology-related companies at all stages of development, including select publicly listed companies and select special opportunity lower middle market companies that require additional capital to fund acquisitions, recapitalizations and refinancings and established-stage companies. We believe that this provides us with a broader range of potential investment opportunities than those available to many of our competitors, who generally focus their investments on a particular stage in a company’s development. Because of the flexible structure of our investments and the extensive experience of our investment professionals, we believe we are well positioned to take advantage of these investment opportunities at all stages of prospective portfolio companies’ development.

6


 

Benefit from Our Efficient Organizational Structure. We believe that the perpetual nature of our corporate structure enables us to be a long-term partner for our portfolio companies in contrast to traditional investment funds, which typically have a limited life. In addition, because of our access to the equity markets, we believe that we may benefit from a lower cost of capital than that available to private investment funds. We are not subject to requirements to return invested capital to investors nor do we have a finite investment horizon. Capital providers that are subject to such limitations are often required to seek a liquidity event more quickly than they otherwise might, which can result in a lower overall return on an investment.

Deal Sourcing Through Our Proprietary Database. We have developed a proprietary and comprehensive structured query language-based (SQL) database system to track various aspects of our investment process including sourcing, originations, transaction monitoring and post-investment performance. As of December 31, 2014, our proprietary SQL-based database system included approximately 42,000 technology-related companies and approximately 9,100 venture capital firms, private equity sponsors/investors, as well as various other industry contacts. This proprietary SQL system allows us to maintain, cultivate and grow our industry relationships while providing us with comprehensive details on companies in the technology-related industries and their financial sponsors.

OUR INVESTMENTS AND OPERATIONS

We principally invest in debt securities and, to a lesser extent, equity securities, with a particular emphasis on structured debt with warrants.

We generally seek to invest in companies that have been operating for at least six to 12 months prior to the date of our investment. We anticipate that such entities may, at the time of investment, be generating revenues or will have a business plan that anticipates generation of revenues within 24 to 48 months. Further, we anticipate that on the date of our investment we will generally obtain a lien on available assets, which may or may not include intellectual property, and these companies will have sufficient cash on their balance sheet to operate as well as potentially amortize their debt for at least three to nine months following our investment. We generally require that a prospective portfolio company, in addition to having sufficient capital to support leverage, demonstrate an operating plan capable of generating cash flows or raising the additional capital necessary to cover its operating expenses and service its debt, for an additional six to 12 months subject to market conditions.

We expect that our investments will generally range from $1.0 million to $40.0 million. We typically structure our debt securities to provide for amortization of principal over the life of the loan, but may include a period of interest-only payments. Our loans will be collateralized by a security interest in the borrower’s assets, although we may not have the first claim on these assets and the assets may not include intellectual property. Our debt investments carry fixed or variable contractual interest rates which generally ranged from the prevailing U.S. prime rate, or Prime or the LIBOR rate to approximately 14% as of December 31, 2014. As of December 31, 2014, 98.2% of our loans were at floating rates or floating rates with a floor and 1.8% of the loans were at fixed rates.

In addition to the cash yields received on our loans, in some instances, our loans generally include one or more of the following: end-of-term payments, exit fees, balloon payment fees, commitment fees, success fees or prepayment fees. In some cases our loans also include contractual payment-in-kind, or PIK, interest arrangements. The increases in loan balances as a result of contractual PIK arrangements are included in income for the period in which such PIK interest was accrued, which is often in advance of receiving cash payment, and are separately identified on our statements of cash flows. We also may be required to include in income for tax purposes certain other amounts prior to receiving the related cash.

In addition, the majority of our investments in the structured debt of venture capital-backed companies generally have equity enhancement features, typically in the form of warrants or other equity-related securities designed to provide us with an opportunity for potential capital appreciation. The warrants typically will be immediately exercisable upon issuance and generally will remain exercisable for the lesser of five to ten years or three to five years after completion of an initial public offering. The exercise prices for the warrants varies from nominal exercise prices to exercise prices that are at or above the current fair market value of the equity for which we receive warrants. We may structure warrants to provide minority rights provisions or on a very select basis put rights upon the occurrence of certain events. We generally target a total annualized return (including interest, fees and value of warrants) of 12% to 25% for our debt investments.

7


 

Typically, our structured debt and equity investments take one of the following forms:

·

Structured Debt with Warrants. We seek to invest a majority of our assets in structured debt with warrants of prospective portfolio companies. Traditional structured debt financing is a layer of high-coupon financing between debt and equity that most commonly takes the form of subordinated debt coupled with warrants, combining the cash flow and risk characteristics of both senior debt and equity. However, our investments in structured debt with warrants may be the only debt capital on the balance sheet of our portfolio companies, and in many cases we have a first priority security interest in all of our portfolio company’s assets, or in certain investments we may have a negative pledge on intellectual property. Our structured debt with warrants typically have maturities of between two and seven years, and they may provide for full amortization after an interest only period. Our structured debt with warrants generally carry a contractual interest rate between the prevailing U.S. prime rate, or Prime or the LIBOR rate and approximately 14% and may include an additional end-of-term payment or contractual PIK interest arrangements. In most cases we collateralize our investments by obtaining security interests in our portfolio companies’ assets, which may include their intellectual property. In other cases we may prohibit a company from pledging or otherwise encumbering their intellectual property. We may structure our structured debt with warrants with restrictive affirmative and negative covenants, default penalties, prepayment penalties, lien protection, equity calls, change-in-control provisions or board observation rights.

·

Senior Debt. We seek to invest a limited portion of our assets in senior debt. Senior debt may be collateralized by accounts receivable and/or inventory financing of prospective portfolio companies. Senior debt has a senior position with respect to a borrower’s scheduled interest and principal payments and holds a first priority security interest in the assets pledged as collateral. Senior debt also may impose covenants on a borrower with regard to cash flows and changes in capital structure, among other items. We generally collateralize our investments by obtaining security interests in our portfolio companies’ assets, which may include their intellectual property. In other cases we may obtain a negative pledge covering a company’s intellectual property. Our senior loans, in certain instances, may be tied to the financing of specific assets. In connection with a senior debt investment, we may also provide the borrower with a working capital line-of-credit that will carry an interest rate ranging from Prime or LIBOR plus a spread with a floor, generally maturing in one to three years, and will be secured by accounts receivable and/or inventory.

·

Equipment Loans. We intend to invest a limited portion of our assets in equipment-based loans to early-stage prospective portfolio companies. Equipment-based loans are secured by a first priority security interest in only the specific assets financed. These loans are generally for amounts up to $3.0 million but may be up to $15.0 million for certain energy technology venture investments, carry a contractual interest rate between Prime and Prime plus 9.0%, and have an average term between three and four years. Equipment loans may also include end of term payments.

·

Equity-Related Securities. The equity-related securities we hold consist primarily of warrants or other equity interests generally obtained in connection with our structured debt investments. In addition to the warrants received as a part of a structured debt financing, we typically receive the right to make equity investments in a portfolio company in connection with that company’s next round of equity financing. We may also on certain debt investments have the right to convert a portion of the debt investment into equity. These rights will provide us with the opportunity to further enhance our returns over time through opportunistic equity investments in our portfolio companies. These equity-related investments are typically in the form of preferred or common equity and may be structured with a dividend yield, providing us with a current return, and with customary anti-dilution protection and preemptive rights. We may achieve liquidity through a merger or acquisition of a portfolio company, a public offering of a portfolio company’s stock or by exercising our right, if any, to require a portfolio company to buy back the equity-related securities we hold. We may also make stand-alone direct equity investments into portfolio companies in which we may not have any debt investment in the company. As of December 31, 2014, we held equity related securities in 143 portfolio companies.

8


 

A comparison of the typical features of our various investment alternatives is set forth in the chart below.

 

 

 

Structured debt with warrants

 

 

Senior Debt

 

 

Equipment Loans

 

 

Equity related Securities

 

Typical Structure

 

Term debt with warrants

 

 

Term or revolving debt

 

 

Term debt with warrants

 

 

Preferred stock or common stock

 

 

Investment Horizon

 

Long-term, ranging from 2 to 7 years, with an average of 3 years

 

 

Usually under 3 years

 

 

Ranging from 3 to 4 years

 

 

Ranging from 3 to 7 years

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ranking/Security

 

Senior secured, either first out or last out, or second lien

 

 

Senior/First lien

 

 

Secured only by underlying equipment

 

 

None/unsecured

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Covenants

 

Less restrictive; Mostly financial

 

 

Generally borrowing base and financial

 

 

None

 

 

None

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Risk Tolerance

 

Medium/High

 

 

Low

 

 

High

 

 

High

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coupon/Dividend

 

Cash pay—fixed and floating rate; PIK in limited cases

 

 

Cash pay—floating or fixed rate

 

 

Cash pay-floating or fixed rate and may include PIK

 

 

Generally none

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Customization or Flexibility

 

More flexible

 

 

Little to none

 

 

Little to none

 

 

Flexible

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Equity Dilution

 

Low to medium

 

 

None to low

 

 

Low

 

 

High

 

 

Investment Criteria  

We have identified several criteria, among others, that we believe are important in achieving our investment objective with respect to prospective portfolio companies. These criteria, while not inclusive, provide general guidelines for our investment decisions.

Portfolio Composition. While we generally focus our investments in venture capital-backed companies in technology-related industries, we seek to diversify across various financial sponsors as well as across various stages of companies’ development and various technology industry sub-sectors and geographies. As of December 31, 2014, approximately 60.7% of the fair value of our portfolio was composed of investments in four industries: 26.2% was composed of investments in the drug discovery and development industry, 13.5% was composed of investments in the medical devices and equipment industry, 12.3% was composed of investments in the software industry and 8.7% was composed of investments in the drug delivery industry.

Continuing Support from One or More Financial Sponsors. We generally invest in companies in which one or more established financial sponsors have previously invested and continue to make a contribution to the management of the business. We believe that having established financial sponsors with meaningful commitments to the business is a key characteristic of a prospective portfolio company. In addition, we look for representatives of one or more financial sponsors to maintain seats on the Board of Directors of a prospective portfolio company as an indication of such commitment.

Company Stage of Development. While we invest in companies at various stages of development, we generally require that prospective portfolio companies be beyond the seed stage of development and generally have received or anticipate having commitments for their first institutional round of equity financing for early stage companies. We expect a prospective portfolio company to demonstrate progress in its product development or demonstrate a path towards revenue generation or increase its revenues and operating cash flow over time. The anticipated growth rate of a prospective portfolio company is a key factor in determining the value that we ascribe to any warrants or other equity securities that we may acquire in connection with an investment in debt securities.

Operating Plan. We generally require that a prospective portfolio company, in addition to having potential access to capital to support leverage, demonstrate an operating plan capable of generating cash flows or the ability to potentially raise the additional capital necessary to cover its operating expenses and service its debt for a specific period. Specifically, we require that a prospective portfolio company demonstrate at the time of our proposed investment that it has cash on its balance sheet, or is in the process of completing a financing so that it will have cash on its balance sheet, sufficient to support its operations for a minimum of six to 12 months.

Security Interest. In many instances we seek a first priority security interest in all of the portfolio companies’ tangible and intangible assets as collateral for our debt investment, subject in some cases to permitted exceptions. In other cases we may obtain a negative pledge prohibiting a company from pledging or otherwise encumbering their intellectual property. Although we do not intend to operate as an asset-based lender, the estimated liquidation value of the assets, if any, collateralizing the debt securities that we hold is an important factor in our credit analysis and subject to assumptions that may change over the life of the investment especially when attempting to estimate the value of intellectual property. We generally evaluate both tangible assets, such as accounts receivable, inventory and equipment, and intangible assets, such as intellectual property, customer lists, networks and databases.

9


 

Covenants. Our investments may include one or more of the following covenants: cross-default, or material adverse change provisions, require the portfolio company to provide periodic financial reports and operating metrics and will typically limit the portfolio company’s ability to incur additional debt, sell assets, dividend recapture, engage in transactions with affiliates and consummate an extraordinary transaction, such as a merger or recapitalization without our consent. In addition, we may require other performance or financial based covenants, as we deem appropriate.

Exit Strategy. Prior to making a debt investment that is accompanied by an equity-related security in a prospective portfolio company, we analyze the potential for that company to increase the liquidity of its equity through a future event that would enable us to realize appreciation in the value of our equity interest. Liquidity events may include an initial public offering, a private sale of our equity interest to a third party, a merger or an acquisition of the company or a purchase of our equity position by the company or one of its stockholders.

Investment Process

We have organized our management team around the four key elements of our investment process:

·

Origination;

·

Underwriting;

·

Documentation; and

·

Loan and Compliance Administration.

Our investment process is summarized in the following chart:

Origination

The origination process for our investments includes sourcing, screening, preliminary due diligence and deal structuring and negotiation, all leading to an executed non-binding term sheet. As of December 31, 2014, our investment origination team, which consists of approximately 39 investment professionals, is headed by our Chief Investment Officer and our Chief Executive Officer. The origination team is responsible for sourcing potential investment opportunities and members of the investment origination team use their extensive relationships with various leading financial sponsors, management contacts within technology-related companies, trade sources, technology conferences and various publications to source prospective portfolio companies. Our investment origination team is divided into special opportunity lower middle market, technology, energy technology, and life science sub-teams to better source potential portfolio companies.

10


 

In addition, we have developed a proprietary and comprehensive SQL-based database system to track various aspects of our investment process including sourcing, originations, transaction monitoring and post-investment performance. This proprietary SQL system allows our origination team to maintain, cultivate and grow our industry relationships while providing our origination team with comprehensive details on companies in the technology-related industries and their financial sponsors.

If a prospective portfolio company generally meets certain underwriting criteria, we perform preliminary due diligence, which may include high level company and technology assessments, evaluation of its financial sponsors’ support, market analysis, competitive analysis, identify key management, risk analysis and transaction size, pricing, return analysis and structure analysis. If the preliminary due diligence is satisfactory, and the origination team recommends moving forward, we then structure, negotiate and execute a non-binding term sheet with the potential portfolio company. Upon execution of a term sheet, the investment opportunity moves to the underwriting process to complete formal due diligence review and approval.

Underwriting

The underwriting review includes formal due diligence and approval of the proposed investment in the portfolio company.

Due Diligence. Our due diligence on a prospective investment is typically completed by two or more investment professionals whom we define as the underwriting team. The underwriting team for a proposed investment consists of the deal sponsor who typically possesses general industry knowledge and is responsible for originating and managing the transaction, other investment professional(s) who perform due diligence, credit and corporate financial analyses and, as needed, our legal professionals. To ensure consistent underwriting, we generally use our standardized due diligence methodologies, which include due diligence on financial performance and credit risk as well as an analysis of the operations and the legal and applicable regulatory framework of a prospective portfolio company. The members of the underwriting team work together to conduct due diligence and understand the relationships among the prospective portfolio company’s business plan, operations and financial performance.

As part of our evaluation of a proposed investment, the underwriting team prepares an investment memorandum for presentation to the investment committee. In preparing the investment memorandum, the underwriting team typically interviews select key management of the company and select financial sponsors and assembles information necessary to the investment decision. If and when appropriate, the investment professionals may also contact industry experts and customers, vendors or, in some cases, competitors of the company.

Approval Process. The sponsoring managing director or principal presents the investment memorandum to our investment committee for consideration. The approval of a majority of our investment committee and an affirmative vote by our Chief Executive Officer is required before we proceed with any investment. The members of our investment committee are our Chief Executive Officer, our Chief Financial Officer, and our Chief Investment Officer. The investment committee generally meets weekly and more frequently on an as-needed basis.

Documentation

Our documentation group, administers the documentation process for our investments. This group is responsible for documenting the transactions approved by our investment committee with a prospective portfolio company. This group negotiates loan documentation and, subject to appropriate approvals, final documents are prepared for execution by all parties. The documentation group generally uses the services of external law firms to complete the necessary documentation.

Loan and Compliance Administration

Our loan and compliance administration group, headed by our Chief Financial Officer and Chief Investment Officer, administers loans and tracks covenant compliance, if applicable, of our investments and oversees periodic reviews of our critical functions to ensure adherence with our internal policies and procedures. After funding of a loan in accordance with the investment committee’s approval, the loan is recorded in our loan administration software and our SQL-based database system. The loan and compliance administration group is also responsible for ensuring timely interest and principal payments and collateral management as well as advising the investment committee on the financial performance and trends of each portfolio company, including any covenant violations that occur, to aid us in assessing the appropriate course of action for each portfolio company and evaluating overall portfolio quality. In addition, the loan and compliance administration group advises the investment committee and the Audit Committee of our Board of Directors, accordingly, regarding the credit and investment grading for each portfolio company as well as changes in the value of collateral that may occur.

11


 

The loan and compliance administration group monitors our portfolio companies in order to determine whether the companies are meeting our financing criteria and their respective business plans and also monitors the financial trends of each portfolio company from its monthly or quarterly financial statements to assess the appropriate course of action for each company and to evaluate overall portfolio quality. In addition, our management team closely monitors the status and performance of each individual company through our SQL-based database system and periodic contact with our portfolio companies’ management teams and their respective financial sponsors.

Credit and Investment Grading System. Our loan and compliance administration group uses an investment grading system to characterize and monitor our outstanding loans. Our loan and compliance administration group monitors and, when appropriate, recommends changes to investment grading. Our investment committee reviews the recommendations and/or changes to the investment grading, which are submitted on a quarterly basis to the Audit Committee and our Board of Directors for approval.

From time to time, we will identify investments that require closer monitoring or become workout assets. We develop a workout strategy for workout assets and our investment committee monitors the progress against the strategy. We may incur losses from our investing activities, however, we work with our troubled portfolio companies in order to recover as much of our investments as is practicable, including possibly taking control of the portfolio company. There can be no assurance that principal will be recovered.

We use the following investment grading system approved by our Board of Directors:

Grade 1.

Loans involve the least amount of risk in our portfolio. The borrower is performing above expectations, and the trends and risk profile is generally favorable.

Grade 2.

The borrower is performing as expected and the risk profile is neutral to favorable. All new loans are initially graded 2.

Grade 3.

The borrower may be performing below expectations, and the loan’s risk has increased materially since origination. We increase procedures to monitor a borrower that may have limited amounts of cash remaining on the balance sheet, is approaching its next equity capital raise within the next three to six months, or if the estimated fair value of the enterprise may be lower than when the loan was originated. We will generally lower the loan grade to a level 3 even if the company is performing in accordance to plan as it approaches the need to raise additional cash to fund its operations. Once the borrower closes its new equity capital raise, we may increase the loan grade back to grade 2 or maintain it at a grade 3 as the company continues to pursue its business plan.

Grade 4.

The borrower is performing materially below expectations, and the loan risk has substantially increased since origination. Loans graded 4 may experience some partial loss or full return of principal but are expected to realize some loss of interest which is not anticipated to be repaid in full, which, to the extent not already reflected, may require the fair value of the loan to be reduced to the amount we anticipate will be recovered. Grade 4 investments are closely monitored.

Grade 5.

The borrower is in workout, materially performing below expectations and a significant risk of principal loss is probable. Loans graded 5 will experience some partial principal loss or full loss of remaining principal outstanding is expected. Grade 5 loans will require the fair value of the loans be reduced to the amount, if any, we anticipate will be recovered.

At December 31, 2014, our investments had a weighted average investment grading of 2.24.

Managerial Assistance

As a business development company, we are required to offer, and provide upon request, managerial assistance to our portfolio companies. This assistance could involve, among other things, monitoring the operations of our portfolio companies, participating in board and management meetings, consulting with and advising officers of portfolio companies and providing other organizational and financial guidance. We may, from time to time, receive fees for these services. In the event that such fees are received, they are incorporated into our operating income and are passed through to our shareholders, given the nature of our structure as an internally managed business development company. See “—Regulation—Significant Managerial Assistance” for additional information.

12


 

COMPETITION

Our primary competitors provide financing to prospective portfolio companies and include non-bank financial institutions, federally or state chartered banks, venture debt funds, financial institutions, venture capital funds, private equity funds, investment funds and investment banks. Many of these entities have greater financial and managerial resources than we have, and the 1940 Act imposes certain regulatory restrictions on us as a business development company to which many of our competitors are not subject. However, we believe that few of our competitors possess the expertise to properly structure and price debt investments to venture capital-backed companies in technology-related industries. We believe that our specialization in financing technology-related companies will enable us to determine a range of potential values of intellectual property assets, evaluate the business prospects and operating characteristics of prospective portfolio companies and, as a result, identify investment opportunities that produce attractive risk-adjusted returns. For additional information concerning the competitive risks we face, see “Item 1A. Risk Factors—Risks Related to our Business and Structure—We operate in a highly competitive market for investment opportunities, and we may not be able to compete effectively.”

BROKERAGE ALLOCATIONS AND OTHER PRACTICES

Because we generally acquire and dispose of our investments in privately negotiated transactions, we typically do not use brokers in the normal course of business. However, from time to time, we may work with brokers to sell positions we have acquired in the securities of publicly listed companies or to acquire positions (principally equity) in companies where we see a market opportunity to acquire such securities at attractive valuations. In cases where we do use a broker, we do not execute transactions through any particular broker or dealer, but will seek to obtain the best net results for Hercules, taking into account such factors as price (including the applicable brokerage commission or dealer spread), size of order, difficulty of execution, and operational facilities of the firm and the firm’s risk and skill in positioning blocks of securities. While we generally seek reasonably competitive execution costs, we may not necessarily pay the lowest spread or commission available. Subject to applicable legal requirements, we may select a broker based partly upon brokerage or research services provided to us. In return for such services, we may pay a higher commission than other brokers would charge if we determine in good faith that such commission is reasonable in relation to the services provided.

EMPLOYEES

As of December 31, 2014, we had 65 employees, including approximately 39 investment and portfolio management professionals, all of whom have extensive experience working on financing transactions for technology-related companies.

REGULATION

The following discussion is a general summary of the material prohibitions and descriptions governing business development companies. It does not purport to be a complete description of all of the laws and regulations affecting business development companies.

A business development company primarily focuses on investing in or lending to private companies and making managerial assistance available to them, while providing its stockholders with the ability to retain the liquidity of a publicly-traded stock. The 1940 Act contains prohibitions and restrictions relating to transactions between business development companies and their directors and officers and principal underwriters and certain other related persons and requires that a majority of the directors be persons other than “interested persons,” as that term is defined in the 1940 Act. In addition, the 1940 Act provides that we may not change the nature of our business so as to cease to be, or to withdraw our election as, a business development company unless approved by a majority of our outstanding voting securities. A majority of the outstanding voting securities of a company is defined under the 1940 Act as the lesser of: (i) 67% or more of such company’s shares present at a meeting if more than 50% of the outstanding shares of such company are present or represented by proxy, or (ii) more than 50% of the outstanding shares of such company.

13


 

Qualifying Assets

Under the 1940 Act, a business development company may not acquire any asset other than assets of the type listed in Section 55(a) of the 1940 Act, which are referred to as qualifying assets, unless, at the time the acquisition is made, qualifying assets represent at least 70% of the company’s total assets. The principal categories of qualifying assets relevant to our proposed business are the following:

(1)

Securities purchased in transactions not involving any public offering from the issuer of such securities, which issuer (subject to certain limited exceptions) is an eligible portfolio company, or from any person who is, or has been during the preceding 13 months, an affiliated person of an eligible portfolio company, or from any other person, subject to such rules as may be prescribed by the SEC. An eligible portfolio company is defined in the 1940 Act as any issuer which:

(a)

is organized under the laws of, and has its principal place of business in, the United States;

(b)

is not an investment company (other than a small business investment company wholly owned by the business development company) or a company that would be an investment company but for certain exclusions under the 1940 Act; and

(c)

does not have any class of securities listed on a national securities exchange; or if it has securities listed on a national securities exchange such company has a market capitalization of less than $250 million; is controlled by the business development company and has an affiliate of a business development company on its board of directors; or meets such other criteria as may be established by the SEC.

(2)

Securities purchased in a private transaction from a U.S. issuer that is not an investment company or from an affiliated person of the issuer, or in transactions incident thereto, if the issuer is in bankruptcy and subject to reorganization or if the issuer, immediately prior to the purchase of its securities was unable to meet its obligations as they came due without material assistance other than conventional lending or financing arrangements.

(3)

Securities of an eligible portfolio company purchased from any person in a private transaction if there is no ready market for such securities and we already own 60% of the outstanding equity of the eligible portfolio company.

(4)

Securities received in exchange for or distributed on or with respect to securities described in (1) through (4) above, or pursuant to the exercise of warrants or rights relating to such securities.

(5)

Cash, cash equivalents, U.S. Government securities or high-quality debt securities maturing in one year or less from the time of investment.

Control, as defined by the 1940 Act, is presumed to exist where a business development company beneficially owns more than 25% of the outstanding voting securities of the portfolio company.

We do not intend to acquire securities issued by any investment company that exceed the limits imposed by the 1940 Act. Under these limits, we generally cannot acquire more than 3% of the voting stock of any investment company (as defined in the 1940 Act), invest more than 5% of the value of our total assets in the securities of one such investment company or invest more than 10% of the value of our total assets in the securities of such investment companies in the aggregate. With regard to that portion of our portfolio invested in securities issued by investment companies, it should be noted that such investments might subject our stockholders to additional expenses.

Significant Managerial Assistance

Business development companies generally must offer to make available to the issuer of the securities significant managerial assistance, except in circumstances where either (i) the business development company controls such issuer of securities or (ii) the business development company purchases such securities in conjunction with one or more other persons acting together and one of the other persons in the group makes available such managerial assistance. Making available significant managerial assistance means, among other things, any arrangement whereby the business development company, through its directors, officers or employees, offers to provide and, if accepted, does so provide, significant guidance and counsel concerning the management, operations or business objectives and policies of a portfolio company through monitoring of portfolio company operations, selective participation in board and management meetings, consulting with and advising a portfolio company’s officers or other organizational or financial guidance.

14


 

Temporary Investments

Pending investment in other types of qualifying assets, as described above, our investments may consist of cash, cash equivalents, U.S. government securities or high quality debt securities maturing in one year or less from the time of investment, which we refer to, collectively, as temporary investments, so that 70% of our assets are qualifying assets. Typically, we invest in U.S. treasury bills or in repurchase agreements, provided that such agreements are fully collateralized by cash or securities issued by the U.S. government or its agencies. A repurchase agreement involves the purchase by an investor, such as us, of a specified security and the simultaneous agreement by the seller to repurchase it at an agreed upon future date and at a price which is greater than the purchase price by an amount that reflects an agreed-upon interest rate. There is no percentage restriction on the proportion of our assets that may be invested in such repurchase agreements. However, if more than 25% of our total assets constitute repurchase agreements from a single counterparty, we would not meet the diversification tests imposed on us by the Code in order to qualify as a RIC for federal income tax purposes. Thus, we do not intend to enter into repurchase agreements with a single counterparty in excess of this limit. We will monitor the creditworthiness of the counterparties with which we enter into repurchase agreement transactions.

Warrants and Options

Under the 1940 Act, a business development company is subject to restrictions on the amount of warrants, options, restricted stock or rights to purchase shares of capital stock that it may have outstanding at any time. In particular, the amount of capital stock that would result from the conversion or exercise of all outstanding warrants, options or rights to purchase capital stock cannot exceed 25% of the business development company’s total outstanding shares of capital stock. This amount is reduced to 20% of the business development company’s total outstanding shares of capital stock if the amount of warrants, options or rights issued pursuant to an executive compensation plan would exceed 15% of the business development company’s total outstanding shares of capital stock. We have received exemptive relief from the SEC permitting us to issue stock options and restricted stock to our employees and directors subject to the above conditions, among others. For a discussion regarding the conditions of this exemptive relief, see “—Exemptive Relief” below and Note 7 to our consolidated financial statements.

Senior Securities; Coverage Ratio

We will be permitted, under specified conditions, to issue multiple classes of indebtedness and one class of stock senior to our common stock if our asset coverage, as defined in the 1940 Act, is at least equal to 200% immediately after each such issuance. In addition, we may not be permitted to declare any cash dividend or other distribution on our outstanding common shares, or purchase any such shares, unless, at the time of such declaration or purchase, we have asset coverage of at least 200% after deducting the amount of such dividend, distribution, or purchase price. We may also borrow amounts up to 5% of the value of our total assets for temporary or emergency purposes. For a discussion of the risks associated with the resulting leverage, see “Item 1A. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Our Business & Structure—Because we borrow money, there could be increased risk in investing in our company.”

Capital Structure

We are not generally able to issue and sell our common stock at a price below net asset value per share. We may, however, sell our common stock, at a price below the current net asset value of the common stock, or sell warrants, options or rights to acquire such common stock, at a price below the current net asset value of the common stock if our board of directors determines that such sale is in the best interests of the Company and our stockholders have approved the practice of making such sales.

Code of Ethics

We have adopted and will maintain a code of ethics that establishes procedures for personal investments and restricts certain personal securities transactions. Personnel subject to the code may invest in securities for their personal investment accounts, including securities that may be purchased or held by us, so long as such investments are made in accordance with the code’s requirements. Our code of ethics will generally not permit investments by our employees in securities that may be purchased or held by us. We may be prohibited under the 1940 Act from conducting certain transactions with our affiliates without the prior approval of our directors who are not interested persons and, in some cases, the prior approval of the SEC.

Our code of ethics is posted on our website at www.htgc.com and was filed with the SEC as an exhibit to the registration statement (Registration No. 333-122950) for our initial public offering. You may read and copy the code of ethics at the SEC’s Public Reference Room in Washington, D.C. You may obtain information on the operation of the Public Reference Room by calling the SEC at (202) 551-8090. In addition, the code of ethics is available on the EDGAR Database on the SEC’s Internet site at http://www.sec.gov. You may also obtain copies of the code of ethics, after paying a duplicating fee, by electronic request at the following e-mail address: publicinfo@sec.gov, or by writing the SEC’s Public Reference Section, 100 F Street, N.E., Washington, D.C. 20549.

15


 

Privacy Principles

We are committed to maintaining the privacy of our stockholders and safeguarding their non-public personal information. The following information is provided to help you understand what personal information we collect, how we protect that information and why, in certain cases, we may share information with select other parties.

Generally, we do not receive any non-public personal information relating to our stockholders, although certain non-public personal information of our stockholders may become available to us. We do not disclose any non-public personal information about our stockholders or former stockholders, except as permitted by law or as is necessary in order to service stockholder accounts (for example, to a transfer agent).

We restrict access to non-public personal information about our stockholders to our employees with a legitimate business need for the information. We maintain physical, electronic and procedural safeguards designed to protect the non-public personal information of our stockholders.

Proxy Voting Policies and Procedures

We vote proxies relating to our portfolio securities in the best interest of our stockholders. We review on a case-by-case basis each proposal submitted to a stockholder vote to determine its impact on the portfolio securities held by us. Although we generally vote against proposals that may have a negative impact on our portfolio securities, we may vote for such a proposal if there exists compelling long-term reasons to do so.

Our proxy voting decisions are made by our investment committee, which is responsible for monitoring each of our investments. To ensure that our vote is not the product of a conflict of interest, we require that: (i) anyone involved in the decision making process disclose to our Chief Compliance Officer any potential conflict that he or she is aware of and any contact that he or she has had with any interested party regarding a proxy vote; and (ii) employees involved in the decision making process or vote administration are prohibited from revealing how we intend to vote on a proposal in order to reduce any attempted influence from interested parties.

Exemptive Relief

On June 21, 2005, we filed a request with the SEC for exemptive relief to allow us to take certain actions that would otherwise be prohibited by the 1940 Act, as applicable to business development companies. Specifically, we requested that the SEC permit us to issue stock options to our non-employee directors as contemplated by Section 61(a)(3)(B)(i)(II) of the 1940 Act. On February 15, 2007, we received approval from the SEC on this exemptive request. In addition, in June 2007, we filed an amendment to the February 2007 order to adjust the number of shares issued to the non-employee directors. On October 10, 2007, we received approval from the SEC on this amended exemptive request.

On April 5, 2007, we received approval from the SEC on our request for exemptive relief that permits us to exclude the indebtedness of our wholly-owned subsidiaries that are small business investment companies from the 200% asset coverage requirement applicable to us.  

On May 2, 2007, we received approval from the SEC on our request for exemptive relief that permits us to issue restricted stock to our employees, officers and directors. On June 21, 2007, our shareholders approved amendments to the 2004 Equity Incentive Plan and 2006 Non-Employee Incentive Plan (collectively, the “Plans”) permitting such restricted grants. The maximum amount of shares that may be issued under the Plans will be 10% of the outstanding shares of our common stock on the effective date of the Plans plus 10% of the outstanding number of shares of our common stock issued or delivered by us (other than pursuant to compensation plans) during the term of the Plans. The amount of voting securities that would result from the exercise of all of our outstanding warrants, options, and rights, if any, together with any restricted stock issued pursuant to the Plans, at the time of issuance shall not exceed 25% of our outstanding voting securities, except that if such amount would exceed 15% of our outstanding voting securities, then the total amount of voting securities that would result from the exercise of all outstanding warrants, options, and rights, if any, together with any restricted stock issued pursuant to the Plans, at the time of issuance shall not exceed 20% of our outstanding voting securities.

On June 22, 2010 we received approval from the SEC on our request for exemptive relief that permits our employees to exercise their stock options and restricted stock and pay any related income taxes using a cashless exercise program.

16


 

In 2014, we and our affiliates filed an exemptive application with the SEC to permit greater flexibility to negotiate the terms of potential co-investments with us and our affiliates in a manner consistent with our investment objective, positions, policies, strategies and restrictions as well as regulatory requirements and other pertinent factors. This exemptive application is still pending, and there can be no assurance that we will receive exemptive relief from the SEC to permit us to co-invest with our affiliates. Under the terms of such relief permitting us to co-invest with our affiliates, a “required majority” (as defined in Section 57(o) of the 1940 Act) of our independent directors must make certain conclusions in connection with a co-investment transaction, including that (1) the terms of the transaction, including the consideration to be paid, are reasonable and fair to us and our stockholders and do not involve overreaching of us or our stockholders on the part of any person concerned and (2) the transaction is consistent with the interests of our shareholders and is consistent with our investment objective and strategies.

Other

We will be periodically examined by the SEC for compliance with the Exchange Act and the 1940 Act.

We are required to provide and maintain a bond issued by a reputable fidelity insurance company to protect us against larceny and embezzlement. Furthermore, as a business development company, we are prohibited from protecting any director or officer against any liability to our stockholders arising from willful misfeasance, bad faith, gross negligence or reckless disregard of the duties involved in the conduct of such person’s office.

We are required to adopt and implement written policies and procedures reasonably designed to prevent violation of the federal securities laws, review these policies and procedures annually for their adequacy and the effectiveness of their implementation. Our Chief Compliance Officer is responsible for administering these policies and procedures.

Small Business Administration Regulations

We make investments in qualifying small businesses through our two wholly-owned SBIC subsidiaries, HT II and HT III. With our net investments of $38.0 million and $74.5 million in HT II and HT III, respectively, we have the combined capacity to issue a total of $190.2 million of SBA guaranteed debentures, subject to SBA approval. At December 31, 2014, we have issued $190.2 million in SBA guaranteed debentures in our SBIC subsidiaries.

We intend to seek an additional SBIC license to ensure continued access to the maximum statutory limit of SBA guaranteed debentures under the SBIC program, which currently is $225.0 million for a group of SBICs under common control, subject to periodic adjustments by the SBA. We have formed Hercules Technology IV, L.P. for that purpose. There can be no assurance of when or if we will receive SBA approval for another SBIC license. In addition, legislation has been proposed that would increase the total SBIC leverage capacity for a group of SBICs under common control from $225.0 million to $350.0 million. However, the ultimate form and likely outcome of such legislation or any similar legislation cannot be predicted.

SBICs are designed to stimulate the flow of private equity capital to eligible small businesses. Under present SBA regulations, eligible small businesses include businesses that have a tangible net worth not exceeding $19.5 million and have average annual fully taxed net income not exceeding $6.5 million for the two most recent fiscal years. In addition, SBICs must devote 25.0% of its investment activity to “smaller” enterprises as defined by the SBA. A smaller enterprise is one that has a tangible net worth not exceeding $6.0 million and has average annual fully taxed net income not exceeding $2.0 million for the two most recent fiscal years. SBA regulations also provide alternative size standard criteria to determine eligibility, which depend on the industry in which the business is engaged and are based on such factors as the number of employees and gross sales. According to SBA regulations, SBICs may make long-term loans to small businesses, invest in the equity securities of such businesses and provide them with consulting and advisory services. Through our wholly-owned subsidiaries HT II and HT III, we plan to provide long-term loans to qualifying small businesses, and in connection therewith, make equity investments.

HT II and HT III are periodically examined and audited by the SBA’s staff to determine their compliance with SBA regulations. If HT II or HT III fails to comply with applicable SBA regulations, the SBA could, depending on the severity of the violation, limit or prohibit HT II’s or HT III’s use of debentures, declare outstanding debentures immediately due and payable, and/or limit HT II or HT III from making new investments. In addition, HT II or HT III may also be limited in their ability to make distributions to the Company if they do not have sufficient capital in accordance with SBA regulations. Such actions by the SBA would, in turn, negatively affect the Company because HT II and III are our wholly owned subsidiaries. HT II and HT III were in compliance with the terms of the SBIC’s leverage as of December 31, 2014 as a result of having sufficient capital as defined under the SBA regulations.

HT II and HT III hold approximately $150.5 million and $314.8 million in assets, respectively, and accounted for approximately 9.1% and 19.1% of our total assets prior to consolidation at December 31, 2014.

17


 

The SBA restricts the ability of SBICs to repurchase their capital stock. SBA regulations also include restrictions on a “change of control” or transfer of an SBIC and require that SBICs invest idle funds in accordance with SBA regulations. In addition, HT II and HT III may also be limited in their ability to make distributions to us if they do not have sufficient capital, in accordance with SBA regulations.

Our SBIC subsidiaries are subject to regulation and oversight by the SBA, including requirements with respect to maintaining certain minimum financial ratios and other covenants. Receipt of an SBIC license does not assure that our SBIC subsidiaries will receive SBA guaranteed debenture funding, which is dependent upon our SBIC subsidiaries continuing to be in compliance with SBA regulations and policies. The SBA, as a creditor, will have a superior claim to our SBIC subsidiaries’ assets over our stockholders in the event we liquidate our SBIC subsidiaries or the SBA exercises its remedies under the SBA-guaranteed debentures issued by our SBIC subsidiaries upon an event of default.

CERTAIN UNITED STATES FEDERAL INCOME TAX CONSIDERATIONS

The following discussion is a general summary of certain material U.S. federal income tax considerations relating to our qualification and taxation as a RIC and the acquisition, ownership and disposition of our preferred stock or common stock, but does not purport to be a complete description of the income tax considerations relating thereto.

Election to be Taxed as a RIC

Through December 31, 2005, we were subject to Federal income tax as an ordinary corporation under subchapter C of the Code. Effective beginning on January 1, 2006 we met the criteria specified below to qualify as a RIC, and elected to be treated as a RIC under Subchapter M of the Code with the filing of our federal income tax return for 2006. As a RIC, we generally will not have to pay corporate taxes on any income we distribute to our stockholders as dividends, which allows us to reduce or eliminate our corporate level tax. On December 31, 2005, immediately before the effective date of our RIC election, we held assets with “built-in gain,” which are assets whose fair market value as of the effective date of the election exceeded their tax basis as of such date. We elected to recognize all of our net built-in gains at the time of the conversion and paid tax on the built-in gain with the filing of our 2005 federal income tax return. In making this election, we marked our portfolio to market at the time of our RIC election and paid approximately $294,000 in income tax on the resulting gains.

Taxation as a Regulated Investment Company

For any taxable year in which we:

·

qualify as a RIC; and  

·

distribute at least 90% of our net ordinary income and realized net short-term gains in excess of realized net long-term capital losses, if any (the “Annual Distribution Requirement”); we generally will not be subject to federal income tax on the portion of our investment company taxable income and net capital gain (i.e., net realized long-term capital gains in excess of net realized short-term capital losses) we distribute (or are deemed to distribute) to stockholders with respect to that year. As described above, we made the election to recognize built-in gains as of the effective date of our election to be treated as a RIC and therefore will not be subject to built-in gains tax when we sell those assets. However, if we subsequently acquire built-in gain assets from a C corporation in a carryover basis transaction, then we may be subject to tax on the gains recognized by us on dispositions of such assets unless we make a special election to pay corporate-level tax on such built-in gain at the time the assets are acquired. We will be subject to U.S. federal income tax at the regular corporate rates on any income or capital gains not distributed (or deemed distributed) to our stockholders.


18


 

In order to qualify as a RIC for federal income tax purposes and obtain the tax benefits of RIC status, in addition to satisfying the Annual Distribution Requirement, we must, among other things:

·

have in effect at all times during each taxable year an election to be regulated as a business development company under the 1940 Act;

·

derive in each taxable year at least 90% of our gross income from (a) dividends, interest, payments with respect to certain securities loans, gains from the sale of stock or other securities, or other income derived with respect to our business of investing in such stock or securities and (b) net income derived from an interest in a “qualified publicly traded partnership” (the “90% Income Test”); and diversify our holdings so that at the end of each quarter of the taxable year:

·

at least 50% of the value of our assets consists of cash, cash equivalents, U.S. government securities, securities of other RICs, and other securities if such other securities of any one issuer do not represent more than 5% of the value of our assets or more than 10% of the outstanding voting securities of such issuer; and

·

no more than 25% of the value of our assets is invested in (i) securities (other than U.S. government securities or securities of other RICs) of one issuer, (ii) securities of two or more issuers that are controlled, as determined under applicable tax rules, by us and that are engaged in the same or similar or related trades or businesses or (iii) securities of one or more “qualified publicly traded partnerships” (the “Diversification Tests”).

Under applicable Treasury regulations and certain private rulings issued by the Internal Revenue Service, RICs are permitted to treat certain distributions payable in up to 80% in their stock, as taxable dividends that will satisfy their annual distribution obligations for federal income tax and excise tax purposes provided that shareholders have the opportunity to elect to receive the distribution in cash. Taxable stockholders receiving such dividends will be required to include the full amount of the dividend as ordinary income (or as long-term capital gain to the extent such distribution is properly designated as a capital gain dividend) to the extent of our current and accumulated earnings and profits for United States federal income tax purposes. As a result, a U.S. stockholder may be required to pay tax with respect to such dividends in excess of any cash received. If a U.S. stockholder sells the stock it receives as a dividend in order to pay this tax, the sales proceeds may be less than the amount included in income with respect to the dividend, depending on the market price of our stock at the time of the sale. Furthermore, with respect to non-U.S. stockholders, we may be required to withhold U.S. tax with respect to such dividends, including in respect of all or a portion of such dividend that is payable in stock. In addition, if a significant number of our stockholders determine to sell shares of our stock in order to pay taxes owed on dividends, then such sales may put downward pressure on the trading price of our stock. We may in the future determine to distribute taxable dividends that are payable in part in our common stock.

As a RIC, we will be subject to a 4% nondeductible federal excise tax on certain undistributed income unless we distribute in a timely manner an amount at least equal to the sum of (1) 98% of our ordinary income for each calendar year, (2) 98.2% of our capital gain net income for the 1-year period ending October 31 in that calendar year and (3) any income recognized, but not distributed, in preceding years and on which we paid no federal income tax (the “Excise Tax Avoidance Requirements”). We will not be subject to excise taxes on amounts on which we are required to pay corporate income tax (such as retained net capital gains). Depending on the level of taxable income earned in a tax year, we may choose to carry over taxable income in excess of current year distributions from such taxable income into the next tax year and pay a 4% excise tax on such income, as required. The maximum amount of excess taxable income that may be carried over for distribution in the next year under the Code is the total amount of dividends paid in the following year, subject to certain declaration and payment guidelines. To the extent we choose to carry over taxable income into the next tax year, dividends declared and paid by us in a year may differ from taxable income for that year as such dividends may include the distribution of current year taxable income, the distribution of prior year taxable income carried over into and distributed in the current year, or returns of capital.

We may be required to recognize taxable income in circumstances in which we do not receive a corresponding payment in cash. For example, if we hold debt obligations that are treated under applicable tax rules as having original issue discount (such as debt instruments with PIK interest provisions or, in certain cases, increasing interest rates or debt instruments that were issued with warrants), we must include in income each year a portion of the original issue discount that accrues over the life of the obligation, regardless of whether cash representing such income is received by us in the same taxable year. Because any original issue discount accrued will be included in our investment company taxable income for the year of accrual, we may be required to make a distribution to our stockholders in order to satisfy the Annual Distribution Requirement and the Excise Tax Avoidance Requirement, even though we will not have received any corresponding cash amount.

Gain or loss realized by us from the sale or exchange of warrants acquired by us as well as any loss attributable to the lapse of such warrants generally will be treated as capital gain or loss. Such gain or loss generally will be long-term or short-term, depending on how long we held a particular warrant.

19


 

We are authorized to borrow funds and to sell assets in order to satisfy the Annual Distribution Requirement and the Excise Tax Avoidance Requirement (collectively, the “Distribution Requirements”). However, under the 1940 Act, we are not permitted to make distributions to our stockholders while our debt obligations and other senior securities are outstanding unless certain “asset coverage” tests are met. See “—Regulation—Senior Securities; Coverage Ratio.” We may be restricted from making distributions under the terms of our debt obligations themselves unless certain conditions are satisfied. Moreover, our ability to dispose of assets to meet the Distribution Requirements may be limited by (1) the illiquid nature of our portfolio, or (2) other requirements relating to our status as a RIC, including the Diversification Tests. If we dispose of assets in order to meet the Distribution Requirements, we may make such dispositions at times that, from an investment standpoint, are not advantageous. If we are prohibited from making distributions or are unable to obtain cash from other sources to make the distributions, we may fail to qualify as a RIC, which would result in us becoming subject to corporate-level federal income tax.

In addition, we will be partially dependent on our SBIC subsidiaries for cash distributions to enable us to meet the RIC Distribution Requirements. Our SBIC subsidiaries may be limited by the Small Business Investment Act of 1958, and SBA regulations governing SBICs, from making certain distributions to us that may be necessary to maintain our status as a RIC. We may have to request a waiver of the SBA’s restrictions for our SBIC subsidiaries to make certain distributions to maintain our RIC status. We cannot assure you that the SBA will grant such waiver. If our SBIC subsidiaries are unable to obtain a waiver, compliance with the SBA regulations may cause us to fail to qualify as a RIC, which would result in us becoming subject to corporate-level federal income tax.

Any transactions in options, futures contracts, constructive sales, hedging, straddle, conversion or similar transactions, and forward contracts will be subject to special tax rules, the effect of which may be to accelerate income to us, defer losses, cause adjustments to the holding periods of our investments, convert long-term capital gains into short-term capital gains, convert short-term capital losses into long-term capital losses or have other tax consequences. These rules could affect the amount, timing and character of distributions to stockholders. We do not currently intend to engage in these types of transactions.

A RIC is limited in its ability to deduct expenses in excess of its “investment company taxable income” (which is, generally, ordinary income plus net realized short-term capital gains in excess of net realized long-term capital losses). If our expenses in a given year exceed gross taxable income (e.g., as the result of large amounts of equity-based compensation), we would experience a net operating loss for that year. However, a RIC is not permitted to carry forward net operating losses to subsequent years and such net operating losses do not pass through to the RIC’s stockholders. In addition, expenses can be used only to offset investment company taxable income, not net capital gain. A RIC may not use any net capital losses (that is, realized capital losses in excess of realized capital gains) to offset the RIC’s investment company taxable income, but may carry forward such losses, and use them to offset capital gains indefinitely. Due to these limits on the deductibility of expenses and net capital losses, we may for tax purposes have aggregate taxable income for several years that we are required to distribute and that is taxable to our stockholders even if such income is greater than the aggregate net income we actually earned during those years. Such required distributions may be made from our cash assets or by liquidation of investments, if necessary. We may realize gains or losses from such liquidations. In the event we realize net capital gains from such transactions, you may receive a larger capital gain distribution than you would have received in the absence of such transactions.

Investment income received from sources within foreign countries, or capital gains earned by investing in securities of foreign issuers, may be subject to foreign income taxes withheld at the source. In this regard, withholding tax rates in countries with which the United States does not have a tax treaty are often as high as 35% or more. The United States has entered into tax treaties with many foreign countries that may entitle us to a reduced rate of tax or exemption from tax on this related income and gains. The effective rate of foreign tax cannot be determined at this time since the amount of our assets to be invested within various countries is not now known. We do not anticipate being eligible for the special election that allows a RIC to treat foreign income taxes paid by such RIC as paid by its shareholders.

If we acquire stock in certain foreign corporations that receive at least 75% of their annual gross income from passive sources (such as interest, dividends, rents, royalties or capital gain) or hold at least 50% of their total assets in investments producing such passive income (“passive foreign investment companies”), we could be subject to federal income tax and additional interest charges on “excess distributions” received from such companies or gain from the sale of stock in such companies, even if all income or gain actually received by us is timely distributed to our shareholders. We would not be able to pass through to our shareholders any credit or deduction for such a tax. Certain elections may, if available, ameliorate these adverse tax consequences, but any such election requires us to recognize taxable income or gain without the concurrent receipt of cash. We intend to limit and/or manage our holdings in passive foreign investment companies to minimize our tax liability.

20


 

Foreign exchange gains and losses realized by us in connection with certain transactions involving non-dollar debt securities, certain foreign currency futures contracts, foreign currency option contracts, foreign currency forward contracts, foreign currencies, or payables or receivables denominated in a foreign currency are subject to Code provisions that generally treat such gains and losses as ordinary income and losses and may affect the amount, timing and character of distributions to our stockholders. Any such transactions that are not directly related to our investment in securities (possibly including speculative currency positions or currency derivatives not used for hedging purposes) could, under future Treasury regulations, produce income not among the types of “qualifying income” from which a RIC must derive at least 90% of its annual gross income.

Failure to Qualify as a Regulated Investment Company

If we fail to satisfy the 90% Income Test or the Diversification Tests for any taxable year, we may nevertheless continue to qualify as a RIC for such year if certain relief provisions are applicable (which may, among other things, require us to pay certain corporate-level federal taxes or to dispose of certain assets).

If we were unable to qualify for treatment as a RIC and the foregoing relief provisions are not applicable, we would be subject to tax on all of our taxable income at regular corporate rates. We would not be able to deduct distributions to stockholders, nor would they be required to be made. Such distributions would be taxable to our stockholders and provided certain holding period and other requirements were met, could qualify for treatment as “qualified dividend income” eligible for the 20% maximum rate to the extent of our current and accumulated earnings and profits. Subject to certain limitations under the Code, corporate distributions would be eligible for the dividends-received deduction. Distributions in excess of our current and accumulated earnings and profits would be treated first as a return of capital to the extent of the stockholder’s tax basis, and any remaining distributions would be treated as a capital gain. To requalify as a RIC in a subsequent taxable year, we would be required to satisfy the RIC qualification requirements for that year and dispose of any earnings and profits from any year in which we failed to qualify as a RIC. Subject to a limited exception applicable to RICs that qualified as such under Subchapter M of the Code for at least one year prior to disqualification and that requalify as a RIC no later than the second year following the nonqualifying year, we could be subject to tax on any unrealized net built-in gains in the assets held by us during the period in which we failed to qualify as a RIC that are recognized within the subsequent 10 years, unless we made a special election to pay corporate-level tax on such built-in gain at the time of our requalification as a RIC.

 

DETERMINATION OF NET ASSET VALUE

We determine the net asset value per share of our common stock quarterly. The net asset value per share is equal to the value of our total assets minus liabilities and any preferred stock outstanding divided by the total number of shares of common stock outstanding. As of the date of this report, we do not have any preferred stock outstanding.

At December 31, 2014, 78.6% of the Company’s total assets represented investments in portfolio companies that are valued at fair value by the Board of Directors. Value, as defined in Section 2(a)(41) of the 1940 Act, is (i) the market price for those securities for which a market quotation is readily available and (ii) for all other securities and assets, fair value is as determined in good faith by the Board of Directors. The Company’s investments are carried at fair value in accordance with the 1940 Act and Accounting Standards Codification topic 820 Fair Value Measurements and Disclosures (“ASC 820”). The Company’s debt securities are primarily invested in venture capital-backed companies in technology-related industries, including technology, biotechnology, life science and energy and renewables technology. Given the nature of lending to these types of businesses, substantially all of the Company’s investments in these portfolio companies are considered Level 3 assets under ASC 820 because there is no known or accessible market or market indexes for these investment securities to be traded or exchanged. As such, the Company values substantially all of its investments at fair value as determined in good faith pursuant to a consistent valuation policy and the Company’s Board of Directors in accordance with the provisions of ASC 820 and the 1940 Act. Due to the inherent uncertainty in determining the fair value of investments that do not have a readily available market value, the fair value of the Company’s investments determined in good faith by its Board may differ significantly from the value that would have been used had a readily available market existed for such investments, and the differences could be material.

The Company may from time to time engage an independent valuation firm to provide the Company with valuation assistance with respect to certain portfolio investments on a quarterly basis. The Company intends to continue to engage an independent valuation firm to provide management with assistance regarding the Company’s determination of the fair value of selected portfolio investments each quarter unless directed by the Board of Directors to cancel such valuation services. The scope of services rendered by an independent valuation firm is at the discretion of the Board of Directors. The Company’s Board of Directors is ultimately and solely responsible for determining the fair value of the Company’s investments in good faith.

21


 

With respect to investments for which market quotations are not readily available or when such market quotations are deemed not to represent fair value, the Company’s Board of Directors has approved a multi-step valuation process each quarter, as described below:

(1) the Company’s quarterly valuation process begins with each portfolio company being initially valued by the investment professionals responsible for the portfolio investment;

(2) preliminary valuation conclusions are then documented and business based assumptions are discussed with the Company’s investment committee;

(3) the Audit Committee of the Board of Directors reviews the preliminary valuation of the investments in the portfolio as provided by the investment committee, which incorporates the results of the independent valuation firm as appropriate, and

(4) the Audit Committee discusses valuations and determines the fair value of each investment in our portfolio in good faith based on the input of, where applicable, the respective independent valuation firm and the investment committee.

ASC 820 establishes a framework for measuring the fair value of the assets and liabilities and outlines a fair value hierarchy which prioritizes the inputs used to measure fair value and the effect of fair value measures on earnings. ASC 820 also enhances disclosure requirements for fair value measurements based on the level within the hierarchy of the information used in the valuation. ASC 820 applies whenever other standards require (or permit) assets or liabilities to be measured at fair value. ASC 820 defines fair value as the price that would be received to sell an asset or paid to transfer a liability in an orderly transaction between market participants at the measurement date.

The Company has categorized all investments recorded at fair value in accordance with ASC 820 based upon the level of judgment associated with the inputs used to measure their fair value. Hierarchical levels, defined by ASC 820 and directly related to the amount of subjectivity associated with the inputs to fair valuation of these assets and liabilities, are as follows:

Level 1—Inputs are unadjusted, quoted prices in active markets for identical assets at the measurement date. The types of assets carried at Level 1 fair value generally are equities listed in active markets.

Level 2—Inputs (other than quoted prices included in Level 1) are either directly or indirectly observable for the asset in connection with market data at the measurement date and for the extent of the instrument’s anticipated life. Fair valued assets that are generally included in this category are warrants held in a public company.

Level 3—Inputs reflect management’s best estimate of what market participants would use in pricing the asset at the measurement date. It includes prices or valuations that require inputs that are both significant to the fair value measurement and unobservable. Generally, assets carried at fair value and included in this category are the debt investments and warrants and equities held in a private company.

Debt Investments

The Company follows the guidance set forth in ASC 820 which establishes a framework for measuring the fair value of assets and liabilities and outlines a fair value hierarchy which prioritizes the inputs used to measure fair value and the effect of fair value measures on earnings. The Company’s debt securities are primarily invested in venture capital-backed companies in technology-related industries, including technology, biotechnology, life science and energy and renewables technology. Given the nature of lending to these types of businesses, the Company’s investments in these portfolio companies are considered Level 3 assets under ASC 820 because there is no known or accessible market or market indexes for debt instruments for these investment securities to be traded or exchanged.

In making a good faith determination of the value of our investments, the Company generally starts with the cost basis of the investment, which includes the value attributed to original issue discount, or OID, if any, and PIK interest or other receivables which have been accrued to principal as earned. The Company then applies the valuation methods as set forth below.

The Company applies a procedure that assumes a sale of investment in a hypothetical market to a hypothetical market participant where buyers and sellers are willing participants. The hypothetical market does not include scenarios where the underlying security was simply repaid or extinguished, but includes an exit concept. Under this process, the Company also evaluates the collateral for recoverability of the debt investments as well as applies all of its historical fair value analysis.

The Company considers each portfolio company’s credit rating, security liens and other characteristics of the investment to adjust the baseline yield to derive a hypothetical yield for each investment as of the measurement date. The anticipated future cash flows from each investment are then discounted at the hypothetical yield to estimate each investment’s fair value as of the measurement date.

22


 

The Company’s process includes, among other things, the underlying investment performance, the current portfolio company’s financial condition and market changing events that impact valuation, estimated remaining life, current market yield and interest rate spreads of similar securities as of the measurement date. The Company values its syndicated loans using broker quotes and bond indices amongst other factors. If there is a significant deterioration of the credit quality of a debt investment, the Company may consider other factors to estimate fair value, including the proceeds that would be received in a liquidation analysis.

The Company records unrealized depreciation on investments when it believes that an investment has decreased in value, including where collection of a loan is doubtful or, if under the in-exchange premise, when the value of a debt security was to be less than amortized cost of the investment. Conversely, where appropriate, the Company records unrealized appreciation if it believes that the underlying portfolio company has appreciated in value and, therefore, that its investment has also appreciated in value or, if under the in-exchange premise, the value of a debt security were to be greater than amortized cost.

When originating a debt instrument, the Company generally receives warrants or other equity-related securities from the borrower. The Company determines the cost basis of the warrants or other equity-related securities received based upon their respective fair values on the date of receipt in proportion to the total fair value of the debt and warrants or other equity-related securities received. Any resulting discount on the debt investment from recordation of the warrant or other equity instruments is accreted into interest income over the life of the debt investment.

Equity-Related Securities and Warrants

In accordance with the 1940 Act, unrestricted publicly traded securities for which market quotations are readily available are valued at the closing market quote on the measurement date.

At each reporting date, privately held warrant and equity-related securities are valued based on an analysis of various factors including, but not limited to, the portfolio company’s operating performance and financial condition and general market conditions, price to enterprise value or price to equity ratios, discounted cash flow, valuation comparisons to comparable public companies or other industry benchmarks. When an external event occurs, such as a purchase transaction, public offering, or subsequent equity sale, the pricing indicated by that external event is utilized to corroborate the Company’s valuation of the warrant and equity-related securities. The Company periodically reviews the valuation of its portfolio companies that have not been involved in a qualifying external event to determine if the enterprise value of the portfolio company may have increased or decreased since the last valuation measurement date. The Company estimates the fair value of warrants using a Black Scholes pricing model.

Determinations In Connection With Offerings

In connection with each offering of shares of our common stock, the Board of Directors or a committee thereof is required to make the determination that we are not selling shares of our common stock at a price below our then current net asset value at the time at which the sale is made. The Board of Directors considers the following factors, among others, in making such determination:

·

the net asset value of our common stock disclosed in the most recent periodic report we filed with the SEC;

·

our management’s assessment of whether any material change in the net asset value has occurred (including through the realization of net gains on the sale of our portfolio investments) from the period beginning on the date of the most recently disclosed net asset value to the period ending two days prior to the date of the sale of our common stock; and

·

the magnitude of the difference between (i) a value that our Board of Directors or an authorized committee thereof has determined reflects the current net asset value of our common stock, which is generally based upon the net asset value of our common stock disclosed in the most recent periodic report that we filed with the SEC, as adjusted to reflect our management’s assessment of any material change in the net asset value of our common stock since the date of the most recently disclosed net asset value of our common stock, and (ii) the offering price of the shares of our common stock in the proposed offering.

Importantly, this determination does not require that we calculate net asset value in connection with each offering of shares of our common stock, but instead it involves the determination by the Board of Directors or a committee thereof that we are not selling shares of our common stock at a price below the then current net asset value at the time at which the sale is made.

23


 

Moreover, to the extent that there is even a remote possibility that we may (i) issue shares of our common stock at a price below the then current net asset value of our common stock at the time at which the sale is made or (ii) trigger the undertaking (which we will provide to the SEC in a registration statement to which a prospectus will be a part) to suspend the offering of shares of our common stock pursuant to a prospectus if the net asset value fluctuates by certain amounts in certain circumstances until such prospectus is amended, the Board of Directors or a committee thereof will elect, in the case of clause (i) above, either to postpone the offering until such time that there is no longer the possibility of the occurrence of such, events or to undertake to determine net asset value within two days prior to any such sale to ensure that such sale will not be below our then current net asset value, and, in the case of clause (ii) above, to comply with such undertaking or to undertake to determine net asset value to ensure that such undertaking has not been triggered.

These processes and procedures are part of our compliance policies and procedures. Records will be made contemporaneously with all determinations described in this section and these records will be maintained with other records we are required to maintain under the 1940 Act.

 


24


 

 

Item 1A.

Risk Factors

Investing in our securities may be speculative and involves a high degree of risk. You should consider carefully the risks described below and all other information contained in this Annual Report, including our financial statements and the related notes and the schedules and exhibits to this Annual Report. The risks set forth below are not the only risks we face. If any of the following risks occur, our business, financial condition and results of operations could be materially adversely affected. In such case, our net asset value and the trading price of our securities could decline, and you may lose all or part of your investment.

Risks Related to our Business Structure

We are dependent upon key management personnel for their time availability and for our future success, particularly Manuel A. Henriquez, our Chief Executive Officer, and if we are not able to hire and retain qualified personnel, or if we lose any member of our senior management team, our ability to implement our business strategy could be significantly harmed.

We depend upon the members of our senior management, particularly Mr. Henriquez, as well as other key personnel for the identification, final selection, structuring, closing and monitoring of our investments. These employees have critical industry experience and relationships on which we rely to implement our business plan. If we lose the services of Mr. Henriquez, or of any other senior management members, we may not be able to operate the business as we expect, and our ability to compete could be harmed, which could cause our operating results to suffer. Furthermore, we do not have an employment agreement with Mr. Henriquez and our senior management is not restricted from creating new investment vehicles subject to compliance with applicable law. We believe our future success will depend, in part, on our ability to identify, attract and retain sufficient numbers of highly skilled employees. If we do not succeed in identifying, attracting and retaining such personnel, we may not be able to operate our business as we expect.

Our business model depends to a significant extent upon strong referral relationships with venture capital and private equity fund sponsors, and our inability to develop or maintain these relationships, or the failure of these relationships to generate investment opportunities, could adversely affect our business.

We expect that members of our management team will maintain their relationships with venture capital and private equity firms, and we will rely to a significant extent upon these relationships to provide us with our deal flow. If we fail to maintain our existing relationships, our relationships become strained as a result of enforcing our rights with respect to non-performing portfolio companies in protecting our investments or we fail to develop new relationships with other firms or sources of investment opportunities, then we will not be able to grow our investment portfolio. In addition, persons with whom members of our management team have relationships are not obligated to provide us with investment opportunities and, therefore, there is no assurance that such relationships will lead to the origination of debt or other investments.

We operate in a highly competitive market for investment opportunities, and we may not be able to compete effectively.

A number of entities compete with us to make the types of investments that we plan to make in prospective portfolio companies. We compete with a large number of venture capital and private equity firms, as well as with other investment funds, business development companies, investment banks and other sources of financing, including traditional financial services companies such as commercial banks and finance companies. Many of our competitors are substantially larger and have considerably greater financial, technical, marketing and other resources than we do. For example, some competitors may have a lower cost of funds and/or access to funding sources that are not available to us. This may enable some competitors to make loans with interest rates that are comparable to or lower than the rates that we typically offer. A significant increase in the number and/or the size of our competitors, including traditional commercial lenders and other financing sources, in technology-related industries could force us to accept less attractive investment terms. We may miss opportunities if we do not match competitors’ pricing, terms and structure. If we do match competitors’ pricing, terms or structure, we may experience decreased net interest income and increased risk of credit losses. In addition, some of our competitors may have higher risk tolerances or different risk assessments, which could allow them to consider a wider variety of investments, establish more relationships and build their market shares. Furthermore, many potential competitors are not subject to the regulatory restrictions that the 1940 Act imposes on us as a business development company or that the Code imposes on us as a RIC. If we are not able to compete effectively, our business, financial condition, and results of operations will be adversely affected. As a result of this competition, there can be no assurance that we will be able to identify and take advantage of attractive investment opportunities, or that we will be able to fully invest our available capital.

25


 

If we are unable to manage our future growth effectively, we may be unable to achieve our investment objective, which could adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations and cause the value of your investment to decline.

Our ability to achieve our investment objective will depend on our ability to sustain growth. Sustaining growth will depend, in turn, on our senior management team’s ability to identify, evaluate, finance and invest in suitable companies that meet our investment criteria. Accomplishing this result on a cost-effective basis is largely a function of our marketing capabilities, our management of the investment process, our ability to provide efficient services and our access to financing sources on acceptable terms. Failure to manage our future growth effectively could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Because we intend to distribute substantially all of our income to our stockholders in order to qualify as a RIC, we will continue to need additional capital to finance our growth. If additional funds are unavailable or not available on favorable terms, our ability to grow will be impaired.

In order to satisfy the tax requirements applicable to a RIC, to avoid payment of excise taxes and to minimize or avoid payment of income taxes, we intend to distribute to our stockholders substantially all of our net ordinary income and realized net capital gains except for certain realized net capital gains, which we may retain, pay applicable income taxes with respect thereto and elect to treat as deemed distributions to our stockholders. As a business development company, we generally are required to meet a coverage ratio of total assets to total borrowings and other senior securities, which includes all of our borrowings and any preferred stock that we may issue in the future, of at least 200%. This requirement limits the amount that we may borrow. This limitation may prevent us from incurring debt and require us to raise additional equity at a time when it may be disadvantageous to do so. We cannot assure you that debt and equity financing will be available to us on favorable terms, or at all, and debt financings may be restricted by the terms of any of our outstanding borrowings. If we are unable to incur additional debt, we may be required to raise additional equity at a time when it may be disadvantageous to do so. In addition, shares of closed-end investment companies have recently traded at discounts to their net asset values. This characteristic of closed-end investment companies is separate and distinct from the risk that our net asset value per share may decline. We cannot predict whether shares of our common stock will trade above, at or below our net asset value. If our common stock trades below its net asset value, we generally will not be able to issue additional shares of our common stock at its market price without first obtaining the approval for such issuance from our stockholders and our independent directors. If additional funds are not available to us, we could be forced to curtail or cease new lending and investment activities, and our net asset value could decline. In addition, our results of operations and financial condition could be adversely affected.

Because we have substantial indebtedness, there could be increased risk in investing in our company.

Lenders have fixed dollar claims on our assets that are superior to the claims of stockholders, and we have granted, and may in the future grant, lenders a security interest in our assets in connection with borrowings. In the case of a liquidation event, those lenders would receive proceeds before our stockholders. In addition, borrowings, also known as leverage, magnify the potential for gain or loss on amounts invested and, therefore, increase the risks associated with investing in our securities. Leverage is generally considered a speculative investment technique. If the value of our assets increases, then leverage would cause the net asset value attributable to our common stock to increase more than it otherwise would have had we not leveraged. Conversely, if the value of our assets decreases, leverage would cause the net asset value attributable to our common stock to decline more than it otherwise would have had we not used leverage. Similarly, any increase in our revenue in excess of interest expense on our borrowed funds would cause our net income to increase more than it would without the leverage. Any decrease in our revenue would cause our net income to decline more than it would have had we not borrowed funds and could negatively affect our ability to make distributions on common stock. Our ability to service any debt that we incur will depend largely on our financial performance and will be subject to prevailing economic conditions and competitive pressures. We and, indirectly, our stockholders will bear the cost associated with our leverage activity. If we are not able to service our substantial indebtedness, our business could be harmed materially.

Our secured credit facilities with Wells Fargo Capital Finance LLC (the “Wells Facility”) and MUFG Union Bank, N.A. (the “Union Bank Facility,” and together with the Wells Facility, our “Credit Facilities”) our Convertible Senior Notes, our 2019 Notes, our 2024 Notes,  our 2017 Asset-Backed Notes and our 2021 Asset-Backed Notes (as each term is defined below) contain financial and operating covenants that could restrict our business activities, including our ability to declare dividends if we default under certain provisions.

26


 

As of December 31, 2014, we did not have any outstanding borrowings under our Credit Facilities. In addition, as of December 31, 2014, we had approximately $190.2 million of indebtedness outstanding incurred by our SBIC subsidiaries, approximately $17.7 million in aggregate principal amount of 6.00% convertible senior notes (the “Convertible Senior Notes”), approximately $170.4 million in aggregate principal amount of 7.00% senior notes due 2019 (the “2019 Notes”), approximately $103.0 million in aggregate principal amount of 6.25% senior notes due 2024 (the “2024 Notes”), approximately $16.0 million in aggregate principal amount of fixed rate asset-backed notes issued in December 2012 (the “2017 Asset-Backed Notes”) in connection with our $230.7 million debt securitization (the “2012 Debt Securitization”) and approximately $129.3 million in aggregate principal amount of fixed rate asset-backed notes  issued in November 2014 (the “2021 Asset-Backed Notes” together with the 2017 Asset Backed Notes, the “Asset-Backed Notes”) in connection with our $237.4 million debt securitization (the “2014 Debt Securitization,” together with the 2012 Debt Securitization, the “Debt Securitizations”).

There can be no assurance that we will be successful in obtaining any additional debt capital on terms acceptable to us or at all. If we are unable to obtain debt capital, then our equity investors will not benefit from the potential for increased returns on equity resulting from leverage to the extent that our investment strategy is successful and we may be limited in our ability to make new commitments or fundings to our portfolio companies.

As a business development company, generally, we are not permitted to incur indebtedness unless immediately after such borrowing we have an asset coverage for total borrowings of at least 200% (i.e., the amount of debt may not exceed 50% of the value of our assets). In addition, we may not be permitted to declare any cash dividend or other distribution on our outstanding common shares, or purchase any such shares, unless, at the time of such declaration or purchase, we have asset coverage of at least 200% after deducting the amount of such dividend, distribution, or purchase price. If this ratio declines below 200%, we may not be able to incur additional debt and may need to sell a portion of our investments to repay some debt when it is disadvantageous to do so, and we may not be able to make distributions. As of December 31, 2014 our asset coverage ratio under our regulatory requirements as a business development company was 250.8% excluding our SBIC debentures as a result of our exemptive order from the SEC that allows us to exclude all SBA leverage from our asset coverage ratio.

Illustration. The following table illustrates the effect of leverage on returns from an investment in our common stock assuming various annual returns, net of expenses. The calculations in the table below are hypothetical and actual returns may be higher or lower than those appearing below.

 

 

Annual Return on Our Portfolio

 

 

(Net of Expenses)

 

 

 

-10%

 

 

 

-5%

 

 

 

0%

 

 

 

5%

 

 

 

10%

 

Corresponding return to stockholder(1)

 

(24.83

%)

 

 

(14.97

%)

 

 

(5.11

%)

 

 

4.74

%

 

 

14.60

%

 

 

(1)

Assumes $1.3 billion in total assets, $626.6 million in debt outstanding, $658.9 million in stockholders’ equity, and an average cost of funds of 5.38%, which is the approximate average cost of borrowed funds, including our Credit Facilities, our Convertible Senior Notes, 2019 Notes, 2024 Notes, our SBA debentures and our Asset-Backed Notes for the period ended December 31, 2014. Actual interest payments may be different.

It is likely that the terms of any current or future long-term or revolving credit or warehouse facility we may enter into in the future could constrain our ability to grow our business.

Under our borrowings and our Credit Facilities, current lenders have, and any future lender or lenders may have, fixed dollar claims on our assets that are senior to the claims of our stockholders and, thus, will have a preference over our stockholders with respect to our assets in the collateral pool. Our Credit Facilities and borrowings also subject us to various financial and operating covenants, including, but not limited to, maintaining certain financial ratios and minimum tangible net worth amounts. Future credit facilities and borrowings will likely subject us to similar or additional covenants. In addition, we may grant a security interest in our assets in connection with any such credit facilities and borrowings.

Our Credit Facilities generally contain customary default provisions such as a minimum net worth amount, a profitability test, and a restriction on changing our business and loan quality standards. In addition, our Credit Facilities require or are expected to require the repayment of all outstanding debt on the maturity which may disrupt our business and potentially the business of our portfolio companies that are financed through the facilities. An event of default under these facilities would likely result, among other things, in termination of the availability of further funds under the facilities and accelerated maturity dates for all amounts outstanding under the facilities, which would likely disrupt our business and, potentially, the business of the portfolio companies whose loans we finance through the facilities. This could reduce our revenues and, by delaying any cash payment allowed to us under our facilities until the lender has been paid in full, reduce our liquidity and cash flow and impair our ability to grow our business and our ability to make distributions sufficient to maintain our status as a RIC.

27


 

The terms of future available financing may place limits on our financial and operation flexibility. If we are unable to obtain sufficient capital in the future, we may be forced to reduce or discontinue our operations, not be able to make new investments, or otherwise respond to changing business conditions or competitive pressures.

In addition to regulatory requirements that restrict our ability to raise capital, our Credit Facilities, the Convertible Senior Notes, the 2019 Notes and the 2024 Notes contain various covenants which, if not complied with, could require accelerated repayment under the facility or require us to repurchase the Convertible Senior Notes, the 2019 Notes and the 2024 Notes thereby materially and adversely affecting our liquidity, financial condition, results of operations and ability to pay dividends.

The credit agreements governing our Credit Facilities, the Convertible Senior Notes, the 2019 Notes, and the 2024 Notes require us to comply with certain financial and operational covenants. These covenants require us to, among other things, maintain certain financial ratios, including asset coverage, debt to equity and interest coverage. Our ability to continue to comply with these covenants in the future depends on many factors, some of which are beyond our control. There are no assurances that we will be able to comply with these covenants. Failure to comply with these covenants would result in a default which, if we were unable to obtain a waiver from the lenders under our Credit Facilities or the trustee or holders under the Convertible Senior Notes and could accelerate repayment under the facilities or the Convertible Senior Notes, the 2019 Notes or 2024 Notes and thereby have a material adverse impact on our liquidity, financial condition, results of operations and ability to pay dividends. In addition, holders of the Convertible Senior Notes will have the right to require us to repurchase the Convertible Senior Notes upon the occurrence of a fundamental change at a repurchase price equal to 100% of their principal amount, plus accrued and unpaid interest, if any. We may not have enough available cash or be able to obtain financing at the time we are required to make repurchases. See “Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Results of Operations and Financial Condition—Borrowings.”

We may be unable to obtain debt capital on favorable terms or at all, in which case we would not be able to use leverage to increase the return on our investments.

If we are unable to obtain debt capital, then our equity investors will not benefit from the potential for increased returns on equity resulting from leverage to the extent that our investment strategy is successful and we may be limited in our ability to make new commitments or fundings to our portfolio companies.

We are subject to certain risks as a result of our interests in connection with the Debt Securitizations and our equity interest in the Securitization Issuers.

On December 19, 2012, in connection with the 2012 Debt Securitization and the offering of the 2017 Asset-Backed Notes by Hercules Capital Funding Trust 2012-1 (the “2012 Securitization Issuer”), we sold and/or contributed to Hercules Capital Funding 2012-1 LLC, as trust depositor (the “2012 Trust Depositor”), certain senior loans made to certain of our portfolio companies (the “2012 Loans”), which the 2012 Trust Depositor in turn sold and/or contributed to the 2012 Securitization Issuer in exchange for 100% of the equity interest in the 2012 Securitization Issuer, cash proceeds and other consideration. Following these transfers, the 2012 Securitization Issuer, and not the 2012 Trust Depositor or us, held all of the ownership interest in the 2012 Loans.

In addition, on November 13, 2014, in connection with the 2014 Debt Securitization and the offering of the 2021 Asset-Backed Notes by Hercules Capital Funding Trust 2014-1 (the “2014 Securitization Issuer,” together with the 2012 Securitization Issuer, the “Securitization Issuers”), we sold and/or contributed to Hercules Capital Funding 2014-1 LLC, as trust depositor (the “2014 Trust Depositor,” together with the 2014 Trust Depositor, the “Trust Depositors”), certain senior loans made to certain of our portfolio companies (the “2014 Loans,” together with the 2012 Loans, the “Loans”), which the 2014 Trust Depositor in turn sold and/or contributed to the 2014 Securitization Issuer in exchange for 100% of the equity interest in the 2014 Securitization Issuer, cash proceeds and other consideration. Following these transfers, the 2014 Securitization Issuer, and not the 2014 Trust Depositor or us, held all of the ownership interest in the 2014 Loans.

As a result of the Debt Securitizations, we hold, indirectly through the 2012 Trust Depositor and the 2014 Trust Depositor, 100% of the equity interests in the 2012 Securitization Issuer and 2014 Securitization Issuer, respectively. As a result, we consolidate the financial statements of the Trust Depositors and the Securitization Issuers, as well as our other subsidiaries, in our consolidated financial statements. Because the Trust Depositors and the Securitization Issuers are disregarded as entities separate from their owners for U.S. federal income tax purposes, the sale or contribution by us to the Trust Depositors, and by the Trust Depositors to the Securitization Issuers, as applicable, did not constitute a taxable event for U.S. federal income tax purposes. If the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) were to take a contrary position, there could be a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations or cash flows.


28


 

Further, a failure of the 2012 Securitization Issuer or the 2014 Securitization Issuer to be treated as a disregarded entity for U.S. federal income tax purposes would constitute an event of default pursuant to the indenture under the 2012 Debt Securitization or the indenture under the 2014 Debt Securitization, respectively, upon which the trustee under the 2012 Debt Securitization (the “2012 Trustee”) or the trustee under the 2014 Debt Securitization (the “2014 Trustee,” together with the 2012 Trustee, the “Trustees”), respectively, may and will at the direction of a supermajority of the holders of the 2017 Asset-Backed Notes (the “2017 Noteholders”) or at the direction of a supermajority of the holders of the 2021 Asset-Backed Notes (the “2021 Noteholders,” together with the 2017 Noteholders, the “Noteholders”), respectively, declare the 2017 Asset-Backed Notes or 2021 Asset-Backed Notes, respectively, to be immediately due and payable and exercise remedies under the applicable indenture, including (i) to institute proceedings for the collection of all amounts then payable on the 2017 Asset-Backed Notes or the 2021 Asset-Backed Notes, respectively, or under the applicable indenture, enforce any judgment obtained, and collect from the 2012 Securitization Issuer or 2014 Securitization Issuer, respectively, and any other obligor upon the 2017 Asset-Backed Notes or the 2021 Asset-Backed Notes, respectively, monies adjudged due; (ii) institute proceedings from time to time for the complete or partial foreclosure of the applicable indenture with respect to the property of the 2012 Securitization Issuer or the 2014 Securitization Issuer, respectively; (iii) exercise any remedies as a secured party under the relevant UCC and take other appropriate action under applicable law to protect and enforce the rights and remedies of the 2012 Trustee or 2014 Trustee, respectively, and the 2017 Noteholders and 2021 Noteholders, respectively; or (iv) sell the property of the 2012 Securitization Issuer or the 2014 Securitization Issuer, respectively, or any portion thereof or rights or interest therein at one or more public or private sales called and conducted in any matter permitted by law. Any such exercise of remedies could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations or cash flows.

An event of default in connection with either  Debt Securitization could give rise to a cross-default under our other material indebtedness.

The documents governing our other material indebtedness contain customary cross-default provisions that could be triggered if an event of default occurs in connection with either Debt Securitization. An event of default with respect to our other indebtedness could lead to the acceleration of such indebtedness and the exercise of other remedies as provided in the documents governing such other indebtedness. This could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows and may result in our inability to make distributions sufficient to maintain our status as a RIC.

We may not receive cash distributions in respect of our indirect ownership interests in the Securitization Issuers.

Apart from fees payable to us in connection with our role as servicer of the Loans and the reimbursement of related amounts under the documents governing the Debt Securitizations, we receive cash in connection with the Debt Securitizations only to the extent that the Trust Depositors receive payments in respect of their respective equity interests in the Securitization Issuers. The respective holders of the equity interests in the Securitization Issuers are the residual claimants on distributions, if any, made by the respective Securitization Issuers after the respective Noteholders and other claimants have been paid in full on each payment date or upon maturity of the Asset-Backed Notes, subject to the priority of payments under the Debt Securitization documents governing the Debt Securitizations. To the extent that the value of a Securitization Issuer’s portfolio of loans is reduced as a result of conditions in the credit markets (relevant in the event of a liquidation event), other macroeconomic factors, distressed or defaulted loans or the failure of individual portfolio companies to otherwise meet their obligations in respect of the loans, or for any other reason, the ability of a Securitization Issuer to make cash distributions in respect of a Trust Depositor’s equity interests would be negatively affected and consequently, the value of the equity interests in the Securitization Issuer would also be reduced. In the event that we fail to receive cash indirectly from the Securitization Issuers, we could be unable to make distributions, if at all, in amounts sufficient to maintain our status as a RIC.

The interests of the Noteholders may not be aligned with our interests.

The Asset-Backed Notes are debt obligations ranking senior in right of payment to the rights of the holder of the equity interests in the Securitization Issuers, as residual claimants in respect of distributions, if any, made by the Securitization Issuers. As such, there are circumstances in which the interests of the Noteholders may not be aligned with the interests of holders of the equity interests in the Securitization Issuers. For example, under the terms of the documents governing each Debt Securitization, the respective Noteholders have the right to receive payments of principal and interest prior to holders of the equity interests.

For as long as the Asset-Backed Notes remain outstanding, the respective Noteholders have the right to act in certain circumstances with respect to the Loans in ways that may benefit their interests but not the interests of the respective holders of the equity interests in the Securitization Issuers, including by exercising remedies under the documents governing the Debt Securitizations.

29


 

If an event of default occurs, the respective Noteholders will be entitled to determine the remedies to be exercised, subject to the terms of the documents governing the Debt Securitizations. For example, upon the occurrence of an event of default with respect to the Asset-Backed Notes, the applicable Trustee may and will at the direction of the holders of a supermajority of the applicable Asset-Backed Notes declare the principal, together with any accrued interest, of the notes to be immediately due and payable. This would have the effect of accelerating the principal on such notes, triggering a repayment obligation on the part of the applicable Securitization Issuer. The Asset-Backed Notes then outstanding will be paid in full before any further payment or distribution on the equity interest is made. There can be no assurance that there will be sufficient funds through collections on the applicable Loans or through the proceeds of the sale of the applicable Loans in the event of a bankruptcy or insolvency to repay in full the obligations under the Asset-Backed Notes, or to make any distribution to holders of the equity interests in the Securitization Issuers.

Remedies pursued by the Noteholders could be adverse to our interests as the indirect holder of the equity interests in the Securitization Issuers. The Noteholders have no obligation to consider any possible adverse effect on such other interests. Thus, there can be no assurance that any remedies pursued by the Noteholders will be consistent with the best interests of the Trust Depositors or that we will receive, indirectly through the Trust Depositors, any payments or distributions upon an acceleration of the Asset-Backed Notes. Any failure of the Securitization Issuers to make distributions in respect of the equity interests that we indirectly hold, whether as a result of an event of default and the acceleration of payments on the Asset-Backed Notes or otherwise, could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows and may result in our inability to make distributions sufficient to maintain our status as a RIC.

Certain events related to the performance of Loans could lead to the acceleration of principal payments on the Asset-Backed Notes.

The following constitute rapid amortization events (“Rapid Amortization Events”) under the documents governing each Debt Securitization: (i) the aggregate outstanding principal balance of delinquent 2012 Loans or 2014 Loans, respectively, and restructured 2012 Loans or 2014 Loans, respectively, that would have been delinquent 2012 Loans or 2014 Loans, respectively, had such loans not become restructured loans exceeds 10% of the current aggregate outstanding principal balance of the 2012 Loans or 2014 Loans, respectively, for a period of three consecutive months; (ii) the aggregate outstanding principal balance of defaulted 2012 Loans or 2014 Loans, respectively, exceeds 5% of the initial outstanding principal balance of the 2012 Loans or outstanding principal balance of the 2014 Loans, respectively, determined as of December 19, 2012 for the 2012 Notes and November 13, 2014 for the 2014 Notes, for a period of three consecutive months; (iii) the aggregate outstanding principal balance of the 2017 Asset-Backed Notes or 2021 Asset-Backed Notes, respectively, exceeds the borrowing base for a period of three consecutive months; (iv) the 2012 Securitization Issuer’s pool of 2012 Loans or the 2014 Securitization Issuer’s pool of 2014 Loans contains 2012 Loans or 2014 Loans, respectively, to ten or fewer obligors; and (v) the occurrence of an event of default under the documents governing the respective Debt Securitization. After a Rapid Amortization Event has occurred, subject to the priority of payments under the documents governing each Debt Securitization, principal collections on the 2012 Loans or 2014 Loans, respectively, will be used to make accelerated payments of principal on the 2017 Asset-Backed Notes or the 2021 Asset-Backed Notes, respectively, until the principal balance of the 2017 Asset-Backed Notes or the 2021 Asset-Back Notes, respectively, is reduced to zero. Such an event could delay, reduce or eliminate the ability of either or both Securitization Issuers to make distributions in respect of the equity interests that we indirectly hold, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows and may result in our inability to make distributions sufficient to maintain our status as a RIC.

We have certain repurchase obligations with respect to the Loans transferred in connection with the Debt Securitizations.

As part of the Debt Securitizations, we entered into a sale and contribution agreement and a sale and servicing agreement under which we would be required to repurchase any Loan (or participation interest therein) which was sold to the Securitization Issuers in breach of certain customary representations and warranty made by us or by the Trust Depositors with respect to such Loan or the legal structure of the Debt Securitizations. To the extent that there is a breach of such representations and warranties and we fail to satisfy any such repurchase obligation, a Trustee may, on behalf of the respective Securitization Issuer, bring an action against us to enforce these repurchase obligations.

Because most of our investments typically are not in publicly-traded securities, there is uncertainty regarding the value of our investments, which could adversely affect the determination of our net asset value.

At December 31, 2014, portfolio investments, which are valued at fair value by the Board of Directors, were approximately 78.6% of our total assets. We expect our investments to continue to consist primarily of securities issued by privately-held companies, the fair value of which is not readily determinable. In addition, we are not permitted to maintain a general reserve for anticipated loan losses. Instead, we are required by the 1940 Act to specifically value each investment and record an unrealized gain or loss for any asset that we believe has increased or decreased in value.

30


 

There is no single standard for determining fair value in good faith. We value these securities at fair value as determined in good faith by our Board of Directors, based on the recommendations of our Audit Committee. In making a good faith determination of the value of these securities, we generally start with the cost basis of each security, which includes the amortized OID and PIK interest, if any. The Audit Committee uses its best judgment in arriving at the fair value of these securities. As a result, determining fair value requires that judgment be applied to the specific facts and circumstances of each portfolio investment while applying a valuation process for the types of investments we make, which includes but is not limited to deriving a hypothetical exit price. However, the Board of Directors retains ultimate authority as to the appropriate valuation of each investment. Because such valuations are inherently uncertain and may be based on estimates, our determinations of fair value may differ materially from the values that would be assessed if a ready market for these securities existed. We adjust quarterly the valuation of our portfolio to reflect the Board of Directors’ determination of the fair value of each investment in our portfolio. Any changes in fair value are recorded in our statement of operations as net change in unrealized appreciation or depreciation. Our net asset value could be adversely affected if our determinations regarding the fair value of our investments were materially higher than the values that we ultimately realize upon the disposal of such securities.

Our investments in a portfolio company, whether debt, equity, or a combination thereof, may lead to our receiving material non-public information (“MNPI”) or obtaining ‘control’ of the target company.  Our ability to exit an investment where we have MNPI or control could be limited and could result in a realized loss on the investment.

If we receive MNPI, or a controlling interest in a portfolio company, our ability to divest ourselves from a debt or equity investment could be restricted.  Causes of such restriction could include market factors, such as liquidity in a private stock, or limited trading volume in a public company’s securities, or regulatory factors, such as the receipt of MNPI or insider blackout periods, where we are under legal obligation not to sell. Additionally, we may choose not to take certain actions to protect a debt investment in a control investment portfolio company. As a result, we could experience a decrease in the value of our portfolio company holdings and potentially incur a realized loss on the investment.

Regulations governing our operations as a business development company may affect our ability to, and the manner in which, we raise additional capital, which may expose us to risks.

Our business will require a substantial amount of capital. We may acquire additional capital from the issuance of senior securities, including borrowings, securitization transactions or other indebtedness, or the issuance of additional shares of our common stock. However, we may not be able to raise additional capital in the future on favorable terms or at all. We may issue debt securities, other evidences of indebtedness or preferred stock, and we may borrow money from banks or other financial institutions, which we refer to collectively as “senior securities,” up to the maximum amount permitted by the 1940 Act. Under the 1940 Act, we are not permitted to incur indebtedness unless immediately after such borrowing we have an asset coverage for total borrowings of at least 200% (i.e., the amount of debt may not exceed 50% of the value of our assets). In addition, we may not be permitted to declare any cash dividend or other distribution on our outstanding common shares, or purchase any such shares, unless, at the time of such declaration or purchase, we have asset coverage of at least 200% after deducting the amount of such dividend, distribution, or purchase price. Our ability to pay dividends or issue additional senior securities would be restricted if our asset coverage ratio were not at least 200%. If the value of our assets declines, we may be unable to satisfy this test. If that happens, we may be required to liquidate a portion of our investments and repay a portion of our indebtedness at a time when such transaction may be disadvantageous. As a result of issuing senior securities, we would also be exposed to typical risks associated with leverage, including an increased risk of loss. If we issue preferred stock, the preferred stock would rank “senior” to common stock in our capital structure, preferred stockholders would have separate voting rights and might have rights, preferences, or privileges more favorable than those of our common stockholders and the issuance of preferred stock could have the effect of delaying, deferring, or preventing a transaction or a change of control that might involve a premium price for holders of our common stock or otherwise be in your best interest.

To the extent that we are constrained in our ability to issue debt or other senior securities, we will depend on issuances of common stock to finance operations. Other than in certain limited situations such as rights offerings, as a business development company, we are generally not able to issue our common stock at a price below net asset value without first obtaining required approvals from our stockholders and our independent directors. If we raise additional funds by issuing more common stock or senior securities convertible into, or exchangeable for, our common stock, then the percentage ownership of our stockholders at that time will decrease, and you might experience dilution. Moreover, we can offer no assurance that we will be able to issue and sell additional equity securities in the future, on favorable terms or at all.

31


 

When we are a debt or minority equity investor in a portfolio company, we may not be in a position to control the entity, and management of the company may make decisions that could decrease the value of our portfolio holdings.

We make both debt and minority equity investments; therefore, we are subject to the risk that a portfolio company may make business decisions with which we disagree, and the stockholders and management of such company may take risks or otherwise act in ways that do not serve our interests. As a result, a portfolio company may make decisions that could decrease the value of our portfolio holdings.

If we do not invest a sufficient portion of our assets in qualifying assets, we could fail to qualify as a business development company or be precluded from investing according to our current business strategy.

As a business development company, we may not acquire any assets other than “qualifying assets” as defined under the 1940 Act, unless, at the time of and after giving effect to such acquisition, at least 70% of our total assets are qualifying assets. See “Item 1. Business –Regulation.”

We believe that most of the senior loans we make will constitute qualifying assets. However, we may be precluded from investing in what we believe are attractive investments if such investments are not qualifying assets for purposes of the 1940 Act. If we do not invest a sufficient portion of our assets in qualifying assets, we could lose our status as a business development company, which would have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. Similarly, these rules could prevent us from making follow-on investments in existing portfolio companies (which could result in the dilution of our position) or could require us to dispose of investments at inappropriate times in order to comply with the 1940 Act. If we need to dispose of such investments quickly, it would be difficult to dispose of such investments on favorable terms. For example, we may have difficulty in finding a buyer and, even if we do find a buyer, we may have to sell the investments at a substantial loss.

A failure on our part to maintain our qualification as a business development company would significantly reduce our operating flexibility.

If we fail to continuously qualify as a business development company, we might be subject to regulation as a registered closed-end investment company under the 1940 Act, which would significantly decrease our operating flexibility, and lead to situations where we might have to restrict our borrowings, reduce our leverage, sell securities and pursue other activities that we are allowed to engage in as a business development company. In addition, failure to comply with the requirements imposed on business development companies by the 1940 Act could cause the SEC to bring an enforcement action against us. For additional information on the qualification requirements of a business development company, see “Item 1. Business – Regulation.”

To the extent OID and PIK interest constitute a portion of our income, we will be exposed to typical risks associated with such income being required to be included in taxable and accounting income prior to receipt of cash representing such income.

Our investments may include OID instruments and contractual PIK interest arrangements, which represents contractual interest added to a loan balance and due at the end of such loan’s term. To the extent OID or PIK interest constitute a portion of our income, we are exposed to typical risks associated with such income being required to be included in taxable and accounting income prior to receipt of cash, including the following:

·

The higher interest rates of OID and PIK instruments reflect the payment deferral and increased credit risk associated with these instruments, and OID and PIK instruments generally represent a significantly higher credit risk than coupon loans.

·

Even if the accounting conditions for income accrual are met, the borrower could still default when our actual collection is supposed to occur at the maturity of the obligation.

·

OID and PIK instruments may have unreliable valuations because their continuing accruals require continuing judgments about the collectability of the deferred payments and the value of any associated collateral. OID and PIK income may also create uncertainty about the source of our cash distributions.

·

For accounting purposes, any cash distributions to shareholders representing OID and PIK income are not treated as coming from paid-in capital, even though the cash to pay them comes from the offering proceeds. As a result, despite the fact that a distribution representing OID and PIK income could be paid out of amounts invested by our stockholders, the 1940 Act does not require that stockholders be given notice of this fact by reporting it as a return of capital.

32


 

If we are unable to satisfy Code requirements for qualification as a RIC, then we will be subject to corporate-level income tax, which would adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition.

We elected to be treated as a RIC for federal income tax purposes with the filing of our federal corporate income tax return for 2006. We will not qualify for the tax treatment allowable to RICs if we are unable to comply with the source of income, asset diversification and distribution requirements contained in Subchapter M of the Code, or if we fail to maintain our election to be regulated as a business development company under the 1940 Act. If we fail to qualify for the federal income tax benefits allowable to RICs for any reason and become subject to a corporate-level income tax, the resulting taxes could substantially reduce our net assets, the amount of income available for distribution to our stockholders and the actual amount of our distributions. Such a failure would have a material adverse effect on us, the net asset value of our common stock and the total return, if any, obtainable from your investment in our common stock. Any net operating losses that we incur in periods during which we qualify as a RIC will not offset net capital gains (i.e., net realized long-term capital gains in excess of net realized short-term capital losses), and we cannot pass such net operating losses through to our stockholders.

We may have difficulty paying our required distributions under applicable tax rules if we recognize income before or without receiving cash representing such income.

In accordance with U.S. federal tax requirements, we include in income for tax purposes certain amounts that we have not yet received in cash, such as contractual PIK interest arrangements, which represents contractual interest added to a loan balance and due at the end of such loan’s term. In addition to the cash yields received on our loans, in some instances, our loans generally include one or more of the following: end-of-term payments, exit fees, balloon payment fees, commitment fees, success fees or prepayment fees. In some cases our loans also include contractual PIK interest arrangements. The increases in loan balances as a result of contractual PIK arrangements are included in income for the period in which such PIK interest was accrued, which is often in advance of receiving cash payment, and are separately identified on our statements of cash flows. We also may be required to include in income for tax purposes certain other amounts prior to receiving the related cash.

Any warrants that we receive in connection with our debt investments will generally be valued as part of the negotiation process with the particular portfolio company. As a result, a portion of the aggregate purchase price for the debt investments and warrants will be allocated to the warrants that we receive. This will generally result in “original issue discount” for tax purposes, which we must recognize as ordinary income, increasing the amount that we are required to distribute to qualify for the federal income tax benefits applicable to RICs. Because these warrants generally will not produce distributable cash for us at the same time as we are required to make distributions in respect of the related OID, if ever, we would need to obtain cash from other sources or to pay a portion of our distributions using shares of newly issued common stock, consistent with IRS requirements, to satisfy such distribution requirements.

Other features of the debt instruments that we hold may also cause such instruments to generate original issue discount, resulting in a dividend distribution requirement in excess of current cash interest received. Since in certain cases we may recognize income before or without receiving cash representing such income, we may have difficulty meeting the RIC tax requirement to distribute generally an amount equal to at least 90% of our net ordinary income and realized net short-term capital gains in excess of realized net long-term capital losses, if any. Under such circumstances, we may have to sell some of our assets, raise additional debt or equity capital or reduce new investment originations to meet these distribution requirements. If we are unable to obtain cash from other sources and are otherwise unable to satisfy such distribution requirements, we may fail to qualify for the federal income tax benefits allowable to RICs and, thus, become subject to a corporate-level income tax on all our income.

There is a risk that you may not receive distributions or that our distributions may not grow over time.

We intend to make distributions on a quarterly basis to our stockholders. We cannot assure you that we will achieve investment results, or our business may not perform in a manner that will allow us to make a specified level of distributions or year-to-year increases in cash distributions. In addition, due to the asset coverage test applicable to us as a business development company, we may be limited in our ability to make distributions. Also, our Credit Facilities limit our ability to declare dividends if we default under certain provisions.

33


 

We have and may in the future choose to pay dividends in our own stock, in which case you may be required to pay tax in excess of the cash you receive.

Under applicable Treasury regulations and certain private rulings issued by the IRS, RICs are permitted to treat certain distributions payable in up to 80% in their stock, as taxable dividends that will satisfy their annual distribution obligations for federal income tax and excise tax purposes provided that shareholders have the opportunity to elect to receive the distribution in cash. Taxable stockholders receiving such dividends will be required to include the full amount of the dividend as ordinary income (or as long-term capital gain to the extent such distribution is properly designated as a capital gain dividend) to the extent of our current and accumulated earnings and profits for federal income tax purposes. As a result, a U.S. stockholder may be required to pay tax with respect to such dividends in excess of any cash received. If a U.S. stockholder sells the stock it receives as a dividend in order to pay this tax, the sales proceeds may be less than the amount included in income with respect to the dividend, depending on the market price of our stock at the time of the sale. Furthermore, with respect to non-U.S. stockholders, we may be required to withhold federal income tax with respect to such dividends, including in respect of all or a portion of such dividend that is payable in stock. In addition, if a significant number of our stockholders determine to sell shares of our stock in order to pay taxes owed on dividends, then such sales may put downward pressure on the trading price of our stock. We may in the future determine to distribute taxable dividends that are partially payable in our common stock.

We are exposed to risks associated with changes in interest rates, including fluctuations in interest rates which could adversely affect our profitability or the value of our portfolio

General interest rate fluctuations may have a substantial negative impact on our investments and investment opportunities, and, accordingly, may have a material adverse effect on our investment objective and rate of return on investment capital. A portion of our income will depend upon the difference between the rate at which we borrow funds and the interest rate on the debt securities in which we invest. Because we will borrow money to make investments and may issue debt securities, preferred stock or other securities, our net investment income is dependent upon the difference between the rate at which we borrow funds or pay interest or dividends on such debt securities, preferred stock or other securities and the rate at which we invest these funds. Typically, we anticipate that our interest-earning investments will accrue and pay interest at both variable and fixed rates, and that our interest-bearing liabilities will generally accrue interest at fixed rates.

A significant increase in market interest rates could harm our ability to attract new portfolio companies and originate new loans and investments. We expect that most of our current initial investments in debt securities will be at floating rate with a floor. However, in the event that we make investments in debt securities at variable rates, a significant increase in market interest rates could also result in an increase in our non-performing assets and a decrease in the value of our portfolio because our floating-rate loan portfolio companies may be unable to meet higher payment obligations. In periods of rising interest rates, our cost of funds would increase, resulting in a decrease in our net investment income. In addition, a decrease in interest rates may reduce net income, because new investments may be made at lower rates despite the increased demand for our capital that the decrease in interest rates may produce. We may, but will not be required to, hedge against the risk of adverse movement in interest rates in our short-term and long-term borrowings relative to our portfolio of assets. If we engage in hedging activities, it may limit our ability to participate in the benefits of lower interest rates with respect to the hedged portfolio. Adverse developments resulting from changes in interest rates or hedging transactions could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, and results of operations.

We may expose ourselves to risks if we engage in hedging transactions.

If we engage in hedging transactions, we may expose ourselves to risks associated with such transactions. We may utilize instruments such as forward contracts, currency options and interest rate swaps, caps, collars and floors to seek to hedge against fluctuations in the relative values of our portfolio positions from changes in currency exchange rates and market interest rates. Hedging against a decline in the values of our portfolio positions does not eliminate the possibility of fluctuations in the values of such positions or prevent losses if the values of such positions decline. However, such hedging can establish other positions designed to gain from those same developments, thereby offsetting the decline in the value of such portfolio positions. Such hedging transactions may also limit the opportunity for gain if the values of the underlying portfolio positions should increase. It may not be possible to hedge against an exchange rate or interest rate fluctuation that is so generally anticipated that we are not able to enter into a hedging transaction at an acceptable price. Moreover, for a variety of reasons, we may not seek to establish a perfect correlation between such hedging instruments

34


 

Our realized gains are reduced by amounts paid pursuant to the warrant participation agreement.

Citigroup Global Markets Realty Corp. (“Citigroup”), a former credit facility provider to Hercules, has an equity participation right through a warrant participation agreement (the “Warrant Participation Agreement”) on the pool of loans and certain warrants formerly collateralized under its then existing credit facility (the “Citibank Credit Facility”). Pursuant to the Warrant Participation Agreement, we granted to Citigroup a 10% participation in all warrants held as collateral. As a result, Citigroup is entitled to 10% of the realized gains on certain warrants until the realized gains paid to Citigroup pursuant to the agreement equals $3,750,000 (the “Maximum Participation Limit”). The obligations under the Warrant Participation Agreement continue even after the Citibank Credit Facility is terminated until the Maximum Participation Limit has been reached.

During the year ended December 31, 2014, we reduced our realized gain by approximately $465,000 for Citigroup’s participation in the realized gain on sale of equity securities that were obtained from exercising portfolio company warrants which were included in the collateral pool. We recorded a decrease on participation liability and an increase on unrealized appreciation by a net amount of approximately $270,000 as a result of depreciation of fair value on the pool of warrants as a result of the sale of shares in Acceleron Pharma, Inc., Merrimack Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Portola Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Everyday Health, Inc. that were subject to the agreement. The remaining value of their participation right on unrealized gains in the related equity investments was approximately $101,000 as of December 31, 2014 and is included in accrued liabilities. There can be no assurances that the unrealized appreciation of the warrants will not be higher or lower in future periods due to fluctuations in the value of the warrants, thereby increasing or reducing the effect on the cost of borrowing. Since inception of the agreement, we have paid approximately $2.1 million under the Warrant Participation Agreement thereby reducing our realized gains by this amount. We will continue to pay Citigroup under the Warrant Participation Agreement until the Maximum Participation Limit is reached or the warrants expire. Warrants subject to the Citigroup Warrant Participation Agreement are set to expire between February 2016 and January 2017.

Legislation may allow us to incur additional leverage.

As a business development company, under the 1940 Act generally we are not permitted to incur indebtedness unless immediately after such borrowing we have an asset coverage for total borrowings of at least 200% (i.e., the amount of debt may not exceed 50% of the value of our assets). If recent legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives  is passed, or similar legislation is introduced, it would modify this section of the 1940 Act and increase the amount of debt that business development companies may incur. As a result, we may be able to incur additional indebtedness in the future and therefore your risk of an investment in us may increase. However, the ultimate form and likely outcome of such legislation or any similar legislation cannot be predicted.

Two of our wholly-owned subsidiaries are licensed by the U.S. Small Business Administration, and as a result, we will be subject to SBA regulations.

Our wholly-owned subsidiaries HT II and HT III are licensed to act as SBICs and are regulated by the SBA. HT II and HT III hold approximately $150.5 million and $314.8 million in assets, respectively, and they accounted for approximately 9.1% and 19.1% of our total assets, respectively, prior to consolidation at December 31, 2014. The SBIC licenses allow our SBIC subsidiaries to obtain leverage by issuing SBA-guaranteed debentures, subject to the issuance of a capital commitment by the SBA and other customary procedures. The SBA regulations require, among other things, that a licensed SBIC be examined periodically and audited by an independent auditor to determine the SBIC’s compliance with the relevant SBA regulations.

Under current SBA regulations, a licensed SBIC can provide capital to those entities that have a tangible net worth not exceeding $19.5 million and an average annual net income after Federal income taxes not exceeding $6.0 million for the two most recent fiscal years. In addition, a licensed SBIC must devote 25.0% of its investment activity to those entities that have a tangible net worth not exceeding $6.0 million and an average annual net income after Federal income taxes not exceeding $2.0 million for the two most recent fiscal years. The SBA regulations also provide alternative size standard criteria to determine eligibility, which depend on the industry in which the business is engaged and are based on factors such as the number of employees and gross sales. The SBA regulations permit licensed SBICs to make long-term loans to small businesses, invest in the equity securities of such businesses and provide them with consulting and advisory services. The SBA also places certain limitations on the financing terms of investments by SBICs in portfolio companies and prohibits SBICs  from providing funds for certain purposes or to businesses in a few prohibited industries. Compliance with SBA requirements may cause HT II and HT III to forego attractive investment opportunities that are not permitted under SBA regulations.

35


 

Further, the SBA regulations require that a licensed SBIC be periodically examined and audited by the SBA to determine its compliance with the relevant SBA regulations. The SBA prohibits, without prior SBA approval, a “change of control” of an SBIC or transfers that would result in any person (or a group of persons acting in concert) owning 10.0% or more of a class of capital stock of a licensed SBIC. If either HT II or HT III fail to comply with applicable SBA regulations, the SBA could, depending on the severity of the violation, limit or prohibit HT II’s or HT III’s use of debentures, declare outstanding debentures immediately due and payable, and/ or limit HT II or HT III from making new investments. Such actions by the SBA would, in turn, negatively affect us because HT II and HT III are our wholly owned subsidiaries. HT II and HT III were in compliance with the terms of the SBIC’s leverage as of December 31, 2014 as a result of having sufficient capital as defined under the SBA regulations. See “Item 1. Business — Regulation—Small Business Administration Regulations.”

SBA regulations limit the outstanding dollar amount of SBA guaranteed debentures that may be issued by an SBIC or group of SBICs under common control.

The SBA regulations currently limit the dollar amount of SBA-guaranteed debentures that can be issued by any one SBIC to $150.0 million or to a group of SBICs under common control to $225.0 million. Bills have been proposed  in the U.S. Senate that would increase the total SBIC leverage capacity for affiliated SBIC funds from $225.0 million to $350.0 million. However, the ultimate form and likely outcome of such legislation or any similar legislation cannot be predicted.

An SBIC may not borrow an amount in excess of two times (and in certain cases, up to three times) its regulatory capital. As of December 31, 2014, we have issued $190.2 million in SBA-guaranteed debentures in our SBIC Subsidiaries, which is the maximum allowed for a group of SBICs under common control. During times that we reach the maximum dollar amount of SBA-guaranteed debentures permitted, and if we require additional capital, our cost of capital is likely to increase, and there is no assurance that we will be able to obtain additional financing on acceptable terms.

Moreover, the current status of our SBIC subsidiaries as SBICs does not automatically assure that our SBIC subsidiaries will continue to receive SBA-guaranteed debenture funding. Receipt of SBA leverage funding is dependent upon our SBIC subsidiaries continuing to be in compliance with SBA regulations and policies and available SBA funding. The amount of SBA leverage funding available to SBICs is dependent upon annual Congressional authorizations and in the future may be subject to annual Congressional appropriations. There can be no assurance that there will be sufficient debenture funding available at the times desired by our SBIC subsidiaries.

The debentures guaranteed by the SBA have a maturity of ten years and require semi-annual payments of interest. Our SBIC subsidiaries will need to generate sufficient cash flow to make required interest payments on the debentures. If our SBIC subsidiaries are unable to meet their financial obligations under the debentures, the SBA, as a creditor, will have a superior claim to our SBIC subsidiaries’ assets over our stockholders in the event we liquidate our SBIC subsidiaries or the SBA exercises its remedies under such debentures as the result of a default by us.

Our wholly-owned SBIC subsidiaries may be unable to make distributions to us that will enable us to maintain RIC status, which could result in the imposition of an entity-level tax.

In order for us to continue to qualify for RIC tax treatment and to minimize corporate-level taxes, we will be required to distribute substantially all of our net ordinary income and net capital gain income, including income from certain of our subsidiaries, which includes the income from our SBIC subsidiaries. We will be partially dependent on our SBIC subsidiaries for cash distributions to enable us to meet the RIC distribution requirements. Our SBIC subsidiaries may be limited by the Small Business Investment Act of 1958, and SBA regulations governing SBICs, from making certain distributions to us that may be necessary to maintain our status as a RIC. We may have to request a waiver of the SBA’s restrictions for our SBIC subsidiaries to make certain distributions to maintain our RIC status. We cannot assure you that the SBA will grant such waiver. If our SBIC subsidiaries are unable to obtain a waiver, compliance with the SBA regulations may result in loss of RIC tax treatment and a consequent imposition of an entity-level tax on us.

36


 

If we fail to maintain an effective system of internal control over financial reporting, we may not be able to accurately report our financial results or prevent fraud. As a result, stockholders could lose confidence in our financial and other public reporting, which would harm our business and the trading price of our common stock.

Effective internal controls over financial reporting are necessary for us to provide reliable financial reports and, together with adequate disclosure controls and procedures, are designed to prevent fraud. Any failure to implement required new or improved controls, or difficulties encountered in their implementation could cause us to fail to meet our reporting obligations. In addition, any testing by us conducted in connection with Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, or the subsequent testing by our independent registered public accounting firm (when undertaken, as noted below), may reveal deficiencies in our internal controls over financial reporting that are deemed to be material weaknesses or that may require prospective or retroactive changes to our consolidated financial statements or identify other areas for further attention or improvement. Inferior internal controls could also cause investors and lenders to lose confidence in our reported financial information, which could have a negative effect on the trading price of our common stock.

Our Board may change our investment objective, operating policies and strategies without prior notice or stockholder approval, the effects of which may be adverse.

Our Board has the authority, except as otherwise provided in the 1940 Act, to modify or waive certain of our operating policies and strategies without prior notice and without stockholder approval. However, absent stockholder approval, we may not change the nature of our business so as to cease to be, or withdraw our election as, a BDC. We cannot predict the effect any changes to our current operating policies and strategies would have on our business, operating results and the market price of our common stock. Nevertheless, any such changes could materially and adversely affect our business and impair our ability to make distributions to our stockholders.

Changes in laws or regulations governing our business could negatively affect the profitability of our operations.

Changes in the laws or regulations, or the interpretations of the laws and regulations, which govern business development companies, SBICs, RICs or non-depository commercial lenders could significantly affect our operations and our cost of doing business. We are subject to federal, state and local laws and regulations, in addition to applicable foreign and international laws and regulations, and are subject to judicial and administrative decisions that affect our operations, including our loan originations maximum interest rates, fees and other charges, disclosures to portfolio companies, the terms of secured transactions, collection and foreclosure procedures, and other trade practices. If these laws, regulations or decisions change, or if we expand our business into jurisdictions that have adopted more stringent requirements than those in which we currently conduct business, then we may have to incur significant expenses in order to comply or we may have to restrict our operations. In addition, if we do not comply with applicable laws, regulations and decisions, then we may lose licenses needed for the conduct of our business and be subject to civil fines and criminal penalties, any of which could have a material adverse effect upon our business results of operations or financial condition.

Our business is subject to increasingly complex corporate governance, public disclosure and accounting requirements that could adversely affect our business and financial results.

We are subject to changing rules and regulations of federal and state government as well as the stock exchange on which our common stock is listed. These entities, including the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, the SEC and the New York Stock Exchange, or NYSE, have issued a significant number of new and increasingly complex requirements and regulations over the course of the last several years and continue to develop additional regulations and requirements in response to laws enacted by Congress. On July 21, 2010, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Protection Act, or the Dodd-Frank Act, was enacted. There are significant corporate governance and executive compensation-related provisions in the Dodd-Frank Act, and the SEC has adopted, and will continue to adopt, additional rules and regulations that may impact us. Our efforts to comply with these requirements have resulted in, and are likely to continue to result in, an increase in expenses and a diversion of management’s time from other business activities.

In addition, our failure to keep pace with such rules, or for our management to appropriately address compliance with such rules fully and in a timely manner, exposes us to an increasing risk of inadvertent non-compliance.  While the Company’s management team takes reasonable efforts to ensure that the Company is in full compliance with all laws applicable to its operations, the increasing rate and extent of regulatory change increases the risk of a failure to comply, which may result in our ability to operate our business in the ordinary course or may subject us to potential fines, regulatory findings or other matters that may materially impact our business.

37


 

Results may fluctuate and may not be indicative of future performance.

Our operating results may fluctuate and, therefore, you should not rely on current or historical period results to be indicative of our performance in future reporting periods. Factors that could cause operating results to fluctuate include, but are not limited to, variations in the investment origination volume and fee income earned, changes in the accrual status of our debt investments, variations in timing of prepayments, variations in and the timing of the recognition of net realized gains or losses and changes in unrealized appreciation or depreciation, the level of our expenses, the degree to which we encounter competition in our markets, and general economic conditions.

We face cyber-security risks.

Our business operations rely upon secure information technology systems for data processing, storage and reporting. Despite careful security and controls design, implementation and updating, our information technology systems could become subject to cyber-attacks. Network, system, application and data breaches could result in operational disruptions or information misappropriation, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.

 

 

The failure in cyber security systems, as well as the occurrence of events unanticipated in our disaster recovery systems and management continuity planning could impair our ability to conduct business effectively.

 

The occurrence of a disaster such as a cyber-attack, a natural catastrophe, an industrial accident, a terrorist attack or war, events unanticipated in our disaster recovery systems, or a support failure from external providers, could have an adverse effect on our ability to conduct business and on our results of operations and financial condition, particularly if those events affect our computer-based data processing, transmission, storage, and retrieval systems or destroy data. If a significant number of our managers were unavailable in the event of a disaster, our ability to effectively conduct our business could be severely compromised.

 

We depend heavily upon computer systems to perform necessary business functions. Despite our implementation of a variety of security measures, our computer systems could be subject to cyber-attacks and unauthorized access, such as physical and electronic break-ins or unauthorized tampering. Like other companies, we may experience threats to our data and systems, including malware and computer virus attacks, unauthorized access, system failures and disruptions. If one or more of these events occurs, it could potentially jeopardize the confidential, proprietary and other information processed and stored in, and transmitted through, our computer systems and networks, or otherwise cause interruptions or malfunctions in our operations, which could result in damage to our reputation, financial losses, litigation, increased costs, regulatory penalties and/or customer dissatisfaction or loss.

We are dependent on information systems and systems failures could significantly disrupt our business, which may, in turn, negatively affect the market price of our common stock and our ability to pay dividends.

Our business is dependent on our and third parties’ communications and information systems. Any failure or interruption of those systems, including as a result of the termination of an agreement with any third-party service providers, could cause delays or other problems in our activities. Our financial, accounting, data processing, backup or other operating systems and facilities may fail to operate properly or become disabled or damaged as a result of a number of factors including events that are wholly or partially beyond our control and adversely affect our business. There could be:

·

sudden electrical or telecommunication outages;

·

natural disasters such as earthquakes, tornadoes and hurricanes;

·

disease pandemics;

·

events arising from local or larger scale political or social matters, including terrorist acts; and

·

cyber-attacks.

These events, in turn, could have a material adverse effect on our operating results and negatively affect the market price of our common stock and our ability to pay dividends to our stockholders.

 

38


 

Risks Related to Current Economic and Market Conditions

Capital markets may experience periods of disruption and instability and we cannot predict when these conditions will occur. Such market conditions could materially and adversely affect debt and equity capital markets in the United States and abroad, which could have a negative impact on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

The global capital markets have experienced a period of disruption as evidenced by a lack of liquidity in the debt capital markets, write-offs in the financial services sector, the re-pricing of credit risk and the failure of certain major financial institutions. While the capital markets have improved, these conditions could deteriorate again in the future. During such market disruptions, we may have difficulty raising debt or equity capital, especially as a result of regulatory constraints.

Market conditions may in the future make it difficult to extend the maturity of or refinance our existing indebtedness and any failure to do so could have a material adverse effect on our business. The illiquidity of our investments may make it difficult for us to sell such investments if required. As a result, we may realize significantly less than the value at which we have recorded our investments. In addition, significant changes in the capital markets, including the disruption and volatility, have had, and may in the future have, a negative effect on the valuations of our investments and on the potential for liquidity events involving our investments. An inability to raise capital, and any required sale of our investments for liquidity purposes, could have a material adverse impact on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Various social and political tensions in the United States and around the world, including in the Middle East, Eastern Europe and Russia, may continue to contribute to increased market volatility, may have long-term effects on the United States and worldwide financial markets, and may cause further economic uncertainties or deterioration in the United States and worldwide. Several European Union (“EU”) countries, including Greece, Ireland, Italy, Spain, and Portugal, continue to face budget issues, some of which may have negative long-term effects for the economies of those countries and other EU countries. There is also continued concern about national-level support for the euro and the accompanying coordination of fiscal and wage policy among European Economic and Monetary Union member countries. The recent United States and global economic downturn, or a return to the recessionary period in the United States, could adversely impact our investments. We cannot predict the duration of the effects related to these or similar events in the future on the United States economy and securities markets or on our investments. We monitor developments and seek to manage our investments in a manner consistent with achieving our investment objective, but there can be no assurance that we will be successful in doing so.

Depending on funding requirements, we may need to raise additional capital to meet our unfunded commitments either through equity offerings or through additional borrowings.

As of December 31, 2014, we had unfunded debt commitments of approximately $339.0 million. Approximately $191.3 million of these unfunded contractual commitments are dependent upon the portfolio company reaching certain milestones before the contractual commitment becomes available. These commitments will be subject to the same underwriting and ongoing portfolio maintenance as are the on-balance sheet financial instruments that we hold. Since these commitments may expire without being drawn upon, the total commitment amount does not necessarily represent future cash requirements or future earning assets. Closed commitments generally fund 70-80% of the committed amount in aggregate over the life of the commitment. We intend to use cash flow from normal and early principal repayments, SBA debentures, our Credit Facilities and proceeds from the Convertible Senior Notes, 2019 Notes, 2024 Notes, and the Asset-Backed Notes to fund these commitments. However, there can be no assurance that we will have sufficient capital available to fund these commitments as they come due.

Our ability to secure additional financing and satisfy our financial obligations under indebtedness outstanding from time to time will depend upon our future operating performance, which is subject to the prevailing general economic and credit market conditions, including interest rate levels and the availability of credit generally, and financial, business and other factors, many of which are beyond our control. The prolonged continuation or worsening of current economic and capital market conditions could have a material adverse effect on our ability to secure financing on favorable terms, if at all.

Changes relating to the LIBOR calculation process may adversely affect the value of our portfolio of the LIBOR-indexed, floating-rate debt securities.

In the recent past, concerns have been publicized that some of the member banks surveyed by the British Bankers’ Association (“BBA”) in connection with the calculation of LIBOR across a range of maturities and currencies may have been under-reporting or otherwise manipulating the inter-bank lending rate applicable to them in order to profit on their derivatives positions or to avoid an appearance of capital insufficiency or adverse reputational or other consequences that may have resulted from reporting inter-bank lending rates higher than those they actually submitted. A number of BBA member banks entered into settlements with their regulators and law enforcement agencies with respect to alleged manipulation of LIBOR, and investigations by regulators and governmental authorities in various jurisdictions are ongoing.

39


 

Actions by the BBA, regulators or law enforcement agencies as a result of these or future events, may result in changes to the manner in which LIBOR is determined. Potential changes, or uncertainty related to such potential changes may adversely affect the market for LIBOR-based securities, including our portfolio of LIBOR-indexed, floating-rate debt securities. In addition, any further changes or reforms to the determination or supervision of LIBOR may result in a sudden or prolonged increase or decrease in reported LIBOR, which could have an adverse impact on the market for LIBOR-based securities or the value of our portfolio of LIBOR-indexed, floating-rate debt securities.

Risks Related to Our Investments

Our investments are concentrated in certain industries and in a number of technology-related companies, which subjects us to the risk of significant loss if any of these companies default on their obligations under any of their debt securities that we hold, or if any of the technology-related industry sectors experience a downturn.

We have invested and intend to continue investing in a limited number of technology-related companies. A consequence of this limited number of investments is that the aggregate returns we realize may be significantly adversely affected if a small number of investments perform poorly or if we need to write down the value of any one investment. Beyond the asset diversification requirements to which we will be subject as a RIC, we do not have fixed guidelines for diversification or limitations on the size of our investments in any one portfolio company and our investments could be concentrated in relatively few issuers. In addition, we have invested in and intend to continue investing, under normal circumstances, at least 80% of the value of our total assets (including the amount of any borrowings for investment purposes) in technology-related companies.

As of December 31, 2014, approximately 60.7% of the fair value of our portfolio was composed of investments in four industries: 26.2% was composed of investments in the drug discovery and development industry, 13.5% was composed of investments in the medical device and equipment industry, 12.3% was composed of investments in the software industry and 8.7% was composed of investments in the drug delivery industry.

As a result, a downturn in technology-related industry sectors and particularly those in which we are heavily concentrated could materially adversely affect our financial condition.

Our financial results could be negatively affected if a significant portfolio investment fails to perform as expected.

Our total investment in companies may be significant individually or in the aggregate. As a result, if a significant investment in one or more companies fails to perform as expected, our financial results could be more negatively affected and the magnitude of the loss could be more significant than if we had made smaller investments in more companies. The following table shows the fair value of the totals of investments held in portfolio companies at December 31, 2014 that represent greater than 5% of our net assets:

 

 

December 31, 2014

 

(in thousands)

Fair Value

 

 

Percentage of

Net Assets

 

Merrimack Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

 

40,677

 

 

 

6.2

%

IronPlanet, Inc.

 

37,412

 

 

 

5.7

%

Alimera Sciences, Inc.

 

34,085

 

 

 

5.2

%

 

Merrimack Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company discovering, developing and preparing to commercialize innovative medicines paired with companion diagnostics for the treatment of serious diseases, with an initial focus on cancer.

IronPlanet, Inc. is a consumer and business products company that operates an online marketplace for used heavy equipment.

Alimera Sciences, Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company that specializes in the research, development and commercialization of prescription ophthalmic pharmaceuticals.

Our financial results could be materially adversely affected if these portfolio companies or any of our other significant portfolio companies encounter financial difficulty and fail to repay their obligations or to perform as expected.

40


 

Our investments may be in portfolio companies that have limited operating histories and resources.

We expect that our portfolio will continue to consist of investments that may have relatively limited operating histories. These companies may be particularly vulnerable to U.S. and foreign economic downturns may have more limited access to capital and higher funding costs, may have a weaker financial position and may need more capital to expand or compete. These businesses also may experience substantial variations in operating results. They may face intense competition, including from larger, more established companies with greater financial, technical and marketing resources. Furthermore, some of these companies do business in regulated industries and could be affected by changes in government regulation applicable to their given industry. Accordingly, these factors could impair their cash flow or result in other events, such as bankruptcy, which could limit their ability to repay their obligations to us, and may adversely affect the return on, or the recovery of, our investment in these companies. We cannot assure you that any of our investments in our portfolio companies will be successful. We may lose our entire investment in any or all of our portfolio companies.

Investing in publicly traded companies can involve a high degree of risk and can be speculative.

We have invested, and expect to continue to invest, a portion of our portfolio in publicly traded companies or companies that are in the process of completing their initial public offering, or IPO. As publicly traded companies, the securities of these companies may not trade at high volumes, and prices can be volatile, which may restrict our ability to sell our positions and may have a material adverse impact on us.

Our ability to invest in public companies may be limited in certain circumstances.

To maintain our status as a BDC, we are not permitted to acquire any assets other than “qualifying assets” specified in the 1940 Act unless, at the time the acquisition is made, at least 70% of our total assets are qualifying assets (with certain limited exceptions). Subject to certain exceptions for follow-on investments and distressed companies, an investment in an issuer that has outstanding securities listed on a national securities exchange may be treated as a qualifying asset only if such issuer has a market capitalization that is less than $250 million at the time of such investment and meets the other specified requirements.

Our investment strategy focuses on technology-related companies, which are subject to many risks, including volatility, intense competition, shortened product life cycles, changes in regulatory and governmental programs and periodic downturns, and you could lose all or part of your investment.

We have invested and will continue investing primarily in technology-related companies, many of which may have narrow product lines and small market shares, which tend to render them more vulnerable to competitors’ actions and market conditions, as well as to general economic downturns. The revenues, income (or losses), and valuations of technology-related companies can and often do fluctuate suddenly and dramatically. In addition, technology-related industries are generally characterized by abrupt business cycles and intense competition. Overcapacity in technology-related industries, together with cyclical economic downturns, may result in substantial decreases in the market capitalization of many technology-related companies. Such decreases in market capitalization may occur again, and any future decreases in technology-related company valuations may be substantial and may not be temporary in nature. Therefore, our portfolio companies may face considerably more risk of loss than do companies in other industry sectors.

Because of rapid technological change, the average selling prices of products and some services provided by technology-related companies have historically decreased over their productive lives. As a result, the average selling prices of products and services offered by technology-related companies may decrease over time, which could adversely affect their operating results, their ability to meet obligations under their debt securities and the value of their equity securities. This could, in turn, materially adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

A natural disaster may also impact the operations of our portfolio companies, including our technology-related portfolio companies. The nature and level of natural disasters cannot be predicted and may be exacerbated by global climate change. A portion of our technology-related portfolio companies rely on items assembled or produced in areas susceptible to natural disasters, and may sell finished goods into markets susceptible to natural disasters. A major disaster, such as an earthquake, tsunami, flood or other catastrophic event could result in disruption to the business and operations of our technology-related portfolio companies.

We will invest in technology-related companies that are reliant on U.S. and foreign regulatory and governmental programs. Any material changes or discontinuation, due to change in administration or U.S. Congress or otherwise could have a material adverse effect on the operations of a portfolio company in these industries and, in turn, impair our ability to timely collect principal and interest payments owed to us to the extent applicable.

41


 

We have invested in and may continue investing in technology-related companies that do not have venture capital or private equity firms as equity investors, and these companies may entail a higher risk of loss than do companies with institutional equity investors, which could increase the risk of loss of your investment.

Our portfolio companies will often require substantial additional equity financing to satisfy their continuing working capital and other cash requirements and, in most instances, to service the interest and principal payments on our investment. Portfolio companies that do not have venture capital or private equity investors may be unable to raise any additional capital to satisfy their obligations or to raise sufficient additional capital to reach the next stage of development. Portfolio companies that do not have venture capital or private equity investors may be less financially sophisticated and may not have access to independent members to serve on their boards, which means that they may be less successful than portfolio companies sponsored by venture capital or private equity firms. Accordingly, financing these types of companies may entail a higher risk of loss than would financing companies that are sponsored by venture capital or private equity firms.

Our investments in the energy technology industry are subject to many risks, including volatility, intense competition, unproven technologies, periodic downturns and potential litigation.

Our investments in energy technology companies are subject to substantial operational risks, such as underestimated cost projections, unanticipated operation and maintenance expenses, loss of government subsidies, and inability to deliver cost-effective alternative energy solutions compared to traditional energy products. In addition, energy technology companies employ a variety of means of increasing cash flow, including increasing utilization of existing facilities, expanding operations through new construction or acquisitions, or securing additional long-term contracts. Thus, some energy companies may be subject to construction risk, acquisition risk or other risks arising from their specific business strategies. Furthermore, production levels for solar, wind and other renewable energies may be dependent upon adequate sunlight, wind, or biogas production, which can vary from market to market and period to period, resulting in volatility in production levels and profitability. In addition, our energy technology companies may have narrow product lines and small market shares, which tend to render them more vulnerable to competitors’ actions and market conditions, as well as to general economic downturns. The revenues, income (or losses) and valuations of energy technology companies can and often do fluctuate suddenly and dramatically and the markets in which energy technology companies operate are generally characterized by abrupt business cycles and intense competition. Demand for energy technology and renewable energy is also influenced by the available supply and prices for other energy products, such as coal, oil and natural gases. A change in prices in these energy products could reduce demand for alternative energy. Our investments in energy technology companies also face potential litigation, including significant warranty and product liability claims, as well as class action and government claims arising from the increased attention to the industry from the failure of Solyndra. Such litigation could adversely affect the business and results of operations of our energy technology portfolio companies. There is also particular uncertainty about whether agreements providing incentives for reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, such as the Kyoto Protocol, will continue and whether countries around the world will enact or maintain legislation that provides incentives for reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, without which such investments in energy technology dependent portfolio companies may not be economical or financing for such projects may become unavailable. As a result, these portfolio company investments face considerable risk, including the risk that favorable regulatory regimes expire or are adversely modified. This could, in turn, materially adversely affect the value of the energy technology companies in our portfolio.

Energy technology companies are subject to extensive government regulation and certain other risks particular to the sectors in which they operate and our business and growth strategy could be adversely affected if government regulations, priorities and resources impacting such sectors change or if our portfolio companies fail to comply with such regulations.

As part of our investment strategy, we plan to invest in portfolio companies in energy technology sectors that may be subject to extensive regulation by foreign, U.S. federal, state and/or local agencies. Changes in existing laws, rules or regulations, or judicial or administrative interpretations thereof, or new laws, rules or regulations could have an adverse impact on the business and industries of our portfolio companies. In addition, changes in government priorities or limitations on government resources could also adversely impact our portfolio companies. We are unable to predict whether any such changes in laws, rules or regulations will occur and, if they do occur, the impact of these changes on our portfolio companies and our investment returns. Furthermore, if any of our portfolio companies fail to comply with applicable regulations, they could be subject to significant penalties and claims that could materially and adversely affect their operations. Our portfolio companies may be subject to the expense, delay and uncertainty of the regulatory approval process for their products and, even if approved, these products may not be accepted in the marketplace.

In addition, there is considerable uncertainty about whether foreign, U.S., state and/or local governmental entities will enact or maintain legislation or regulatory programs that mandate reductions in greenhouse gas emissions or provide incentives for energy technology companies. Without such regulatory policies, investments in Energy Technology companies may not be economical and financing for energy technology companies may become unavailable, which could materially adversely affect the ability of our portfolio companies to repay the debt they owe to us. Any of these factors could materially and adversely affect the operations and financial condition of a portfolio company and, in turn, the ability of the portfolio company to repay the debt they owe to us.

42


 

Cyclicality within the energy sector may adversely affect some of our portfolio companies.

 

Industries within the energy sector are cyclical with fluctuations in commodity prices and demand for, and production of commodities driven by a variety of factors. The highly cyclical nature of the industries within the energy sector may lead to volatile changes in commodity prices, which may adversely affect the earnings of energy companies in which we may invest and the performance and valuation of our portfolio.

Volatility of oil and natural gas prices could impair certain of our portfolio companies’ operations and ability to satisfy obligations to their respective lenders and investors, including us, which could negatively impact our financial condition.

Some of our portfolio companies’ businesses are heavily dependent upon the prices of, and demand for, oil and natural gas, which have recently declined significantly and such volatility could continue or increase in the future. A substantial or extended decline in oil and natural gas demand or prices may adversely affect the business, financial condition, cash flow, liquidity or results of operations of these portfolio companies and might impair their ability to meet capital expenditure obligations and financial commitments. A prolonged or continued decline in oil prices could therefore have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations

Our investments in the life science industry are subject to extensive government regulation, litigation risk and certain other risks particular to that industry.

We have invested and plan to continue investing in companies in the life science industry that are subject to extensive regulation by the Food and Drug Administration, or the FDA, and to a lesser extent, other federal, state and other foreign agencies. If any of these portfolio companies fail to comply with applicable regulations, they could be subject to significant penalties and claims that could materially and adversely affect their operations. Portfolio companies that produce medical devices or drugs are subject to the expense, delay and uncertainty of the regulatory approval process for their products and, even if approved, these products may not be accepted in the marketplace. In addition, governmental budgetary constraints effecting the regulatory approval process, new laws, regulations or judicial interpretations of existing laws and regulations might adversely affect a portfolio company in this industry. Portfolio companies in the life science industry may also have a limited number of suppliers of necessary components or a limited number of manufacturers for their products, and therefore face a risk of disruption to their manufacturing process if they are unable to find alternative suppliers when needed. Any of these factors could materially and adversely affect the operations of a portfolio company in this industry and, in turn, impair our ability to timely collect principal and interest payments owed to us.

Our investments in the drug discovery industry are subject to numerous risks, including competition, extensive government regulation, product liability and commercial difficulties.

Our investments in the drug discovery industry are subject to numerous risks. The successful and timely implementation of the business model of our drug discovery portfolio companies depends on their ability to adapt to changing technologies and introduce new products. As competitors continue to introduce competitive products, the development and acquisition of innovative products and technologies that improve efficacy, safety, patient’s and clinician’s ease of use and cost-effectiveness are important to the success of such portfolio companies. The success of new product offerings will depend on many factors, including the ability to properly anticipate and satisfy customer needs, obtain regulatory approvals on a timely basis, develop and manufacture products in an economic and timely manner, obtain or maintain advantageous positions with respect to intellectual property, and differentiate products from those of competitors. Failure by our portfolio companies to introduce planned products or other new products or to introduce products on schedule could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Further, the development of products by drug discovery companies requires significant research and development, clinical trials and regulatory approvals. The results of product development efforts may be affected by a number of factors, including the ability to innovate, develop and manufacture new products, complete clinical trials, obtain regulatory approvals and reimbursement in the US and abroad, or gain and maintain market approval of products. In addition, regulatory review processes by U.S. and foreign agencies may extend longer than anticipated as a result of decreased funding and tighter fiscal budgets. Further, patents attained by others can preclude or delay the commercialization of a product. There can be no assurance that any products now in development will achieve technological feasibility, obtain regulatory approval, or gain market acceptance. Failure can occur at any point in the development process, including after significant funds have been invested. Products may fail to reach the market or may have only limited commercial success because of efficacy or safety concerns, failure to achieve positive clinical outcomes, inability to obtain necessary regulatory approvals, failure to achieve market adoption, limited scope of approved uses, excessive costs to manufacture, the failure to establish or maintain intellectual property rights, or the infringement of intellectual property rights of others.

43


 

Future legislation, and/or regulations and policies adopted by the FDA or other U.S. or foreign regulatory authorities may increase the time and cost required by some of our portfolio companies to conduct and complete clinical trials for the product candidates that they develop, and there is no assurance that these companies will obtain regulatory approval to market and commercialize their products in the U.S. and in foreign countries

The FDA has established regulations, guidelines and policies to govern the drug development and approval process, as have foreign regulatory authorities, which affect some of our portfolio companies. Any change in regulatory requirements due to the adoption by the FDA and/or foreign regulatory authorities of new legislation, regulations, or policies may require some of our portfolio companies to amend existing clinical trial protocols or add new clinical trials to comply with these changes. Such amendments to existing protocols and/or clinical trial applications or the need for new ones, may significantly impact the cost, timing and completion of the clinical trials.

In addition, increased scrutiny by the U.S. Congress of the FDA’s and other authorities approval processes may significantly delay or prevent regulatory approval, as well as impose more stringent product labeling and post-marketing testing and other requirements. Foreign regulatory authorities may also increase their scrutiny of approval processes resulting in similar delays. Increased scrutiny and approvals processes may limit the ability of our portfolio companies to market and commercialize their products in the U.S. and in foreign countries.

Life science companies, including drug development companies, device manufacturers, service providers and others, are also subject to material pressures when there are changes in the outlook for healthcare insurance markets.  The ability for individuals, along with private and public insurers, to account for the costs of paying for healthcare insurance can place strain on the ability of new technology, devices and services to enter those markets, particularly when they are new or untested.  As a result, it is not uncommon for changes in the insurance market place to lead to a slower rate of adoption, price pressure and other forces that may materially limit the success of companies bringing such technologies to market.  Changes in the health insurance sector might then have an impact on the value of companies in our portfolio or our ability to invest in the sector generally.

Changes in healthcare laws and other regulations, or the enforcement or interpretation of such laws or regulations, applicable to some of our portfolio companies’ businesses may constrain their ability to offer their products and services.

Changes in healthcare or other laws and regulations, or the enforcement or interpretation of such laws or regulations, applicable to the businesses of some of our portfolio companies may occur that could increase their compliance and other costs of doing business, require significant systems enhancements, or render their products or services less profitable or obsolete, any of which could have a material adverse effect on their results of operations. There has also been an increased political and regulatory focus on healthcare laws in recent years, and new legislation could have a material effect on the business and operations of some of our portfolio companies.

Price declines and illiquidity in the corporate debt markets could adversely affect the fair value of our portfolio investments, reducing our net asset value through increased net unrealized depreciation.

As a business development company, we are required to carry our investments at market value or, if no market value is ascertainable, at fair market value as determined in good faith by or under the direction of our board of directors. As part of the valuation process, we may take into account the following types of factors, if relevant, in determining the fair value of our investments: the enterprise value of a portfolio company (an estimate of the total fair value of the portfolio company’s debt and equity), the nature and realizable value of any collateral, the portfolio company’s ability to make payments and its earnings and discounted cash flow, the markets in which the portfolio company does business, a comparison of the portfolio company’s securities to similar publicly traded securities, changes in the interest rate environment and the credit markets generally that may affect the price at which similar investments may be made in the future and other relevant factors. When an external event such as a purchase transaction, public offering or subsequent equity sale occurs, we use the pricing indicated by the external event to corroborate our valuation. While most of our investments are not publicly traded, applicable accounting standards require us to assume as part of our valuation process that our investments are sold in a principal market to market participants (even if we plan on holding an investment through its maturity). As a result, volatility in the capital markets can also adversely affect our investment valuations. Decreases in the market values or fair values of our investments are recorded as unrealized depreciation. The effect of all of these factors on our portfolio can reduce our net asset value by increasing net unrealized depreciation in our portfolio.

Depending on market conditions, we could incur substantial realized losses and may suffer substantial unrealized depreciation in future periods, which could have a material adverse impact on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

44


 

Economic recessions or slowdowns could impair the ability of our portfolio companies to repay loans, which, in turn, could increase our non-performing assets, decrease the value of our portfolio, reduce our volume of new loans and have a material adverse effect on our results of operations.

Many of our portfolio companies may be susceptible to economic slowdowns or recessions in both the U.S. and foreign countries, and may be unable to repay our loans during such periods. Therefore, during such periods, our non-performing assets are likely to increase and the value of our portfolio is likely to decrease. Adverse economic conditions also may decrease the value of collateral securing some of our loans and the value of our equity investments. Economic slowdowns or recessions could lead to financial losses in our portfolio and a decrease in revenues, net income and assets. Unfavorable economic conditions also could increase our funding costs, limit our access to the capital markets or result in a decision by lenders not to extend credit to us. These events could prevent us from increasing investments and harm our operating results.

In particular, intellectual property owned or controlled by our portfolio companies may constitute an important portion of the value of the collateral of our loans to our portfolio companies. Adverse economic conditions may decrease the demand for our portfolio companies’ intellectual property and consequently its value in the event of a bankruptcy or required sale through a foreclosure proceeding. As a result, our ability to fully recover the amounts owed to us under the terms of the loans may be impaired by such events.

A portfolio company’s failure to satisfy financial or operating covenants imposed by us or other lenders could lead to defaults and, potentially, termination of the portfolio company’s loans and foreclosure on its secured assets, which could trigger cross-defaults under other agreements and jeopardize the portfolio company’s ability to meet its obligations under the debt securities that we hold. We may incur expenses to the extent necessary to seek recovery upon default or to negotiate new terms with a defaulting portfolio company.

The health and performance of our portfolio companies could be adversely affected by political and economic conditions in the countries in which they conduct business.

Some of the products of our portfolio companies are developed, manufactured, assembled, tested or marketed outside the U.S. Any conflict or uncertainty in these countries, including due to natural disasters, public health concerns, political unrest or safety concerns, among other things, could harm their business, financial condition and results of operations. In addition, if the government of any country in which their products are developed, manufactured or sold sets technical or regulatory standards for products developed or manufactured in or imported into their country that are not widely shared, it may lead some of their customers to suspend imports of their products into that country, require manufacturers or developers in that country to manufacture or develop products with different technical or regulatory standards and disrupt cross-border manufacturing, marketing or business relationships which, in each case, could harm their businesses.

Any unrealized losses we experience on our investment portfolio may be an indication of future realized losses, which could reduce our income available for distribution and could impair our ability to service our borrowings.

As a business development company, we are required to carry our investments at market value or, if no market value is ascertainable, at fair value as determined in good faith by our Board of Directors. Decreases in the market values or fair values of our investments will be recorded as unrealized depreciation. Any unrealized depreciation in our investment portfolio could be an indication of a portfolio company’s inability to meet its repayment obligations to us with respect to the affected investments. This could result in realized losses in the future and ultimately in reductions of our income available for distribution in future periods and could materially adversely affect our ability to service our outstanding borrowings.

A lack of initial public offering, or IPO, opportunities may cause companies to stay in our portfolio longer, leading to lower returns, unrealized depreciation, or realized losses.

A lack of IPO opportunities for venture capital-backed companies could lead to companies staying longer in our portfolio as private entities still requiring funding. This situation may adversely affect the amount of available funding for early-stage companies in particular as, in general, venture-capital firms are being forced to provide additional financing to late-stage companies that cannot complete an IPO. In the best case, such stagnation would dampen returns, and in the worst case, could lead to unrealized depreciation and realized losses as some companies run short of cash and have to accept lower valuations in private fundings or are not able to access additional capital at all. A lack of IPO opportunities for venture capital-backed companies can also cause some venture capital firms to change their strategies, leading some of them to reduce funding of their portfolio companies and making it more difficult for such companies to access capital and to fulfill their potential, which can result in unrealized depreciation and realized losses in such companies by other companies such as ourselves who are co-investors in such companies.

45


 

The majority of our portfolio companies will need multiple rounds of additional financing to repay their debts to us and continue operations. Our portfolio companies may not be able to raise additional financing, which could harm our investment returns.

The majority of our portfolio companies will often require substantial additional equity financing to satisfy their continuing working capital and other cash requirements and, in most instances, to service the interest and principal payments on our investment. Each round of venture financing is typically intended to provide a company with only enough capital to reach the next stage of development. We cannot predict the circumstances or market conditions under which our portfolio companies will seek additional capital. It is possible that one or more of our portfolio companies will not be able to raise additional financing or may be able to do so only at a price or on terms unfavorable to us, either of which would negatively impact our investment returns. Some of these companies may be unable to obtain sufficient financing from private investors, public capital markets or traditional lenders. This may have a significant impact if the companies are unable to obtain certain federal, state or foreign agency approval for their products or the marketing thereof, of if regulatory review processes extend longer than anticipated, and the companies need continued funding for their operations during these times. Accordingly, financing these types of companies may entail a higher risk of loss than would financing companies that are able to utilize traditional credit sources.

If the assets securing the loans that we make decrease in value, then we may lack sufficient collateral to cover losses.

To attempt to mitigate credit risks, we will typically take a security interest in the available assets of our portfolio companies. There is no assurance that we will obtain or properly perfect our liens.

There is a risk that the collateral securing our loans may decrease in value over time, may be difficult to sell in a timely manner, may be difficult to appraise and may fluctuate in value based upon the success of the business and market conditions, including as a result of the inability of a portfolio company to raise additional capital. In some circumstances, our lien could be subordinated to claims of other creditors. Consequently, the fact that a loan is secured does not guarantee that we will receive principal and interest payments according to the loan’s terms, or that we will be able to collect on the loan should we be forced to enforce our remedies.

In addition, because we invest in technology-related companies, a substantial portion of the assets securing our investment may be in the form of intellectual property, if any, inventory and equipment and, to a lesser extent, cash and accounts receivable. Intellectual property, if any, that is securing our loan could lose value if, among other things, the company’s rights to the intellectual property are challenged or if the company’s license to the intellectual property is revoked or expires, the technology fails to achieve its intended results or a new technology makes the intellectual property functionally obsolete. Inventory may not be adequate to secure our loan if our valuation of the inventory at the time that we made the loan was not accurate or if there is a reduction in the demand for the inventory.  

Similarly, any equipment securing our loan may not provide us with the anticipated security if there are changes in technology or advances in new equipment that render the particular equipment obsolete or of limited value, or if the company fails to adequately maintain or repair the equipment. Any one or more of the preceding factors could materially impair our ability to recover earned interest and principal in a foreclosure.

At December 31, 2014, approximately 54.2% of the Company’s portfolio company debt investments were secured by a first priority security in all of the assets of the portfolio company, including their intellectual property, and 45.8% of the debt investments were to portfolio companies that were prohibited from pledging or encumbering their intellectual property, or subject to a negative pledge. At December 31, 2014 the Company had no equipment only liens on any of the Company’s portfolio companies.

We may suffer a loss if a portfolio company defaults on a loan and the underlying collateral is not sufficient.

In the event of a default by a portfolio company on a secured loan, we will only have recourse to the assets collateralizing the loan. If the underlying collateral value is less than the loan amount, we will suffer a loss. In addition, we sometimes make loans that are unsecured, which are subject to the risk that other lenders may be directly secured by the assets of the portfolio company. In the event of a default, those collateralized lenders would have priority over us with respect to the proceeds of a sale of the underlying assets. In cases described above, we may lack control over the underlying asset collateralizing our loan or the underlying assets of the portfolio company prior to a default, and as a result the value of the collateral may be reduced by acts or omissions by owners or managers of the assets.

46


 

In the event of bankruptcy of a portfolio company, we may not have full recourse to its assets in order to satisfy our loan, or our loan may be subject to “equitable subordination.” This means that depending on the facts and circumstances, including the extent to which we actually provided significant “managerial assistance,” if any, to that portfolio company, a bankruptcy court might re-characterize our debt holding and subordinate all or a portion of our claim to that of other creditors. In addition, certain of our loans are subordinate to other debt of the portfolio company. If a portfolio company defaults on our loan or on debt senior to our loan, or in the event of a portfolio company bankruptcy, our loan will be satisfied only after the senior debt receives payment. Where debt senior to our loan exists, the presence of intercreditor arrangements may limit our ability to amend our loan documents, assign our loans, accept prepayments, exercise our remedies (through “standstill” periods) and control decisions made in bankruptcy proceedings relating to the portfolio company. Bankruptcy and portfolio company litigation can significantly increase collection losses and the time needed for us to acquire the underlying collateral in the event of a default, during which time the collateral may decline in value, causing us to suffer losses.

If the value of collateral underlying our loan declines or interest rates increase during the term of our loan, a portfolio company may not be able to obtain the necessary funds to repay our loan at maturity through refinancing. Decreasing collateral value and/or increasing interest rates may hinder a portfolio company’s ability to refinance our loan because the underlying collateral cannot satisfy the debt service coverage requirements necessary to obtain new financing. If a borrower is unable to repay our loan at maturity, we could suffer a loss which may adversely impact our financial performance.

The inability of our portfolio companies to commercialize their technologies or create or develop commercially viable products or businesses would have a negative impact on our investment returns.

The possibility that our portfolio companies will not be able to commercialize their technology, products or business concepts presents significant risks to the value of our investment. Additionally, although some of our portfolio companies may already have a commercially successful product or product line when we invest, technology-related products and services often have a more limited market- or life-span than have products in other industries. Thus, the ultimate success of these companies often depends on their ability to continually innovate, or raise additional capital, in increasingly competitive markets. Their inability to do so could affect our investment return. In addition, the intellectual property held by our portfolio companies often represents a substantial portion of the collateral, if any, securing our investments. We cannot assure you that any of our portfolio companies will successfully acquire or develop any new technologies, or that the intellectual property the companies currently hold will remain viable. Even if our portfolio companies are able to develop commercially viable products, the market for new products and services is highly competitive and rapidly changing. Neither our portfolio companies nor we have any control over the pace of technology development. Commercial success is difficult to predict, and the marketing efforts of our portfolio companies may not be successful.

An investment strategy focused on privately-held companies presents certain challenges, including the lack of available information about these companies, a dependence on the talents and efforts of only a few key portfolio company personnel and a greater vulnerability to economic downturns.

We invest primarily in privately-held companies. Generally, very little public information exists about these companies, and we are required to rely on the ability of our management and investment teams to obtain adequate information to evaluate the potential returns from investing in these companies. Such small, privately held companies as we routinely invest in may also lack quality infrastructures, thus leading to poor disclosure standards or control environments. If we are unable to uncover all material information about these companies, then we may not make a fully informed investment decision, and we may not receive the expected return on our investment or lose some or all of the money invested in these companies.

Also, privately-held companies frequently have less diverse product lines and a smaller market presence than do larger competitors. Privately-held companies are, thus, generally more vulnerable to economic downturns and may experience more substantial variations in operating results than do larger competitors. These factors could affect our investment returns and our results of operations and financial condition.

In addition, our success depends, in large part, upon the abilities of the key management personnel of our portfolio companies, who are responsible for the day-to-day operations of our portfolio companies. Competition for qualified personnel is intense at any stage of a company’s development, and high turnover of personnel is common in technology-related companies. The loss of one or more key managers can hinder or delay a company’s implementation of its business plan and harm its financial condition. Our portfolio companies may not be able to attract and retain qualified managers and personnel. Any inability to do so may negatively impact our investment returns and our results of operations and financial condition.

47


 

If our portfolio companies are unable to protect their intellectual property rights, or are required to devote significant resources to protecting their intellectual property rights, then our investments could be harmed.

Our future success and competitive position depend in part upon the ability of our portfolio companies to obtain and maintain proprietary technology used in their products and services, which will often represent a significant portion of the collateral, if any, securing our investment. The portfolio companies will rely, in part, on patent, trade secret and trademark law to protect that technology, but competitors may misappropriate their intellectual property, and disputes as to ownership of intellectual property may arise. Portfolio companies may, from time to time, be required to institute litigation in order to enforce their patents, copyrights or other intellectual property rights, to protect their trade secrets, to determine the validity and scope of the proprietary rights of others or to defend against claims of infringement. Such litigation could result in substantial costs and diversion of resources. Similarly, if a portfolio company is found to infringe upon or misappropriate a third party’s patent or other proprietary rights, that portfolio company could be required to pay damages to such third party, alter its own products or processes, obtain a license from the third party and/or cease activities utilizing such proprietary rights, including making or selling products utilizing such proprietary rights. Any of the foregoing events could negatively affect both the portfolio company’s ability to service our debt investment and the value of any related debt and equity securities that we own, as well as any collateral securing our investment.

Our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows could be negatively affected if we are unable to recover our principal investment as a result of a negative pledge or lack of a security interest on the intellectual property of our venture growth stage companies.

In some cases, we collateralize our loans with a secured collateral position in a portfolio company's assets, which may include a negative pledge or, to a lesser extent, no security on their intellectual property. In the case of a negative pledge, the portfolio company cannot encumber or pledge their intellectual property without our permission. In the event of a default on a loan, the intellectual property of the portfolio company will most likely be liquidated to provide proceeds to pay the creditors of the company. There can be no assurance that our security interest, if any, in the proceeds of the intellectual property will be enforceable in a court of law or bankruptcy court or that there will not be others with senior or pari passu credit interests.

Our relationship with certain portfolio companies may expose us to our portfolio companies' trade secrets and confidential information which may require us to be parties to non-disclosure agreements and restrict us from engaging in certain transactions.

Our relationship with some of our portfolio companies may expose us to our portfolio companies' trade secrets and confidential information (including transactional data and personal data about their employees and clients) which may require us to be parties to non-disclosure agreements and restrict us from engaging in certain transactions. Unauthorized access or disclosure of such information may occur, resulting in theft, loss or other misappropriation. Any theft, loss, improper use, such as insider trading or other misappropriation of confidential information could have a material adverse impact on our competitive positions, our relationship with our portfolio companies and our reputation and could subject us to regulatory inquiries, enforcement and fines, civil litigation and possible financial liability or costs.

Portfolio company litigation could result in additional costs, the diversion of management time and resources and have an adverse impact on the fair value of our investment.

To the extent that litigation arises with respect to any of our portfolio companies, we may be named as a defendant, which could result in additional costs and the diversion of management time and resources. Furthermore, if we are providing managerial assistance to the portfolio company or have representatives on the portfolio company’s board of directors, our costs and diversion of our management’s time and resources in assessing the portfolio company could be substantial in light of any such litigation regardless of whether we are named as a defendant. In addition, litigation involving a portfolio company may be costly and affect the operations of the portfolio company’s business, which could in turn have an adverse impact on the fair value of our investment in such company.

We may not be able to realize our entire investment on equipment-based loans, if any, in the case of default.

We may from time-to-time provide loans that will be collateralized only by equipment of the portfolio company. If the portfolio company defaults on the loan we would take possession of the underlying equipment to satisfy the outstanding debt. The residual value of the equipment at the time we would take possession may not be sufficient to satisfy the outstanding debt and we could experience a loss on the disposition of the equipment.

48


 

Our investments in foreign securities may involve significant risks in addition to the risks inherent in U.S. investments.

Our investment strategy contemplates that a portion of our investments may be in securities of foreign companies. Our total investments at value in foreign companies were approximately $52.9 million or 5.2% of total investments at December 31, 2014. Investing in foreign companies may expose us to additional risks not typically associated with investing in U.S. companies. These risks include changes in exchange control regulations, political and social instability, expropriation, imposition of foreign taxes, less liquid markets and less available information than is generally the case in the U.S., higher transaction costs, less government supervision of exchanges, brokers and issuers, less developed bankruptcy laws, difficulty in enforcing contractual obligations, lack of uniform accounting and auditing standards and greater price volatility, among other things.

If our investments do not meet our performance expectations, you may not receive distributions.

We intend to make distributions on a quarterly basis to our stockholders. We may not be able to achieve operating results that will allow us to make distributions at a specific level or to increase the amount of these distributions from time to time. In addition, due to the asset coverage test applicable to us as a business development company, we may be limited in our ability to make distributions. Also, restrictions and provisions in any future credit facilities may limit our ability to make distributions. As a RIC, if we do not distribute a certain percentage of our income annually, we will suffer adverse tax consequences, including failure to obtain, or possible loss of, the federal income tax benefits allowable to RICs. We cannot assure you that you will receive distributions at a particular level or at all.

We may not have sufficient funds to make follow-on investments. Our decision not to make a follow-on investment may have a negative impact on a portfolio company in need of such an investment or may result in a missed opportunity for us.

After our initial investment in a portfolio company, we may be called upon from time to time to provide additional funds to such company or have the opportunity or need  to increase our investment in a successful situation, for example, the exercise of a warrant to purchase common stock, or a negative situation, to protect an existing investment. Any decision we make not to make a follow-on investment or any inability on our part to make such an investment may have a negative impact on a portfolio company in need of such an investment or may result in a missed opportunity for us to increase our participation in a successful operation and may dilute our equity interest or otherwise reduce the expected yield on our investment. Moreover, a follow-on investment may limit the number of companies in which we can make initial investments. In determining whether to make a follow-on investment, our management will exercise its business judgment and apply criteria similar to those used when making the initial investment. There is no assurance that we will make, or will have sufficient funds to make, follow-on investments and this could adversely affect our success and result in the loss of a substantial portion or all of our investment in a portfolio company.  

The lack of liquidity in our investments may adversely affect our business and, if we need to sell any of our investments, we may not be able to do so at a favorable price. As a result, we may suffer losses.

We generally invest in debt securities with terms of up to seven years and hold such investments until maturity, and we do not expect that our related holdings of equity securities will provide us with liquidity opportunities in the near-term. We invest and expect to continue investing in companies whose securities have no established trading market and whose securities are and will be subject to legal and other restrictions on resale or whose securities are and will be less liquid than are publicly-traded securities. The illiquidity of these investments may make it difficult for us to sell these investments when desired. In addition, if we are required to liquidate all or a portion of our portfolio quickly, we may realize significantly less than the value at which we had previously recorded these investments. As a result, we do not expect to achieve liquidity in our investments in the near-term. However, to maintain our qualification as a business development company and as a RIC, we may have to dispose of investments if we do not satisfy one or more of the applicable criteria under the respective regulatory frameworks.

49


 

Our portfolio companies may incur debt or issue equity securities that rank equally with, or senior to, our investments in such companies.

We invest primarily in debt securities issued by our portfolio companies. In some cases, portfolio companies will be permitted to incur other debt, or issue other equity securities, that rank equally with, or senior to, our investment. Such instruments may provide that the holders thereof are entitled to receive payment of dividends, interest or principal on or before the dates on which we are entitled to receive payments in respect of our investments. These debt instruments would usually prohibit the portfolio companies from paying interest on or repaying our investments in the event and during the continuance of a default under such debt. Also, in the event of insolvency, liquidation, dissolution, reorganization or bankruptcy of a portfolio company, holders of securities ranking senior to our investment in that portfolio company would typically be entitled to receive payment in full before we receive any distribution in respect of our investment. After repaying such holders, the portfolio company might not have any remaining assets to use for repaying its obligation to us. In the case of securities ranking equally with our investments, we would have to share on a pari passu basis any distributions with other security holders in the event of an insolvency, liquidation, dissolution, reorganization or bankruptcy of the relevant portfolio company.

The rights we may have with respect to the collateral securing any junior priority loans we make to our portfolio companies may also be limited pursuant to the terms of one or more intercreditor agreements that we enter into with the holders of senior debt. Under such an intercreditor agreement, at any time that senior obligations are outstanding, we may forfeit certain rights with respect to the collateral to the holders of the senior obligations. These rights may include the right to commence enforcement proceedings against the collateral, the right to control the conduct of such enforcement proceedings, the right to approve amendments to collateral documents, the right to release liens on the collateral and the right to waive past defaults under collateral documents. We may not have the ability to control or direct such actions, even if as a result our rights as junior lenders are adversely affected.

Our equity related investments are highly speculative, and we may not realize gains from these investments. If our equity investments do not generate gains, then the return on our invested capital will be lower than it would otherwise be, which could result in a decline in the value of shares of our common stock.

When we invest in debt securities, we generally expect to acquire warrants or other equity securities as well. Our goal is ultimately to dispose of these equity interests and realize gains upon disposition of such interests. Over time, the gains that we realize on these equity interests may offset, to some extent, losses that we experience on defaults under debt securities that we hold. However, the equity interests that we receive may not appreciate in value and, in fact, may decline in value. Accordingly, we may not be able to realize gains from our equity interests, and any gains that we do realize on the disposition of any equity interests may not be sufficient to offset any other losses that we experience.

Prepayments of our debt investments by our portfolio companies could adversely impact our results of operations and reduce our return on equity.

During 2014, we received debt investment early repayments and pay down of working capital debt investments of approximately $494.1 million. We are subject to the risk that the investments we make in our portfolio companies may be repaid prior to maturity. When this occurs, we will generally reinvest these proceeds in temporary investments, pending their future investment in new portfolio companies. These temporary investments will typically have substantially lower yields than the debt being prepaid and we could experience significant delays in reinvesting these amounts. Any future investment in a new portfolio company may also be at lower yields than the debt that was repaid. As a result, our results of operations could be materially adversely affected if one or more of our portfolio companies elect to prepay amounts owed to us. Additionally, prepayments could negatively impact our return on equity, which could result in a decline in the market price of our common stock.

We may choose to waive or defer enforcement of covenants in the debt securities held in our portfolio, which may cause us to lose all or part of our investment in these companies.

We structure the debt investments in our portfolio companies to include business and financial covenants placing affirmative and negative obligations on the operation of the company’s business and its financial condition. However, from time to time we may elect to waive breaches of these covenants, including our right to payment, or waive or defer enforcement of remedies, such as acceleration of obligations or foreclosure on collateral, depending upon the financial condition and prospects of the particular portfolio company. These actions may reduce the likelihood of receiving the full amount of future payments of interest or principal and be accompanied by a deterioration in the value of the underlying collateral as many of these companies may have limited financial resources, may be unable to meet future obligations and may go bankrupt. This could negatively impact our ability to pay dividends, could adversely affect our results of operation and financial condition and cause the loss of all or part of your investment.

50


 

We may also be subject to lender liability claims for actions taken by us with respect to a borrower’s business or instances where we exercise control over the borrower. It is possible that we could become subject to a lender’s liability claim, including as a result of actions taken in rendering significant managerial assistance or actions to compel and collect payments from the borrower outside the ordinary course of business.

Our loans could be subject to equitable subordination by a court which would increase our risk of loss with respect to such loans or we could be subject to lender liability claims.

Courts may apply the doctrine of equitable subordination to subordinate the claim or lien of a lender against a borrower to claims or liens of other creditors of the borrower, when the lender or its affiliates is found to have engaged in unfair, inequitable or fraudulent conduct. The courts have also applied the doctrine of equitable subordination when a lender or its affiliates is found to have exerted inappropriate control over a client, including control resulting from the ownership of equity interests in a client. We have made direct equity investments or received warrants in connection with loans. These investments represent approximately 9.5% of the outstanding balance of our portfolio as of December 31, 2014. Payments on one or more of our loans, particularly a loan to a client in which we also hold an equity interest, may be subject to claims of equitable subordination. If we were deemed to have the ability to control or otherwise exercise influence over the business and affairs of one or more of our portfolio companies resulting in economic hardship to other creditors of that company, this control or influence may constitute grounds for equitable subordination and a court may treat one or more of our loans as if it were unsecured or common equity in the portfolio company. In that case, if the portfolio company were to liquidate, we would be entitled to repayment of our loan on a pro-rata basis with other unsecured debt or, if the effect of subordination was to place us at the level of common equity, then on an equal basis with other holders of the portfolio company’s common equity only after all of its obligations relating to its debt and preferred securities had been satisfied.

In addition to these risks, in the event we elect to convert our debt position to equity, or otherwise take control of a portfolio company (such as through placing a member of our management team on its board of directors), as part of a restructuring, we face additional risks acting in that capacity.  It is not uncommon for unsecured, or otherwise unsatisfied creditors, to sue parties that elect to use their debt positions to later control a company following a restructuring or bankruptcy.  Apart from lawsuits, key customers and suppliers might act in a fashion contrary to the interests of a portfolio company if they were left unsatisfied in a restructuring or bankruptcy.  Any combination of these factors might lead to the loss in value of a company subject to such activity and may divert the time and attention of our management team and investment team to help to address such issues in a portfolio company.

Risks Related to Our Securities

Investing in shares of our common stock involves an above average degree of risk.

The investments we make in accordance with our investment objective may result in a higher amount of risk, volatility or loss of principal than alternative investment options. Our investments in portfolio companies may be highly speculative and aggressive, and therefore, an investment in our common stock may not be suitable for investors with lower risk tolerance.

Our common stock may trade below its net asset value per share, which limits our ability to raise additional equity capital.

If our common stock is trading below its net asset value per share, we will generally not be able to issue additional shares of our common stock at its market price without first obtaining the approval for such issuance from our stockholders and our independent directors. If our common stock trades below net asset value, the higher cost of equity capital may result in it being unattractive to raise new equity, which may limit our ability to grow. The risk of trading below net asset value is separate and distinct from the risk that our net asset value per share may decline. We cannot predict whether shares of our common stock will trade above, at or below our net asset value.

Provisions of our charter and bylaws could deter takeover attempts and have an adverse impact on the price of our common stock.

Our charter and bylaws contain provisions that may have the effect of discouraging, delaying, or making difficult a change in control of our company or the removal of our incumbent directors. Under our charter, our Board of Directors is divided into three classes serving staggered terms, which will make it more difficult for a hostile bidder to acquire control of us. In addition, our Board of Directors may, without stockholder action, authorize the issuance of shares of stock in one or more classes or series, including preferred stock. Subject to compliance with the 1940 Act, our Board of Directors may, without stockholder action, amend our charter to increase the number of shares of stock of any class or series that we have authority to issue. The existence of these provisions, among others, may have a negative impact on the price of our common stock and may discourage third party bids for ownership of our company. These provisions may prevent any premiums being offered to you for shares of our common stock in connection with a takeover.

51


 

We may again obtain the approval of our stockholders to issue shares of our common stock at prices below the then current net asset value per share of our common stock. If we receive such approval from the stockholders, we may again issue shares of our common stock at a price below the then current net asset value per share of common stock. Any such issuance could materially dilute your interest in our common stock and reduce our net asset value per share.

We may again obtain the approval of our stockholders to issue shares of our common stock at prices below the then current net asset value per share of our common stock. Such approval has allowed and may again allow us to access the capital markets in a way that we typically are unable to do as a result of restrictions that, absent stockholder approval, apply to business development companies under the 1940 Act. Any decision to sell shares of our common stock below the then current net asset value per share of our common stock is subject to the determination by our board of directors that such issuance and sale is in our and our stockholders’ best interests.

Any sale or other issuance of shares of our common stock at a price below net asset value per share has resulted and will continue to result in an immediate dilution to your interest in our common stock and a reduction of our net asset value per share. This dilution would occur as a result of a proportionately greater decrease in a stockholder’s interest in our earnings and assets and voting interest in us than the increase in our assets resulting from such issuance. Because the number of future shares of common stock that may be issued below our net asset value per share and the price and timing of such issuances are not currently known, we cannot predict the actual dilutive effect of any such issuance. We also cannot determine the resulting reduction in our net asset value per share of any such issuance at this time. We caution you that such effects may be material, and we undertake to describe all the material risks and dilutive effects of any offering that we make at a price below our then current net asset value in the future in a prospectus supplement issued in connection with any such offering. We cannot predict whether shares of our common stock will trade above, at or below our net asset value.

If we conduct an offering of our common stock at a price below net asset value, investors are likely to incur immediate dilution upon the closing of the offering.

We are not generally able to issue and sell our common stock at a price below net asset value per share. We may, however, sell our common stock, at a price below the current net asset value of the common stock, or sell warrants, options or rights to acquire such common stock, at a price below the current net asset value of the common stock if our board of directors determines that such sale is in our best interests and the best interests of our stockholders and our stockholders have approved the practice of making such sales.

Although we are not currently authorized to issue shares of our common stock at a price below our net asset value per share, we may seek stockholder approval of this proposal again at a special meeting of stockholders or our next annual meeting of shareholders. Our Board of Directors, subject to its fiduciary duties and regulatory requirements, has the discretion to determine the amount of the discount, and as a result, the discount could be up to 100% of net asset value per share. If we were to issue shares at a price below net asset value, such sales would result in an immediate dilution to existing common stockholders, which would include a reduction in the net asset value per share as a result of the issuance. This dilution would also include a proportionately greater decrease in a stockholder’s interest in our earnings and assets and voting interest in us than the increase in our assets resulting from such issuance.

In addition, if we determined to conduct additional offerings in the future there may be even greater discounts if we determine to conduct such offerings at prices below net asset value. As a result, investors will experience further dilution and additional discounts to the price of our common stock. Because the number of shares of common stock that could be so issued and the timing of any issuance is not currently known, the actual dilutive effect of an offering cannot be predicted. We did not sell any of our securities at a price below net asset value during the year ended December 31, 2014.

Our shares may trade at discounts from net asset value or at premiums that are unsustainable over the long term.

Shares of business development companies may trade at a market price that is less than the net asset value that is attributable to those shares. Our shares have traded above and below our NAV. The possibility that our shares of common stock will trade at a discount from net asset value or at a premium that is unsustainable over the long term is separate and distinct from the risk that our net asset value may decrease. It is not possible to predict whether our shares will trade at, above or below net asset value in the future.

A downgrade, suspension or withdrawal of the credit rating assigned by a rating agency to us or our debt securities, if any, or change in the debt markets could cause the liquidity or market value of our debt securities to decline significantly.  

Our credit ratings are an assessment by rating agencies of our ability to pay our debts when due. Consequently, real or anticipated changes in our credit ratings will generally affect the market value of our outstanding debt securities. These credit ratings may not reflect the potential impact of risks relating to the structure or marketing of such debt securities. Credit ratings are not a recommendation to buy, sell or hold any security, and may be revised or withdrawn at any time by the issuing organization in its sole discretion.

52


 

Neither we nor any underwriter undertakes any obligation to maintain our credit ratings or to advise holders of our debt securities of any changes in our credit ratings. There can be no assurance that a credit rating will remain for any given period of time or that such credit ratings will not be lowered or withdrawn entirely if future circumstances relating to the basis of the credit rating, such as adverse changes in our company, so warrant. The conditions of the financial markets and prevailing interest rates have fluctuated in the past and are likely to fluctuate in the future.

Our stockholders will experience dilution in their ownership percentage if they opt out of our dividend reinvestment plan.

All dividends declared in cash payable to stockholders that are participants in our dividend reinvestment plan are automatically reinvested in shares of our common stock. As a result, our stockholders that opt out of our dividend reinvestment plan will experience dilution in their ownership percentage of our common stock over time.

Our stockholders may experience dilution upon the conversion of the Convertible Notes.

The Convertible Senior Notes became convertible into shares of our common stock on July 1, 2014 and continue to be convertible as of December 31, 2014. Upon conversion of the Convertible Senior Notes, we have the choice to pay or deliver, as the case may be, at our election, cash, shares of our common stock or a combination of cash and shares of our common stock. The current conversion price of the Convertible Senior Notes is approximately $11.36 per share of common stock, in each case subject to adjustment in certain circumstances. Since the Convertible Senior Notes became convertible, we have made the election to deliver the combination of cash and stock. If we continue to elect to deliver shares of common stock upon a conversion at the time our tangible book value per share exceeds the conversion price in effect at such time, our stockholders will incur dilution. In addition, our stockholders will experience dilution in their ownership percentage of common stock upon our issuance of common stock in connection with the conversion of the Convertible Senior Notes and any dividends paid on our common stock will also be paid on shares issued in connection with such conversion after such issuance.

Our common stock price has been and continues to be volatile and may decrease substantially.

As with any company, the price of our common stock will fluctuate with market conditions and other factors, which include, but are not limited to, the following:

·

price and volume fluctuations in the overall stock market from time to time;

·

significant volatility in the market price and trading volume of securities of RICs, business development companies or other financial services companies;

·

any inability to deploy or invest our capital;

·

fluctuations in interest rates;

·

any shortfall in revenue or net income or any increase in losses from levels expected by investors or securities analysts;

·

the financial performance of specific industries in which we invest in on a recurring basis;

·

announcement of strategic developments, acquisitions, and other material events by us or our competitors, or operating performance of companies comparable to us;

·

changes in regulatory policies or tax guidelines with respect to RICs, SBICs or business development companies;

·

losing RIC status;

·

actual or anticipated changes in our earnings or fluctuations in our operating results, or changes in the expectations of securities analysts;

·

changes in the value of our portfolio of investments;

·

realized losses in investments in our portfolio companies;

·

general economic conditions and trends;

·

inability to access the capital markets;

·

loss of a major funded source; or

·

departures of key personnel.

53


 

In the past, following periods of volatility in the market price of a company’s securities, securities class action litigation has often been brought against that company. Due to the potential volatility of our stock price, we may be the target of securities litigation in the future. Securities litigation could result in substantial costs and could divert management’s attention and resources from our business.

Your interest in us may be diluted if you do not fully exercise your subscription rights in any rights offering. In addition, if the subscription price is less than our net asset value per share, then you will experience an immediate dilution of the aggregate net asset value of your shares.

In the event we issue subscription rights, stockholders who do not fully exercise their subscription rights should expect that they will, at the completion of a rights offering pursuant to this prospectus, own a smaller proportional interest in us than would otherwise be the case if they fully exercised their rights. We cannot state precisely the amount of any such dilution in share ownership because we do not know at this time what proportion of the shares will be purchased as a result of such rights offering.

In addition, if the subscription price is less than the net asset value per share of our common stock, then our stockholders would experience an immediate dilution of the aggregate net asset value of their shares as a result of the offering. The amount of any decrease in net asset value is not predictable because it is not known at this time what the subscription price and net asset value per share will be on the expiration date of a rights offering or what proportion of the shares will be purchased as a result of such rights offering. Such dilution could be substantial.

The trading market or market value of our publicly issued debt securities may fluctuate.

Our publicly issued debt securities may or may not have an established trading market. We cannot assure you that a trading market for our publicly issued debt securities will ever develop or be maintained if developed. In addition to our creditworthiness, many factors may materially adversely affect the trading market for, and market value of, our publicly issued debt securities. These factors include, but are not limited to, the following:

·

the time remaining to the maturity of these debt securities;

·

the outstanding principal amount of debt securities with terms identical to these debt securities;

·

the ratings assigned by national statistical ratings agencies;

·

the general economic environment;

·

the supply of debt securities trading in the secondary market, if any;

·

the redemption or repayment features, if any, of these debt securities;

·

the level, direction and volatility of market interest rates generally; and

·

market rates of interest higher or lower than rates borne by the debt securities. You should also be aware that there may be a limited number of buyers when you decide to sell your debt securities. This too may materially adversely affect the market value of the debt securities or the trading market for the debt securities.

The 2019 Notes and 2024 Notes are unsecured and therefore are effectively subordinated to any secured indebtedness we have currently incurred or may incur in the future.

The 2019 Notes and 2024 Notes are not secured by any of our assets or any of the assets of our subsidiaries. As a result, the 2019 Notes and 2024 Notes are effectively subordinated to any secured indebtedness we or our subsidiaries have currently incurred and may incur in the future (or any indebtedness that is initially unsecured to which we subsequently grant security) to the extent of the value of the assets securing such indebtedness. In any liquidation, dissolution, bankruptcy or other similar proceeding, the holders of any of our existing or future secured indebtedness and the secured indebtedness of our subsidiaries may assert rights against the assets pledged to secure that indebtedness in order to receive full payment of their indebtedness before the assets may be used to pay other creditors, including the holders of the 2019 Notes and 2024 Notes.

The 2019 Notes and 2024 Notes are structurally subordinated to the indebtedness and other liabilities of our subsidiaries.

The 2019 Notes and 2025 Notes are obligations exclusively of Hercules Technology Growth Capital, Inc. and not of any of our subsidiaries. None of our subsidiaries are or act as guarantors of the 2019 Notes and 2024 Notes and neither the 2019 Notes nor the 2024 Notes is required to be guaranteed by any subsidiaries we may acquire or create in the future. Our secured indebtedness with respect to the SBA debentures is held through our SBIC subsidiaries. The assets of any such subsidiaries are not directly available to satisfy the claims of our creditors, including holders of the 2019 Notes and 2024 Notes.


54


 

Except to the extent we are a creditor with recognized claims against our subsidiaries, all claims of creditors (including holders of preferred stock, if any, of our subsidiaries) will have priority over our equity interests in such subsidiaries (and therefore the claims of our creditors, including holders of the 2019 Notes and 2024 Notes) with respect to the assets of such subsidiaries. Even if we are recognized as a creditor of one or more of our subsidiaries, our claims would still be effectively subordinated to any security interests in the assets of any such subsidiary and to any indebtedness or other liabilities of any such subsidiary senior to our claims. Consequently, the 2019 Notes and 2014  Notes are structurally subordinated to all indebtedness and other liabilities (including trade payables) of our subsidiaries and any subsidiaries that we may in the future acquire or establish as financing vehicles or otherwise. In addition, our subsidiaries may incur substantial additional indebtedness in the future, all of which would be structurally senior to the 2019 Notes and 2024 Notes.

The indenture under which the 2019 Notes and 2024 Notes were issued contains limited protection for their respective holders.

The indenture under which the 2019 Notes and 2024 Notes were issued offers limited protection to their respective holders. The terms of the indenture and the 2019 Notes and 2024 Notes do not restrict our or any of our subsidiaries’ ability to engage in, or otherwise be a party to, a variety of corporate transactions, circumstances or events that could have an adverse impact on an investment in the 2019 Notes and 2024 Notes. In particular, the terms of the indentures and the 2019 Notes and 2024 Notes do not place any restrictions on our or our subsidiaries’ ability to:

·

issue securities or otherwise incur additional indebtedness or other obligations, including (1) any indebtedness or other obligations that would be equal in right of payment to the 2019 Notes and 2024 Notes, (2) any indebtedness or other obligations that would be secured and therefore rank effectively senior in right of payment to the 2019 Notes and 2024 Notes to the extent of the values of the assets securing such debt, (3) indebtedness of ours that is guaranteed by one or more of our subsidiaries and which therefore would rank structurally senior to the 2019 Notes and 2024 Notes and (4) securities, indebtedness or other obligations issued or incurred by our subsidiaries that would be senior in right of payment to our equity interests in our subsidiaries and therefore would rank structurally senior in right of payment to the 2019 Notes and 2024 Notes with respect to the assets of our subsidiaries, in each case other than an incurrence of indebtedness or other obligation that would cause a violation of Section 18(a)(1)(A) as modified by Section 61(a)(1) of the 1940 Act or any successor provisions;

·

pay dividends on, or purchase or redeem or make any payments in respect of, capital stock or other securities ranking junior in right of payment to the 2019 Notes and 2024 Notes, in each case other than dividends, purchases, redemptions or payments that would cause a violation of Section 18(a)(1)(B) as modified by Section 61(a)(1) of the 1940 Act or any successor provisions giving effect to any exemptive relief granted to us by the SEC (these provisions generally prohibit us from declaring any cash dividend or distribution upon any class of our capital stock, or purchasing any such capital stock if our asset coverage, as defined in the 1940 Act, is below 200% at the time of the declaration of the dividend or distribution or the purchase and after deducting the amount of such dividend, distribution or purchase;

·

sell assets (other than certain limited restrictions on our ability to consolidate, merge or sell all or substantially all of our assets);

·

enter into transactions with affiliates;

·

create liens (including liens on the shares of our subsidiaries) or enter into sale and leaseback transactions;

·

make investments; or

·

create restrictions on the payment of distributions or other amounts to us from our subsidiaries.

In the indenture and the 2019 and 2024 notes do not require us to offer to purchase the Notes in connection with a change of control or any other event.

Furthermore, the terms of the indenture and the 2019 Notes and 2024 Notes do not protect their respective holders in the event that we experience changes (including significant adverse changes) in our financial condition, results of operations or credit ratings, as they do not require that we or our subsidiaries adhere to any financial tests or ratios or specified levels of net worth, revenues, income, cash flow or liquidity, except as required under the 1940 Act.

Our ability to recapitalize, incur additional debt and take a number of other actions that are not limited by the terms of the 2019 Notes and 2024 Notes may have important consequences for their holders, including making it more difficult for us to satisfy our obligations with respect to the 2019 Notes and 2024 Notes or negatively affecting their trading value.

Certain of our current debt instruments include more protections for their respective holders than the indenture and the 2019 Notes and 2024 Notes. In addition, other debt we issue or incur in the future could contain more protections for its holders than the indenture and the 2019 Notes and 2024 Notes, including additional covenants and events of default. The issuance or incurrence of any such debt with incremental protections could affect the market for and trading levels and prices of the 2019 Notes and 2024 Notes.

 


55


 

An active trading market for the Notes may not develop or be sustained, which could limit the market price of the Notes or your ability to sell them.

 

Although the 2019 Notes are listed on the NYSE under the symbol “HTGZ,” in the case of the April 2019 Notes, “HTGY” in the case of the September 2019 Notes and “HTGX,” in the case of the 2024 Notes, we cannot provide any assurances that an active trading market will develop or be sustained for the April 2019 Notes, the September 2019 Notes, or the 2024 Notes or that any of the notes will be able to be sold. At various times, the 2019 Notes and 2024 Notes may trade at a discount from their initial offering price depending on prevailing interest rates, the market for similar securities, our credit ratings, general economic conditions, our financial condition, performance and prospects and other factors. To the extent an active trading market is not sustained, the liquidity and trading price for the 2019 Notes and 2024 Notes may be harmed.

If we default on our obligations to pay our other indebtedness, we may not be able to make payments on the 2019 Notes and 2024 Notes.

Any default under the agreements governing our indebtedness, including a default under the Wells Facility, the Union Bank Facility and the Convertible Senior Notes or other indebtedness to which we may be a party that is not waived by the required lenders or holders, and the remedies sought by the holders of such indebtedness could make us unable to pay principal, premium, if any, and interest on the 2019 Notes and 2024 Notes and substantially decrease the market value of the 2014 Notes and 2024 Notes. If we are unable to generate sufficient cash flow and are otherwise unable to obtain funds necessary to meet required payments of principal, premium, if any, and interest on our indebtedness, or if we otherwise fail to comply with the various covenants, including financial and operating covenants, in the instruments governing our indebtedness, we could be in default under the terms of the agreements governing such indebtedness. In the event of such default, the holders of such indebtedness could elect to declare all the funds borrowed thereunder to be due and payable, together with accrued and unpaid interest, the lenders under the Wells Facility and the Union Bank Facility or other debt we may incur in the future could elect to terminate their commitments, cease making further loans and institute foreclosure proceedings against our assets, and we could be forced into bankruptcy or liquidation. If our operating performance declines, we may in the future need to seek to obtain waivers from the required lenders under the Wells Facility or Union Bank Facility or the required holders of our Convertible Senior Notes or other debt that we may incur in the future to avoid being in default. If we breach our covenants under the Wells Facility or Union Bank Facility or the Convertible Senior Notes or other debt and seek a waiver, we may not be able to obtain a waiver from the required lenders or holders. If this occurs, we would be in default under the Wells Facility or Union Bank Facility or the Convertible Senior Notes or other debt, the lenders or holders could exercise their rights as described above, and we could be forced into bankruptcy or liquidation. If we are unable to repay debt, lenders having secured obligations, including the lenders under the Wells Facility and the Union Bank Facility, could proceed against the collateral securing the debt. Because the Wells Facility, the Union Bank Facility and the Convertible Senior Notes have, and any future credit facilities will likely have, customary cross-default provisions, if the indebtedness under the Notes, the Wells Facility, Union Bank Facility, the Convertible Senior Notes or under any future credit facility is accelerated, we may be unable to repay or finance the amounts due.

 


56


 

 

Item 1B.

Unresolved Staff Comments

None.

Item 2.

Properties

Neither we nor any of our subsidiaries own any real estate or other physical properties materially important to our operation or any of our subsidiaries. Currently, we lease approximately 14,500 square feet of office space in Palo Alto, CA for our corporate headquarters. We also lease office space in Boston, MA, New York, NY and McLean, VA.

Item 3.

Legal Proceedings

We may, from time to time, be involved in litigation arising out of our operations in the normal course of business or otherwise. Furthermore, third parties may try to seek to impose liability on us in connection with the activities of our portfolio companies. While the outcome of any current legal proceedings cannot at this time be predicted with certainty, we do not expect any current matters will materially affect our financial condition or results of operations; however, there can be no assurance whether any pending legal proceedings will have a material adverse effect on our financial condition or results of operations in any future reporting period.

Item 4.

Mine Safety Disclosures

Not applicable.

 

 

 

57


 

PART II

Item 5.

Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

PRICE RANGE OF COMMON STOCK

Our common stock is traded on the NYSE under the symbol “HTGC.” The following table sets forth the range of high and low sales prices of our common stock for each fiscal quarter during the two most recently completed fiscal years as reported on the NYSE.

 

 

 

Price Range

 

Quarter Ended

 

High

 

 

Low

 

March 31, 2013

 

$

11.88

 

 

$

11.58

 

June 30, 2013

 

$

13.61

 

 

$

11.05

 

September 30, 2013

 

$

15.18

 

 

$

13.20

 

December 31, 2013

 

$

17.09

 

 

$

14.62

 

March 31, 2014

 

$

15.27

 

 

$

13.24

 

June 30, 2014

 

$

15.54

 

 

$

12.75

 

September 30, 2014

 

$

16.24

 

 

$

14.16

 

December 31, 2014

 

$

15.82

 

 

$

13.16

 

 

The last reported price for our common stock on February 26, 2015 was $15.51 per share.

As of February 19, 2015, we had approximately 45,400 stockholders of record. Most of the shares of our common stock are held by brokers and other institutions on behalf of stockholders. We believe that there are currently approximately 80 additional beneficial holders of our common stock.

Shares of business development companies may trade at a market price that is less than the value of the net assets attributable to those shares. The possibilities that our shares of common stock will trade at a discount from net asset value or at premiums that are unsustainable over the long term are separate and distinct from the risk that our net asset value will decrease. At times, our shares of common stock have traded at a premium to net asset value or at a significant discount to the net assets attributable to those shares.

SALES OF UNREGISTERED SECURITIES

During 2014, the Board of Directors did not elect to receive compensation in the form of common stock. During 2013 and 2012, the Board of Directors elected to receive approximately $106,000 and $150,000, respectively, of their compensation in the form of common stock and the Company issued 10,335 and 13,584 shares, respectively, to the directors based on the closing prices of the common stock on the specified election dates.

During 2014, 2013 and 2012, we issued approximately 96,976, 159,000 and 219,000 shares, respectively, of common stock to shareholders in connection with the dividend reinvestment plan. These issuances were not subject to the registration requirements of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, or the Securities Act. The aggregate value of the shares of our common stock issued under our dividend reinvestment plan during the years ended December 31, 2014, 2013 and 2012 were approximately $1.5 million, $2.2 million and $2.3 million, respectively.

EQUITY COMPENSATION PLAN INFORMATION

Information relating to compensation plans under which our equity securities are authorized for issuance is set forth under the heading “Executive Compensation—Equity Compensation Plan Information” in our definitive proxy statement for our 2015 Annual Meeting of Stockholders.


58


 

ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES

In February 2015, the Board of Directors approved a $50.0 million open market share repurchase program. Pursuant to the share repurchase program, we may repurchase common stock in the open market, including block purchases, at prices that may be above or below the net asset value as reported in its then most recently published financial statements. We anticipate that the manner, timing, and amount of any share purchases will be determined by company management based upon the evaluation of market conditions, stock price, and additional factors in accordance with regulatory requirements. As a 1940 Act reporting company, we are required to notify shareholders of the existence of a repurchase program when such a program is initiated or implemented.

The repurchase program does not require us to acquire any specific number of shares and may be extended, modified, or discontinued at any time. The share repurchase program is set to expire on August 24, 2015 unless the Board of Directors approves an extension.

During the year ended December 31, 2014, the Company did not repurchase any shares of common stock.

DIVIDEND POLICY

As a RIC, we intend to distribute quarterly dividends to our stockholders. To the extent we do not distribute during each calendar year an amount at least equal to the sum of (1) 98% of our ordinary income for the calendar year, (2) 98.2% of our capital gains in excess of capital losses for the one year period ending on October 31 of the calendar year, and (3) any ordinary income and net capital gains for the preceding year that were not distributed during such years we are required to pay a 4% excise tax on our undistributed income.

To the extent that we earn annual taxable income in excess of dividends paid from such taxable income for the year, we may carry over the excess taxable income into the next year and such excess income will be available for distribution in the next year as permitted by the Code. We will not be subject to excise taxes on amounts on which we are required to pay corporate income tax (such as retained net capital gains). In order to obtain the tax benefits applicable to RICs, we will be required to distribute to our stockholders with respect to each taxable year at least 90% of our ordinary income and realized net short-term capital gains in excess of realized net long-term capital losses. We may, in the future, make actual distributions to our stockholders of some or all realized net long-term capital gains in excess of realized net short-term capital losses. We can offer no assurance that we will achieve results that will permit the payment of any distributions and, if we issue senior securities, we may be prohibited from making distributions if doing so causes us to fail to maintain the asset coverage ratios stipulated by the 1940 Act or if distributions are limited by the terms of any of our borrowings. See “Item 1. Business— Regulation.”

59


 

The following table summarizes dividends declared and paid, to be paid or reinvested on all shares, including restricted stock, to date:

 

Date Declared

 

Record Date

 

Payment Date

 

Amount Per Share

 

 

October 27, 2005

 

November 1, 2005

 

November 17, 2005

 

$

0.03

 

 

December 9, 2005

 

January 6, 2006

 

January 27, 2006

 

 

0.30

 

 

April 3, 2006

 

April 10, 2006

 

May 5, 2006

 

 

0.30

 

 

July 19, 2006

 

July 31, 2006

 

August 28, 2006

 

 

0.30

 

 

October 16, 2006

 

November 6, 2006

 

December 1, 2006

 

 

0.30

 

 

February 7, 2007

 

February 19, 2007

 

March 19, 2007

 

 

0.30

 

 

May 3, 2007

 

May 16, 2007

 

June 18, 2007

 

 

0.30

 

 

August 2, 2007

 

August 16, 2007

 

September 17, 2007

 

 

0.30

 

 

November 1, 2007

 

November 16, 2007

 

December 17, 2007

 

 

0.30

 

 

February 7, 2008

 

February 15, 2008

 

March 17, 2008

 

 

0.30

 

 

May 8, 2008

 

May 16, 2008

 

June 16, 2008

 

 

0.34

 

 

August 7, 2008

 

August 15, 2008

 

September 19, 2008

 

 

0.34

 

 

November 6, 2008

 

November 14, 2008

 

December 15, 2008

 

 

0.34

 

 

February 12, 2009

 

February 23, 2009

 

March 30, 2009

 

 

0.32

 

*

May 7, 2009

 

May 15, 2009

 

June 15, 2009

 

 

0.30

 

 

August 6, 2009

 

August 14, 2009

 

September 14, 2009

 

 

0.30

 

 

October 15, 2009

 

October 20, 2009

 

November 23, 2009

 

 

0.30

 

 

December 16, 2009

 

December 24, 2009

 

December 30, 2009

 

 

0.04

 

 

February 11, 2010

 

February 19, 2010

 

March 19, 2010

 

 

0.20

 

 

May 3, 2010

 

May 12, 2010

 

June 18, 2010

 

 

0.20

 

 

August 2, 2010

 

August 12, 2010

 

September 17,2010

 

 

0.20

 

 

November 4, 2010

 

November 10, 2010

 

December 17, 2010

 

 

0.20

 

 

March 1, 2011

 

March 10, 2011

 

March 24, 2011

 

 

0.22

 

 

May 5, 2011

 

May 11, 2011

 

June 23, 2011

 

 

0.22

 

 

August 4, 2011

 

August 15, 2011

 

September 15, 2011

 

 

0.22

 

 

November 3, 2011

 

November 14, 2011

 

November 29, 2011

 

 

0.22

 

 

February 27, 2012

 

March 12, 2012

 

March 15, 2012

 

 

0.23

 

 

April 30, 2012

 

May 18, 2012

 

May 25, 2012

 

 

0.24

 

 

July 30, 2012

 

August 17, 2012

 

August 24, 2012

 

 

0.24

 

 

October 26, 2012

 

November 14, 2012

 

November 21, 2012

 

 

0.24

 

 

February 26, 2013

 

March 11, 2013

 

March 19, 2013

 

 

0.25

 

 

April 29, 2013

 

May 14, 2013

 

May 21, 2013

 

 

0.27

 

 

July 29, 2013

 

August 13, 2013

 

August 20, 2013

 

 

0.28

 

 

November 4, 2013

 

November 18, 2013

 

November 25, 2013

 

 

0.31

 

 

February 24, 2014

 

March 10, 2014

 

March 17, 2014

 

 

0.31

 

 

April 28, 2014

 

May 12, 2014

 

May 19, 2014

 

 

0.31

 

 

July 28, 2014

 

August 18, 2014

 

August 25, 2014

 

 

0.31

 

 

October 29, 2014

 

November 17, 2014

 

November 24, 2014

 

 

0.31

 

 

February 24, 2015

 

March 12, 2015

 

March 19, 2015

 

 

0.31

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

$

10.30

 

 

 

 

*

Dividend paid in cash and stock.

On February 24, 2015 the Board of Directors declared a cash dividend of $0.31 per share to be paid on March 19, 2015 to shareholders of record as of March 12, 2015. This dividend would represent our thirty-eighth consecutive dividend declaration since our initial public offering, bringing the total cumulative dividend declared to date to $10.30 per share.

Our Board of Directors maintains a variable dividend policy with the objective of distributing four quarterly distributions in an amount that approximates 90—100% of our taxable quarterly income or potential annual income for a particular year. In addition, at the end of the year, our Board of Directors may choose to pay an additional special dividend or fifth dividend, so that we may distribute approximately all of our annual taxable income in the year it was earned, or may elect to maintain the option to spill over our excess taxable income into the coming year for future dividend payments.

60


 

Distributions in excess of our current and accumulated earnings and profits would generally be treated first as a return of capital to the extent of the stockholder’s tax basis, and any remaining distributions would be treated as a capital gain. The determination of the tax attributes of our distributions is made annually as of the end of our fiscal year based upon our taxable income for the full year and distributions paid for the full year. Of the dividends declared during the years ended December 31, 2014, 2013, and 2012, 100% were distributions of ordinary income and spillover earnings. There can be no certainty to stockholders that this determination is representative of what the tax attributes of our 2015 distributions to stockholders will actually be.

We maintain an “opt out” dividend reinvestment plan that provides for reinvestment of our distribution on behalf of our stockholders, unless a stockholder elects to receive cash. As a result, if our Board of Directors authorizes, and we declare a cash dividend, then our stockholders who have not “opted out” of our dividend reinvestment plan will have their cash dividend automatically reinvested in additional shares of our common stock, rather than receiving the cash dividends. During 2014, 2013, and 2012, the Company issued approximately 96,976, 159,000 and 219,000 shares, respectively, of common stock to shareholders in connection with the dividend reinvestment plan.

PERFORMANCE GRAPH

The following stock performance graph compares the cumulative stockholder return assuming that, on December 31, 2009, a person invested $100 in each of our common stock, the NYSE Composite Index and the NASDAQ Financial 100 Index. The graph measures total shareholder return, which takes into account both changes in stock price and dividends. It assumes that dividends paid are reinvested in like securities.

Copyright© 2015 S&P, a division of The McGraw-Hill Companies Inc. All rights reserved.

This graph and other information furnished under Part II. Item 5 of the Form 10-K shall not be deemed to be “soliciting material” or to be “filed” with the SEC or subject to Regulation 14A or 14C, or to the liabilities of Section 18 of the Exchange Act. The stock price performance included in the above graph is not necessarily indicative of future stock price performance.

 

 

 

61


 

Item 6.

Selected Consolidated Financial Data

Selected Consolidated Financial Data

The following consolidated financial data is derived from our audited consolidated financial statements. The selected consolidated financial data should be read in conjunction with “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and the consolidated financial statements and related notes included elsewhere herein. Historical data is not necessarily indicative of results to be expected for any future period.

 

 

 

For the Years Ended December 31,

 

 

(in thousands, except per share amounts)

 

2014

 

 

2013

 

 

2012

 

 

2011

 

 

2010

 

 

Balance sheet data:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Investments, at value

 

$

1,020,737

 

 

$

910,295

 

 

$

906,300

 

 

$

652,870

 

 

$

472,032

 

 

Cash and cash equivalents

 

 

227,116

 

 

 

268,368

 

 

 

182,994

 

 

 

64,474

 

 

 

107,014

 

 

Total assets

 

 

1,299,223

 

 

 

1,221,715

 

 

 

1,123,643

 

 

 

747,394

 

 

 

591,247

 

 

Total liabilities

 

 

640,359

 

 

 

571,708

 

 

 

607,675

 

 

 

316,353

 

 

 

178,716

 

 

Total net assets

 

 

658,864

 

 

 

650,007

 

 

 

515,968

 

 

 

431,041

 

 

 

412,531

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other Data:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total debt investments, at value

 

 

923,906

 

 

 

821,988

 

 

 

827,540

 

 

 

585,767

 

 

 

401,618

 

 

Total warrant investments, at value

 

 

25,098

 

 

 

35,637

 

 

 

29,550

 

 

 

30,045

 

 

 

23,690

 

 

Total equity investments, at value

 

 

71,733

 

 

 

52,670

 

 

 

49,210

 

 

 

37,058

 

 

 

46,724

 

 

Unfunded Commitments

 

 

339,014

 

 

 

150,986

 

 

 

61,851

 

 

 

168,196

 

 

 

117,200

 

 

Net asset value per share(1)

 

$

10.18

 

 

$

10.51

 

 

$

9.75

 

 

$

9.83

 

 

$

9.50

 

 

 

 

(1)

Based on common shares outstanding at period end

 

 

 

For the Years Ended December 31,

 

 

(in thousands, except per share amounts)

 

2014

 

 

2013

 

 

2012

 

 

2011

 

 

2010

 

 

Investment income:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interest

 

$

126,618

 

 

$

123,671

 

 

$

87,603

 

 

$

70,346

 

 

$

54,700

 

 

Fees

 

 

17,047

 

 

 

16,042

 

 

 

9,917

 

 

 

9,509

 

 

 

4,774

 

 

Total investment income

 

 

143,665

 

 

 

139,713

 

 

 

97,520

 

 

 

79,855

 

 

 

59,474

 

 

Operating expenses:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interest

 

 

28,041

 

 

 

30,334

 

 

 

19,835

 

 

 

13,252

 

 

 

8,572

 

 

Loan fees

 

 

5,919

 

 

 

4,807

 

 

 

3,917

 

 

 

2,635

 

 

 

1,259

 

 

General and administrative

 

 

10,209

 

 

 

9,354

 

 

 

8,108

 

 

 

7,992

 

 

 

7,086

 

 

Employee Compensation:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Compensation and benefits

 

 

16,604

 

 

 

16,179

 

 

 

13,326

 

 

 

13,260

 

 

 

10,474

 

 

Stock-based compensation

 

 

9,561

 

 

 

5,974

 

 

 

4,227

 

 

 

3,128

 

 

 

2,709

 

 

Total employee compensation

 

 

26,165

 

 

 

22,153

 

 

 

17,553

 

 

 

16,388

 

 

 

13,183

 

 

Total operating expenses

 

 

70,334

 

 

 

66,648

 

 

 

49,413

 

 

 

40,267

 

 

 

30,100

 

 

Loss on debt extinguishment (Long-term Liabilities - Convertible

   Senior Notes)

 

 

(1,581

)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net investment income

 

 

71,750

 

 

 

73,065

 

 

 

48,107

 

 

 

39,588

 

 

 

29,374

 

 

Net realized gain (loss) on investments

 

 

20,112

 

 

 

14,836

 

 

 

3,168

 

 

 

2,741

 

 

 

(26,382

)

 

Net increase (decrease) in unrealized appreciation (depreciation) on

   investments

 

 

(20,674

)

 

 

11,545

 

 

 

(4,516

)