At VentureSouth, we aspire to be one of the leading early stage investment firms in the US. From humble beginnings, we now manage over 230 business and community leaders in angel groups over a 300 mile region - and invest as much capital as a small venture capital fund.
But more than that, we try to find, implement, and improve the best practices of early stage investors. This is why we are particularly pleased when our efforts receive regional and national recognition.
To top that, today he was recognized as one of the leading early stage investor thought-leaders. The Angel Capital Association listed Matt's article in the UBJ last year as #6 among the top 25 "must reads" of 2016 for angel investors. His fellow nominees are some of the most recognized angel investors (like Dave Berkus) and leading venture capitalists (like Fred Wilson, Brad Feld, and Mark Suster).
Matt's a humble guy, but we have no qualms about saying that his knowledge of angel investing is second to none. We are pleased that others across the US agree.
To learn more about Matt's history, UCAN, and the VentureSouth story, try this profile in GreenvilleCEO.
Record Year in 2016
Greenville, S.C. – VentureSouth is pleased to announce it invested more than $4 million in Southeastern startups in 2016, a record for the early stage investment firm, and a 15% increase over the prior year.
The network invested in 15 companies last year in the Carolinas, Georgia and Tennessee, bringing its total portfolio to more than $20 million invested in 55 companies. The group also distributed more than $1 million of investment returns to its investor members from exited investments.
VentureSouth began in 2008 with the launch of the Upstate Carolina Angel Network in Greenville, SC and has now grown to 11 angel groups across the Southeast. Three new groups were added in 2016: Salt Marsh Angels in Hilton Head, Grand Strand Angels in Myrtle Beach, and VentureSouth Charlotte.
The group also launched the VentureSouth Angel Fund II last year, its second co-investment fund, which has already made its first investments. Collectively, VentureSouth includes more than 200 individual angel investors, making it one of the largest angel groups in the country.
Matt Dunbar, a Managing Director of VentureSouth, reflected on the year saying, “2016 was a pivotal year for VentureSouth as we continued to expand our investor base across the Southeast and improve our operational efficiency. We are grateful for the impressive depth of expertise we can tap into across our investor network, and we are excited about our increasing capacity to fund promising early stage companies in the Southeast.”
To close the year, VentureSouth led an investment in KWIPPED, an online B2B equipment rental marketplace in Wilmington, NC. Earlier in the fall, it invested in Vendor Registry, a TN-based company with a software platform to improve the ability of local government agencies to procure services, as well as co-leading an investment in Durham, NC-based FarmShots, an agricultural technology company that uses advanced drone and satellite imagery to manage farms.
The group also invested additional capital to accelerate the growth of eight existing portfolio companies, including electric bus manufacturer Proterra and cancer diagnostics firm KIYATEC in Greenville; Pharmright in Charleston, makers of the Livi automated medication dispenser; and Sensory Analytics, an optical sensor technology company in Greensboro, NC.
Mac Lackey, a Managing Director of VentureSouth, added, “We are very excited about these new investments, as well as the progress of many of our portfolio companies over the last year. They are addressing significant problems across many industries and gaining national recognition for their innovative solutions. We look forward to even stronger progress in 2017.”
To learn more about VentureSouth, the new angel groups, their recent investments, and the VentureSouth portfolio please visit www.venturesouth.vc.
Enjoyable article from the Augusta Chronicle this weekend, demonstrating the importance of capital as a link in the chain of development of an early stage ecosystem.
As "every piece of the chain" improves, education on how those links work together becomes key. What better way to understand how to access the nascent angel capital in our area than by coming to the "how to pitch" workshop this week?
We look forward to seeing you at some of the educational events coming this year.
VentureSouth Announces Fall Education Events
Greenville, S.C. – VentureSouth, a leading early-stage investment firm that develops and manages angel investment groups and funds in the Southeast, is pleased to announce its fall schedule of educational events for early stage investors and entrepreneurs.
VentureSouth works with prominent providers of angel investment education and information, including the Angel Resource Institute (ARI) and the Angel Capital Association. Charlie Banks, Managing Director of VentureSouth, stated, “Educating entrepreneurs and investors on the intricacies of early stage capital is a critical contributor to the longterm success of our business environment.” A full schedule of these events is available on the VentureSouth website at venturesouth.vc/events.
The highlight of the educational calendar is the ARI workshop “Executing Exits” on November 30 in Greenville, SC. The workshop was developed by nationally-renowned entrepreneur CEO and angel investor, Basil Peters. Bill Payne, founder of Tech Coast Angels and other early stage investment firms, will be in South Carolina to facilitate the workshop. The seminar is particularly aimed at early stage company leaders and investors, but will be valuable to any business owner contemplating their eventual “exit.”
Banks further stated: “To have nationally-celebrated experts sharing their strategies and insights is a tremendous opportunity for management teams and investors here in the Carolinas. Exits are what make Silicon Valley and other entrepreneurial hot-spots so powerful. We need more exits in the Carolinas to add momentum to the early stage investment community here. Knowing the best ways to create exits will be invaluable.”
VentureSouth is also providing a series of workshops to help potential entrepreneurs understand how to position their early stage company for investment. The “How to Pitch” series begins in at the NEXT Center in Greenville (November 1), continues to SC Cyber in Columbia (November 16), and then to the Zucker Family Graduate Education Center (Clemson) in Charleston (December 6).
Other events include a workshop with Asheville Angels on October 20 at the Asheville Chamber at noon that provides a comprehensive understanding of the rigorous due diligence processes a company must complete to obtain angel capital.
Finally, on the Crowdr.tv platform, Paul Clark of VentureSouth will be discussing tax issues related to angel investing with tax expert Ben Glenn of Bauknight Pietras & Stormer. If you are thinking of raising capital in South Carolina, or considering investing in a startup company in the state, you need to review the online broadcast.
VentureSouth would like to thank the partners that make these workshops possible. These include the SC Department of Commerce, Wells Fargo, The NEXT Innovation Center, SC Cyber, and Bauknight Pietras & Stormer.
For more information and a complete list of events visit venturesouth.vc/events.
Congratulations to CSR Angels for their recognition in the Aiken Standard this week. The group has had a very impressive first year.
Starting a new angel group is no small undertaking. Being able to "plug in" to an existing infrastructure of nearby groups makes it much easier. There aren't many angel groups that were able to make 12 investments in their first year - but as part of VentureSouth new groups can hit the ground running.
We are very excited to announce the closing of the VentureSouth Angel Fund II. This is big news for VentureSouth, and we're pleased that the news was widely recognized. You can read more about it at the CRBJ, the Palmetto Business Daily, the Midlands Anchor, Upstate Biz and Midlands Biz, the UBJ, and the Department of Commerce's Innovation Hub, and other places including below.
VentureSouth Announces Formation of “VentureSouth Angel Fund II”
Greenville, S.C. – VentureSouth is excited to announce the formation of its latest sidecar investment fund, VentureSouth Angel Fund II.
VentureSouth is an early stage investment firm that operates angel groups and funds in the Carolinas. Currently, the network includes 10 active angel groups and more than 200 investors who meet regularly to support early stage Southeastern companies with capital and expertise. Last week, VentureSouth launched its new VentureSouth Angel Fund II, which will begin investing this fall.
The new fund continues the investment strategy and methods of its predecessor, the Palmetto Angel Fund. The Palmetto Angel Fund was formed in 2014 as the first “sidecar” investment fund of committed capital designed to invest alongside the active angels in its groups in the Carolinas. It has invested its nearly $2 million of capital in 18 portfolio companies.
The Palmetto Angel Fund was fully deployed ahead of its anticipated schedule, a testament to the attractive early stage companies in the Southeast and to the efficiency of the fund’s sidecar model. The VentureSouth Angel Fund II will continue the same investing strategy and methods, co-investing when 10 or more VentureSouth members invest at least $100,000 in a candidate company. The fund is designed to invest in 15-20 Southeast-based companies over the next 2-3 years.
The General Partners of the fund are Charlie Banks, Paul Clark, Matt Dunbar, and Mac Lackey, who together run VentureSouth. Paul commented: “When it launched, the Palmetto Angel Fund was the first committed capital sidecar fund in South Carolina. It was a step change in VentureSouth’s funding of early stage companies, increasing entrepreneurs’ access to capital and allowing investors that lacked the time to be active angel investors to participate in a hard-to-access asset class.”
Charlie added: “Now that VentureSouth covers 10 cities across North and South Carolina, we look forward to expanding the Palmetto Angels Fund’s trailblazing path with this successor fund.”
Angel investors can achieve attractive investment returns when they diversify their investments across a large number of portfolio companies. This can be difficult to do alone, as it requires access to proprietary deal flow, investment expertise, thorough monitoring, and administrative skill. The sidecar funds of VentureSouth provide investors with those advantages, enhancing the probability of achieving attractive returns.
A consortium of angel investor groups in South Carolina is expanding and rebranding — and is now going to invest in Charlotte-area companies.
The South Carolina Angel Network — already one of the largest angel investor networks in the country — announced late last week that it has launched a new organization, VentureSouth, as it grows to more places in the Southeast.
Right now, they manage angel groups inGreenville, Columbia, Spartanburg, Anderson, Aiken, Rock Hill,
Myrtle Beach, and Charleston in South Carolina, as well as one in Asheville.
Next on the list: Charlotte.
Charlotte could end up being one of VentureSouth’s best markets.
The plan is to spend the next few months meeting with the core group of investors they’ve identified in Charlotte — then to recruit some more, VentureSouth managing director Charlie Banks said.
“We believe Charlotte has the potential to be our largest group within the VentureSouth affiliates and are very excited to be in that market,” Banks said.
They’ve brought on one of Charlotte’s top startup minds.
Mac Lackey has joined VentureSouth as a managing director. His most recent position has been as CEO of soccer site KYCK but he’s built and sold 5 companies in his career and raised more than $75 million in funding.
Lackey said raising money is still a little difficult in Charlotte but that this organization should be “catalytic.”
To view this article on the Charlotte Agenda, please click here.
The South Carolina Angel Network is spreading its wings to cover more of the Southeast.
The network of over 200 investors will now be called VentureSouth and will cover the Charlotte area. VentureSouth is currently looking for active investors in Charlotte to join the network.
Charlie Banks, managing director of VentureSouth, told me the network already has a few investors in Charlotte but hopes to grow the group in the Queen City.
The angel network covers companies all over the Southeast and is actively looking for startups in Charlotte, too.
VentureSouth currently manages angel investment groups and funds across South Carolina and western North Carolina, including groups in Greenville, Columbia, Asheville, Spartanburg, Anderson, Aiken, Rock Hill, Myrtle Beach and Charleston. The groups have collectively invested over $17 million in 50 early-stage companies since Upstate Carolina Angel Network started in Greenville, S.C., in 2008.
The goal of the expansion is to develop a more robust market for early-stage capital in the Southeast, where there hasn’t been much capital for startups.
Charlottean and serial entrepreneur Mac Lackey has joined the network as a managing director.
“I have been an entrepreneur based in the Southeast for over 20 years. I know the challenges as well as the opportunities, and I am incredibly excited to leverage what I have learned about building and selling companies with this group of investors and their entrepreneurs,” Lackey said in a statement. “VentureSouth will make a significant impact here in the Southeast.”
VentureSouth is different from angel groups like the Charlotte Angel Fund, which pulls from a committed capital fund.
"We are network model," Banks says. "Investors don’t invest until they see something they like."
Banks feels confident Charlotte could be the largest group within the investor network.
"There is a great contingent of wealth — a contingent that is sophisticated and understands what it means to have good quality deal flow," Banks says.
To view this story on the Charlotte Business Journal, please click here.
Greenville, S.C. – The South Carolina Angel Network (SCAN), one of the largest angel investment organizations in the United States with more than 200 investors, announces the launch of VentureSouth, a new corporate identity for its expanding activities in the Southeast.
The new brand signals several advances in the organization’s development including better integration across its various angel groups, the addition of a new partner to the management team, and an expanded vision to be a leading provider of early-stage capital and expertise in the Southeast.
VentureSouth currently manages angel investment groups and funds across South Carolina and western North Carolina, including Greenville, Columbia, Asheville, Spartanburg, Anderson, Aiken, Rock Hill, Myrtle Beach, and Charleston, with additional groups in development within the region. The groups have collectively invested over $17 million in 50 early stage companies since the creation of the Upstate Carolina Angel Network (UCAN) in Greenville in 2008. In 2014, CB Insights, a leading data provider for the venture capital industry, ranked UCAN a Top 10 angel network in the US.
The driving force behind VentureSouth’s expansion is to develop a more robust market for early stage capital in its home region where such capital has historically been notoriously scarce. The group invites accredited investors to participate in its rigorous vetting and diligence processes that seek to identify the most promising ventures in the region. In addition to providing those ventures with much needed capital, VentureSouth investors provide additional value by leveraging their expertise to help companies grow, overcome challenges, and ultimately achieve the successful outcomes necessary to reward investors and entrepreneurs for the calculated risks they are taking.
Co-Founder and Managing Director Matt Dunbar noted, “The creation of VentureSouth builds on our track record of bringing smart investors together with talented entrepreneurs to make successful early stage investments in the Southeast. By building the infrastructure to draw in more capital and more bright minds to participate in this market, we aim to accelerate our impact in the region by generating investor returns, entrepreneurial experience, and ultimately jobs and wealth in our communities.”
Along with rebranding, VentureSouth announces the addition of Mac Lackey as a Managing Director, joining Dunbar, Charlie Banks and Paul Clark who co-founded SCAN in 2014. Mac is a startup veteran who has been in the entrepreneurial trenches for over 20 years. Having built and sold five companies (all based in the Southeast), Mac has unique insights into what it takes to be successful, which will be invaluable to VentureSouth portfolio companies.
Banks stated, “Mac epitomizes a serial entrepreneur with a long and very successful track record of starting, building, and exiting companies. He has a rare set of experiences as a startup entrepreneur, investor, and advisor that will be catalytic for VentureSouth. We are thrilled to have him on our team.” Mac added, “I have been an entrepreneur based in the Southeast for over 20 years. I know the challenges as well as the opportunities, and I am incredibly excited to leverage what I have learned about building and selling companies with this group of investors and their entrepreneurs. VentureSouth will make a significant impact here in the Southeast.”
To learn more about the firm or how to become involved as an angel investor or as an entrepreneur, visit www.venturesouth.vc.
On behalf of the Spartanburg Angels and all of VentureSouth, we would like to send our sincere appreciation and thanks to Senator Shane Martin for donating NASCAR Pit Passes on behalf of the Spartanburg Angels. These Pit Passes will be going to the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA) of SC Convention this June as a part of their silent auction.
The passes are for the NASCAR Xfinity Races this year, including the Bristol Motor Speedway on August 19th, the Darlington Raceway in September 3rd, and the Charlotte Motor Speedway on October 7th. With this donation coming locally from a Spartanburg Senator, it means even more as Senator Martin has and continues to work hard and do great things for our city. We can’t thank him enough for all he has done and for his generous donation on behalf of the Spartanburg Angels!
Some things in there we already knew. The level of angel activity in 2015 wasn't much different from 2014 - $25 billion invested in over 70,000 companies. And as we know, investment sizes increased last year as angels did a few more "VC" rounds - though 5% in this report is much less of an increase than the HALO report found.
But also a surprise: the valuation of angel rounds fell - 13% lower - in this survey. That's quite different from the significant increase in the HALO report. True angel investments (the average in this report was $2.3M valuation), rather than the angel->VC investments in the HALO report, continue to be sensibly priced - which is good news for us.
View the article here.
Columbia, S.C. – The South Carolina Angel Network (SCAN) is proud to announce Wells Fargo as a statewide Palmetto Sponsor. Wells Fargo offers a full suite of financial products and services that will benefit the group’s investors and portfolio companies. The bank also provides important geographic coverage for SCAN which has rapidly expanded to include angel groups in 9 communities across South Carolina and into western North Carolina.
“Wells Fargo is pleased to partner with and support the South Carolina Angel Network,” said Wells Fargo Business Development Officer Gary Daniels. “Investing in our communities is one of the most significant things we can do as a company. We recognize the value angel investors, entrepreneurs and emerging companies bring to our economy and are committed to helping them make a positive difference in our communities.”
Matt Dunbar, Co-Founder and Managing Director of SCAN, added “We are excited to partner with Wells Fargo to add value for our investors and our portfolio companies through their extensive financial service offerings. We are also grateful for their support of our shared vision to provide more and better access to capital for entrepreneurs in our state and region.” Wells Fargo joins an impressive list of 2016 sponsors including Colite International, The Arnold Companies, Nelson Mullins, Bauknight Pietras & Stormer, Atlantic Coast Advisory Group and the Clemson University College of Business.
SCAN was created in 2014 by Dunbar, Charlie Banks and Paul Clark to expand the market for early stage capital in South Carolina. The organization has expanded from the Upstate Carolina Angel Network in Greenville to include 220 members across eight additional angel groups in Aiken, Anderson, Asheville (NC), Charleston, Columbia, Rock Hill, Spartanburg, and the Grand Strand.
To learn more about SCAN visit www.scangelnetwork.com
View Columbia Business Magazine's list of 50 Most Influential People here.
Columbia, S.C. – The South Carolina Angel Network (SCAN) is thrilled to recognize SCAN Co-Founder and Managing Director Charlie Banks, and Capital Angels Member Ben Arnold for being named to Columbia Business Monthly’s List of 50 Most Influential People.
Columbia Business Monthly’s 50 Most Influential People in the Midlands is compiled from a variety of sources, including nominations from the community, news reports and meticulous research. The list selected is representative of the people who made things happen in the previous year in the areas of business, government, nonprofits, sports, the arts and healthcare.
Charlie co-founded the South Carolina Angel Network along with Managing Directors Matt Dunbar and Paul Clark. Through his role with SCAN, Charlie is the Director of Capital Angels, the Midlands affiliate of SCAN, which has grown to nearly 40 members since its launch in 2014. Charlie is a Camden native who now resides in Newberry with his wife and two kids.
Ben Arnold is the president of Arnold Companies, a Commercial Real Estate company in Columbia, SC which was founded in 1955. Today, the Arnold Companies manages and owns over 700,000 square feet of office, mixed-use, restaurant and entertainment space in South Carolina, North Carolina and Tennessee.
Jeff Larimore, CFO of the Arnold Companies, commented, “Ben Arnold’s influence is a product of his ability to execute a vision into reality for citizens of the Midlands. The outcome of his professional and personal efforts allows Columbia to continuously showcase its civic pride.”
Paul Clark/Matt Dunbar, co-founders of SCAN, commented, “Charlie has done a fantastic job launching and growing the Capital Angels in the Midlands and helping us drive the growth of SCAN across the state – which is vitally important for supporting entrepreneurs in South Carolina. He is certainly deserving of being named to the 50 Most Influential List and we’re proud to have him on our team”
The South Carolina Angel Network (SCAN) is an affiliation of angel investor groups from across the Palmetto State that provide capital and expertise to early stage, high growth businesses in the southeastern United States. Through its 250-plus members and full-time professional staff, SCAN has invested $15 million in 42 companies, generating positive financial returns, helping attract over $200M in additional capital, and supporting the creation of over 400 jobs. Visit www.scangelnetwork.com for more information.
See story from The Sun here.
Myrtle Beach, S.C. – The South Carolina Angel Network (SCAN) is thrilled to be partnering with the Grand Strand Technology Council, Coastal Carolina, 5th T Innovation, and the Georgetown Innovation Centers to co-host the 2nd annual Pitch Night on January 27, 2016. This event is the Grand Strand’s version of “Shark Tank,” the hit ABC show that pairs real entrepreneurs with real investors.
In addition to Pitch Night, SCAN will be hosting a seminar for accredited investors on the intricacies associated with investing in early stage companies. SCAN is an organization that develops and manages community based angel investment groups. They currently manage nine angel groups across North and South Carolina with a membership of nearly 250 individual investors. In addition to the active angel groups, SCAN also manages the Palmetto Angel Fund, a fund designed to co-invest alongside the investors.
The Grand Strand Technology Council is a membership organization that focuses on creating and finding opportunities to promote, support, and enhance the growing technology community within the Grand Strand region. SCAN is partnering with the Grand Strand Technology Council in an effort to explore the possibility of setting up a SCAN affiliate in the Grand Strand.
The Angel Investing seminar is scheduled for 4 p.m. at Travinia’s Italian Restaurant. You can register for the Angel Investing seminar here. Pitch Night begins directly after at 6 p.m. at Grand 14 Cinema. You can register for the Pitch Night here .
Charlie Banks, Managing Director of SCAN, commented, “We are excited about the potential of a group in this region. The Grand Strand Technology Council and others have done an outstanding job building a vibrant entrepreneurship ecosystem here, and we look forward to being a part of it.”
The event is free to the general public. If you are an aspiring entrepreneur looking for financial backing of your next big idea, an investor wanting to get involved in the local tech scene, or you are just curious about the state of technology here in the Grand Strand, you won’t want to miss these events.
The South Carolina Angel Network (SCAN) is an affiliation of angel investor groups from across the Palmetto State that provide capital and expertise to early stage, high growth businesses in the southeastern United States. Through its 250-plus members and full-time professional staff, SCAN has invested $15 million in 46 companies, generating positive financial returns, helping attract over $200M in additional capital, and supporting the creation of over 400 jobs. Visit www.scangelnetwork.com for more information.
View story from Midlands Biz on our record 2015 results here.
View story from Charleston Regional Business Magazine here.
View story from Upstate Business Journal here.
View story from Spartanburg Herald Journal here.
Columbia, S.C. – The South Carolina Angel Network (SCAN) is pleased today to announce its record results for 2015. Last year the organization expanded from three angel groups to eight, with more than 220 members across active angel investor networks now operating in Aiken, Anderson, Asheville (NC), Charleston, Columbia, Greenville, Rock Hill and Spartanburg.
The angel groups, along with the Palmetto Angel Fund, invested a total of $3.3 million in 15 companies, with 10 of those companies located in South Carolina. SCAN capped the year with an initial investment in Atlas Organics, a Spartanburg organic food recycler, and a follow-on investment in Kiyatec a Greenville cancer diagnostics company.
In 2016, SCAN anticipates adding additional angel groups, as well as offering several educational workshops for entrepreneurs and investors focused on the intricacies associated with early stage capital formation.
Charlie Banks, Managing Director of SCAN, commented, “We remain very excited about the continuing growth of the startup ecosystem in South Carolina and we are proud to be a part of the transformation that’s taking place.”
SCAN was founded in 2014 by Charlie Banks, Paul Clark and Matt Dunbar to help create a more efficient market for early stage capital in South Carolina.
To learn more about SCAN visit www.scangelnetwork.com
COLUMBIA, S.C. – The South Carolina Angel Network (SCAN) and Central Savannah River Angels (CRS Angels) are thrilled to be featured at the upcoming North Augusta Chamber’s Business Power Lunch. The event will be held on Tuesday, November 10th from 11:30am -1:00 pm at the Palmetto Terrace, located on the 4th floor of the North Augusta Municipal Building (100 Georgia Avenue, North Augusta, SC).
The power lunch provides Chamber members the opportunity to hear views and insights on economic trends, stay informed on issues relevant to the business community, and network with other professionals. Networking begins at 11:00am.
Terra Carroll, President/CEO of the North Augusta Chamber of Commerce, stated “We are thrilled to have the CSR Angels present at our November Power Lunch. We truly believe that small business and new ideas are the very backbone of any community, so we are certainly excited for our members to receive this information.”
Charlie Banks, Managing Director of SCAN, added “I look forward to discussing angel investing and its impact on the entrepreneurship ecosystem. We are excited about the launch of CSR Angels in the North Augusta and Aiken community.”
Pre-registration is required. For Chamber members, the cost is $25 for an individual and $200 for a table of eight. For non-members, it is $40 for an individual and $350 for a table of eight. To register, email Jessica Hanson at firstname.lastname@example.org, call 803-279-2323, or click here. The current event sponsors are as follows:
Presenting Sponsor: SRP Federal Credit Union
Signature Sponsors: Savannah River Nuclear Solutions - Georgia Regents University - Trace Staffing EDTS- Southern Bank & Trust- Savannah River Remediation LLC- SME CPAs
Supporting Sponsors: MAU – Kenneth Shuler School of Cosmetology – The Star