Portfolio news - November 2017

With a portfolio of 40 active companies, it can be hard to keep track of all their achievements. Our team of intrepid news searching scripts this month bring you:

Baebies: Completed its $10 million Series B raise, helped by a large strategic investment from BOE Technology Group.

Kwipped: Announced the completion of a further round of growth financing. We are pleased to be participating again, alongside the Wolfpack Investment Network.

Proterra:  In addition to providing the keynote content at the VentureSouth Summit, Proterra is sending buses to San Jose airport and Greensboro NC, and showing them off in Iowa, California and Shreveport. They're driving a market continuing to grow at 28% / year; Vox's recent industry review is a great primer.

Brightfield was featured in Motor Week for establishing more than 100 solar/EV charging stations across NC.

Reveal Mobile remains a "top 10 startup to watch." Learn more from Brian Handly in Forbes too.

And Target Pharma shared more of its plans for the rest of the year with the Triangle Business Journal.

Portfolio news - October 2017

In what is rapidly becoming the Proterra and Avadim show, below are links to some of the newsworthy items for late September and October.

Proterra: after several years and much effort, here come the first two Proterra buses in Greenville. And these are now officially world-record-breaking buses; take a seat Tesla.  And Proterra also announced partnerships with LG Chem, purchases by Van Hool, and more.

Avadim: Avadim announced a partnership with another market leader - this time Cardinal Health, to provide Avadim's line of topical bionome therapies. But not everything goes according to plan...

TiO Home announced a partnership with On Top Of The World Communities - a 3-year, 1,200-home program beginning in January.

Kwipped was featured in Total Station Markets, Chemistry World, MSN Lifestyle, the Journal Of Clinical Research Best Practices, and Irish Tech News - quite a selection. It also passed $75MM in listed assets.

Target Pharma: announced the extension of its partnerships with Bristol-Myers Squibb and Intercept, and a new partnership with Boehringer Ingelheim.

And Baebies announced a global distribution partnership for SEEKER with Trivitron's Labsystems Diagnostics.

Portfolio news - August / September 2017

Avadim: announced its partnership with Rite Aid and other pharmacies for Theraworx Relief, and was recognized as the 2nd-fastest growing company in NC and 13th-fastest growing healthcare company on the Inc 500 - quite an achievement. Awesome work Avadim.

Plum Print: featured on Good Morning America as a way to preserve those summer memories (and release all of the guilt).

Proterra: more CATbuses as Clemson acquired its second fleet of Proterra buses, they're coming to RDU airport - learn more here and here; five Proterra buses will begin serving New York City; and this long list of partnerships just announced with DoT grants is impressive

Altas Organics: learn more about recycling with Compost House from Atlas Organics - and about the new pilot program in Henderson County.

Emrgy: See more video of Emrgy's Denver installation, including four new installations, and the team behind "the first distributed hydropower installation in the United States."

Portfolio news - Summer 2017

More milestones, awards, and good publicity over the last few weeks for the entrepreneurs working hard over the summer.

Emrgy: Emrgy's installation of a turbine in a canal for Denver Water generated plenty of local press and coverage in trade publications. You can even enjoy live footage from several news outlets.

Kwipped:

ActivEd: SCRA announced additional funding for ActivEd through SC Launch.

UVision: Enjoy Allison London-Brown's presentation of UVision and its Luminelle hysteroscope at CED's Life Science Conference earlier this summer.

Atlas Organics: After success with its residential collection program Compost House in Greenville, Atlas Organics is beginning its efforts in Chattanooga.

Baebies: Received a CE mark in Europe for SEEKER, which is great news, and announced new assays for FINDER. They also inked a new deal with Trivitron's Labsystems Diagnostics to deliver a wider range of newborn screening solutions.

Zipit: Wins a 2017 IoT Security Excellence Award from IoT Evolution magazine.

Proterra: Read about Greenville's grant application to have Proterra buses on Upstate streets.

Avadim: Announced the showcasing of PHUEL at the National Athletic Trainers' Association Clinical Symposia & AT Expo at the end of June in Houston.

Portfolio news - June 2017

June is apparently a very busy time for our companies, so much so that we need two updates this month to cover the news already this month.

Proterra: Undermining the narrative that South Carolina companies never raise venture capital, Proterra announced its latest $55 million financing (in which VentureSouth members again participated - thanks pro rata rights!)  (Forbes, WSJ.) Wonder what proportion of those that are "still in" will be buying electric buses or just creating their own hot air?

ActivEd: several big achievements, from a rollout across all Cherokee County Schools to a state-level budget proviso to fund Walkabouts in 250 more classrooms in South Carolina - taking ActivEd into over 50% of schools in the state. This is why this is important.

Pharmright: Livi is working hard - and is already improving the lives of caregivers and early adopters. You can enjoy The Medicine Shoppe's commercial here.

OB Medical: LaborView is now available in Australia and New Zealand thanks to a distribution partnership with LSR Healthcare. (It had also announced integration with Philips' legacy monitoring systems back in April.)

Kwipped: Officially announced the additional investment from The Angel Roundtable. Pleased to be working with Tony and the rest of the TAR team.

Servosity: And finally here's Damien Stevens' "Entrepreneur Minute" from a couple of weeks ago.

Portfolio news - Early June 2017

There is no quiet winding down for summer at VentureSouth - with two diligence teams working hard, multiple investments closing, and strategic planning for improvements to our processes in the fall.

There is even less of a decrescendo at our portfolio companies. Here are the most recent updates:

Pharmright: new customers flooding in during May, including new pharmacy customers like The Medicine Shoppe in South Dakota and PharmNet in Mississippi.  Vote for them in the AARP Innovation Challenge here.

Avadim: continuing its partnership expansion, Avadim announced its partnership with Briggs Healthcare and with GPA.

Vendor Registry: added Dorchester County to its portfolio of governments in SC, joining Florence County, North Charleston, City of Spartanburg, and many others.

Atlas Organics: launched its consumer food waste collection business, Compost House. See this introduction from Greenville Online.

Proterra: World's most amazing bus company Proterra added a new chief legal officer and a new CFO.

And Kwipped's new equipment leasing program continues to add partners, like Balboa Capital today.

 

Portfolio news - May 2017

The spring continues to be productive for VentureSouth's portfolio companies. Here is a recap of recent progress on marketing and product development

Plum Print: received nationwide exposure in the Washington Post (subsequently re-circulated through the Rockies in the Denver Post to the Pacific in the Bend Bulletin!) - and was Sarah Michelle Gellar's top pick for Mothers Day. You can see their elevator pitch on MSNBC and on Hulu.

Kwipped: announced the launch of its equipment leasing program. If you would like to rent-to-own equipment, Kwipped now helps you find the equipment AND find ways to finance it. Learn more from Robert on the SE Tech Podcast from this month.

Avadim: announced another partnership, this time with Ocean X for a direct to consumer subscription channel.

Proterra: it wouldn't be a monthly update without something on Proterra. This month we have a new cold weather package and diagnostics kits and a test of the bus in Greenville. Not cool enough? How about (semi) autonomous buses?

Building up products, teams, and revenues are (of course) crucial for growth. But we are always mindful of exit preparation, and so are pleased to see when portfolio companies add to their patent suite - making themselves more attractive to potential strategic buyers.

Congratulations therefore to Zipit (here - receiving its 10th patent),  KIYATEC (here), Pharmright (here), and Brightfield (here) on expanding their patent portfolios in the last few weeks.

Portfolio news - April 2017

Partnerships are crucial to early-stage companies to help them scale more rapidly. April saw the announcement of three example partnerships in our portfolio:

Other companies launched new products and hit milestones on their own:

And Proterra just keeps on rolling:

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Portfolio news - March 2017

March was another busy month for VentureSouth portfolio companies. Here are a few of our favorite stories.

The Upstate Business Journal's "Startups to Watch" featured several VentureSouth portfolio companies, including TipHive and Ellipsis.

Kwipped expanded its services to offer "white glove delivery service" to take the complexity out of shipping and returning the assets you rent from the marketplace. And, if somehow you missed it, it had a nice write up in Electrical Engineering times.

Medical device manufacturer Pharmright added to its sales team - welcome Shannon.

And in the biggest news this month, Pete Durand and Rival Health announced a merger with gBehavior to create a comprehensive wellness platform with offices across the southeast. Congratulations to Pete and the team, and good luck on the next stage of the journey.

PS - Know anyone that would like to be an Optical Development and Test Specialist?

Portfolio news - February 2017

Since the last set of portfolio news in January, VentureSouth investment companies have achieved recognition in many areas. In addition to Baebies' FDA approval, here are other examples:

Zipit Wireless: named in Gartner's Market Guide for Clinical Communication & Collaboration report.

Brightfield: profiled by UNC TV as part of their program about Asheville's Collider.

Several others added to their already impressive teams:

Kwipped: hired a CTO, Wellington Souza (and continued receiving positive press in trade magazines like For Construction Pros and Lab Manager, and local newspapers).

Avadim: hired a new chief medical officer, Dr Joseph Renzulli, and their newest board member, Humberto Antunes, won a Lifetime Achievement Award at the South Beach Symposium.

Others still announced sales growth and other partnerships, like:

Vendor Registry: is now being used by Myrtle Beach's procurement division.

TipHive: agreed a new partnership with a large Papa Johns franchisor, to help information sharing within the franchise network, and was featured in the MMM SE Tech Podcast series - to which you should subscribe.

And the final award of the night goes to Emrgy, voted the best startup in Georgia (1-10 employees) by the Atlanta Business Chronicle.

Baebies receives FDA approval

Congratulations to Baebies for announcing it received clearance from the FDA for its SEEKER platform - the first Lysosomal Storage Disease newborn screening platform.

Following a panel review recommendation last August that unanimously supported approval, the FDA announced its clearance last week.

As Seeking Alpha put it: Who Loves Ya, Baebies?

This is a great milestone for Baebies, in which VentureSouth members invested in 2014 and last year, and another underline of the "Do Good" part of our motto - "Make Money. Have Fun. Do Good."

Vendor Registry: new VentureSouth investment raises $1.8 million

We are very pleased to contribute to Vendor Registry's seed round. Announced today, the $1.8 million financing is to continue its rapid expansion, to let more local governments obtain services more efficiently from vendors.

Angel groups frequently invest in partnership with other groups. In this case, we are delighted to be working alongside both southeastern partners (like the Chattanooga Renaissance Fund and Lighthouse Ventures) and new partners from further afield (Allos Ventures). And of course alongside Chris Van Beke and his talented team, who are already helping local government agencies do more with less.

You can learn more about the company from this profile in GovTech magazine.

Good luck to Vendor Registry.

Portfolio news - January 2017

January began with a bang with Proterra's financing, and they continued to dominate headlines - with stories of big order wins like this one for 73 buses.

January has been an exciting time for other VentureSouth portfolio companies as well. Here are a few others that have made the news.

ActivEd: Kinesthetic learning edtech company ActivEd is going to be used in all the elementary schools in Greenville County. Greenville County is the largest school district in SC (and the 44th largest in the US) with over 50 elementary schools, so this is a big win.

Pharmright: Charleston-based Pharmright raised additional capital to accelerate the commercialization of Livi. Our groups participated - led by VentureSouth Charleston.

Vendor Registry: New portfolio company Vendor Registry impressed us - and impressed the Murfreesboro, TN purchasing department.

Booster: Crowdr became Booster, and moved from desktop to mobile. You can now live-stream your event from your phone or tablet, and simultaneously raise money for it. Download the app here.

Plum Print: And Plum Print inadvertently troubleshot inauguration logistics...

VentureSouth announces investment in KWIPPED

We were very pleased to announce yesterday that VentureSouth members have invested in KWIPPED.

KWIPPED is an online platform that helps businesses and organizations wanting to rent specialized commercial equipment. The company assists with rentals in more than 500 equipment categories across 22 different industries. Its applications include medical and laboratory, audio-visual, construction, surveying, film production, power utility, and many more.

Nearly 500 suppliers have listed over $55 million of their assets available for rent, and many thousands of potential renters seeking equipment are registered with the platform.

VentureSouth is anchoring this $1 million Series A round of growth capital, which will be used to accelerate KWIPPED’s marketing efforts, increase the variety of equipment available for rental, and add sales and technology staff.

Members from across our network, from Asheville Angels to Lowcountry Angels in Charleston, and the VentureSouth Angel Fund II, participated in the investment. We wish Robert Preville and the rest of the KWIPPED team the best of luck growing the business - and will do whatever we can to help!

(And thanks to a diverse set of media, from Fortune and the Wall Street Journal to the Wilmington Business Journal to the Palmetto Business Daily for helping to spread the news.)

 

Proterra's $140 million round

Happy 2017 everyone!

We begin our portfolio news this year with a BIG announcement - a $140 million round raised by portfolio company Proterra. This is genuinely exciting and national-scope news - congratulations to the team that is truly revolutionizing bus transportation.

It's also exciting news for UCAN and VentureSouth. Our members were able to participate in this financing - and did so with enthusiasm. We made a substantial investment (though of course a small proportion of $140 million!) - particularly for an angel group that had already invested repeatedly in the company in each every round since we first invested.

VentureSouth (via UCAN) first invested in the bridge round in 2011 that allowed the company to survive long enough to raise the first venture capital round from Kleiner Perkins. Since then, the company has gone from strength to strength. We'll explore on our blog some lessons learned from this investment. Look out for those.

It is still possible to invest in Proterra through VentureSouth. Contact us to learn more.

Portfolio news - November / December 2016

Several exciting updates from the last few weeks.

Proterra leads the way, with coverage in Forbes - and with press on three recent deals: (1) 15 new buses funded by the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District; (2) in the Chicago Tribune of an announcement in late October about a partnership with JLL to deliver 10 Catalyst buses for a service operating between Chicago’s commuter train stations the Prudential Plaza and Aon Center, both JLL-managed properties, in Chicago; and (3) the Pioneer Valley Transit Authority in Massachusetts.

Target Pharma continues to outperform, announcing its fourth disease community in partnership with Bristol-Myers Squibb - following its earlier announcement in partnership with Intercept Pharmaceuticals.

KIYATEC is not far behind - moving by popular acclaim from a startup to a breakout success. Keep up the good work.

Pharmright is accelerating nationally - demo'ing the Livi from Missouri to Maine.

Avadim announced its recognition by Vizient for the innovation of its technology and its plans to make $3.1 million of products per week at its new facility.

And lastly Crowdr provided a sneak peak of its mobile app Booster that launches in January. See you on there!

More portfolio news - October 2016

October has been a busy month, especially for the medical companies in our portfolio. Here are their further highlights.

Pharmright: Reached passed important milestones - production coming from its Maine manufacturing facility and product being shipped to customers. Many congratulations.

OB Medical: After announcing the LaborView at the AHWONN conference in June, maternal-fetal monitoring device manufacturer OB Medical began supplying their device to delivery rooms across the US. Congratulations to them too!

Avadim: Triple good news for our Asheville portfolio company, Avadim, which announced a partnership with the National Wrestling Coaches Association to prevent skin infections in wrestlers, enjoyed coverage for its continuing record revenue growth, and announced its roll-out of consumer products when Theraworx Relief hits the shelves next year.

And not strictly "portfolio news," these two articles are interesting insights into two portfolio companies:

  • This profile of Baebies' co-founder and president Vamsee Pamula explains his background and reveals much about what makes a stellar entrepreneur.
  • This article by Arjun Sethi explains at length why the "hive" is a great communications platform - and shows why we are excited to support TipHive.

Portfolio news - October 2016

Each month we convey some of the achievements of some of our portfolio companies. There is plenty of good news already this month, so here is an early October portfolio update.

Avadim: Announced its plans for a $25 million investment to create 500 jobs in a new HQ in Western North Carolina. This helps to explain why early stage companies create all net new jobs.

Atlas Organics: delivered the goods - in the form of 20 tons of organic compost. Much more to come.

Pharmright: Announced a partnership with Med One to help finance purchases of the new Livi, and became a finalist in Med City News' patient engagement competition.

Target PharmaSolutions announced very exciting news about its first disease state communities and first industry partnerships.

And Baebies received unanimous approval from the FDA panel for its SEEKER screening.

Some really impressive milestones in several different areas. And on a lighter note, Growjourney helped Paul boast impressive rows of broccoli, kale, lettuce, chard, and bok choy in his vegetable garden for the first time. Baby kale pairs well with (VentureSouth sponsor) RJ Rockers' Bellringer. Who knew?