VentureSouth Recognized as a Top 10 Angel Group in North America

VentureSouth is delighted to announce that it has been recognized as one of the top 10 angel investment groups in North America.

In the 2019 Angel Funders Report released this week by the Angel Capital Association, VentureSouth was reported as a top ten angel investment group based on capital invested by its members in 2018.

The Angel Capital Association is the largest association of angel groups in the world, with 260 angel groups and other early stage investors with over 14,000 members. Its members include many of the leading angel groups in the world.

VentureSouth was listed alongside some of the largest and most well-respected angel groups in the US and Canada, including Tech Coast Angels in California, New York Angels and Golden Seeds in New York, and the Central Texas Angel Network. 

VentureSouth Managing Director Matt Dunbar commented: “It is a great honor to be recognized as a top 10 angel group by the ACA. Most of the other groups on the list have been nationally-recognized leaders in this space for many years, so we are delighted to be included and proud to be deploying similar levels of capital in our communities in the Southeast.”

VentureSouth invested $7 million in 22 companies in 2018 and is on track for another record-breaking year in 2019 with over $6 million deployed through July. 

To learn more about VentureSouth’s Portfolio Companies visit, venturesouth.vc/ourportfolio.

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VentureSouth Announces Record Investing Activity in First Half of 2019

VentureSouth, one of the top 10 angel investment groups in the United States with nearly 350 members, announces another record-breaking level of investing during the first half of 2019. 

To the end of June, VentureSouth members and fund investors invested $4.8 million into 17 companies. This was 24% more than the $3.9 million invested during the same period in 2018.

New companies receiving initial investments this year include Zylo Therapeutics, a nano-technology based drug delivery system; OffSite, a platform for better offsite advertising; and Aperiomics, the creators of a single test to diagnose all infectious diseases. 

Multiple existing VentureSouth portfolio companies also received additional funding, including KIYATEC, a drug optimization platform; Emergo Therapeutics, a biopharma company developing a treatment to control the body’s immune response; and Spiffy, a platform for vehicle maintenance and a leader in “vehicle 2.0.”

The group also saw another positive exit this year, when Columbia-based Cirtemo was acquired by ThorLabs. VentureSouth was also recognized by the Angel Capital Association as one of the top 10 angel groups in North America.

Managing Director Paul Clark commented, “2019 has been another busy and rewarding year at VentureSouth so far. We continue to attract investors from across the Carolinas eager to join our mission to Make Money, Have Fun, and Do Good. We continue funding some of the leading companies in the southeast. And we continue returning capital to our members. The breadth of investment activity, the collective brainpower of nearly 350 members, and the established and professional team leading the activity set us apart from other providers of capital for startups, and we look forward to continuing to redefine angel investment in the region.”

To learn more about VentureSouth’s Portfolio, visit www.venturesouth.vc/ourportfolio.

VentureSouth Leads Investment Rounds for Two Greenville-Based Companies

VentureSouth is pleased to announce that it recently led  investment rounds for two Greenville-based startups—a Series Seed Investment for Offsite and a Series A Investment for Zylö Therapeutics.  

Founded by the former Iron Yard team, Offsite provides a marketplace that enables website and list owners to share their audiences with advertisers, without having to sell any customer data. The platform provides advertisers access to highly targeted audiences while audience owners generate an additional way to monetize value they’ve already created. 

Matt Dunbar, Managing Director for VentureSouth, says his team was eager to support Offsite due to their past success. “We have known and respected their team for quite some time and think they have created a compelling, unique solution in a large market with evidence of hugry customers on both sides of the marketplace,” said Dunbar.

Offsite COO Eric Dodds adds, “We’re incredibly excited to be working with the VentureSouth investors again. Greenville has a rich history of advertising businesses, and we’re excited to be a part of that story as a software startup. Partnerships like this one are a key part of our goal to build companies that impact the entire world, right here from the Southeast.”

Zylö Therapeutics is a unique life science company with a drug delivery system that uses nanoparticles, called Z-pods™, to deliver therapeutic agents through topical applications. Zylö’s technology allows for 24-plus hours of delivery, thereby requiring only a once-a-day application. Their novel and compelling approach has created a much-needed solution to a longstanding challenge of sustained topical release of therapeutic agents.

Scott Pancoast, Zylö CEO and Founder, stated, “We value the leading role that VentureSouth played in our Series A round and appreciate the underlying confidence in the potential of our Z-pod™ technology.”

These investments from VentureSouth are further evidence that the startup scene in Greenville is healthy and growing. “Our investments speak to the growth of serial entrepreneurship here as both of these companies are led by entrepreneurs who have been founders before,” said Dunbar. “Being able to combine their talent and experience with local investors’ insight and capital demonstrates the model we have been working to build, so it’s exciting to see the process come to fruition in these two new companies.”

Offsite and Zylö become the 22ndand 23rdcompanies that VentureSouth has invested in to date in the Greenville community. For more information on their technologies, visit www.connectoffsite.com and www.zylotherapeutics.com.  

VentureSouth Wilmington launch

VentureSouth is pleased to announce a new addition to its network: VentureSouth Wilmington.

We are pleased to partner with Rob Kaiser and his team to bring Wilmington investors into the VentureSouth network, to bring deals across the Carolinas to Wilmington, and to bring Wilmington-based companies to angel investors across the southeast.

We are beginning with interest meetings to introduce VentureSouth to the Wilmington community. You can see more details on our Coming Events page, including in the afternoon on May 14 and the morning of May 15 here.

See Rob discussing the group on WECT News today at this link and more details of the plans in the Wilmington Business Journal.

We hope to see you there!

VentureSouth Managing Director Recognized on Business Report's List of Icons and Phenoms

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VentureSouth is pleased to announce that one of its managing directors, Charlie Banks, has been recognized for his influence on the community and honored in Columbia Regional Business Report’s inaugural list of Icons and Phenoms.

Breaking with tradition, Business Report honored two groups of people this year: Icons and Phenoms. Banks was chosen as a Phenom, an up-and-coming, go-getter challenging the landscape. A panel of judges selected the honorees who were first nominated by Business Report readers.

Banks, along with 23 other business professionals, were honored at a luncheon on April 11 and will get a profile published in the April 22 issue of Business Report.

This is not the first time Banks has been recognized for his work; he was named one of Columbia Business Monthly’s 50 Most Influential of 2018 (for the fourth consecutive year) and one of The State newspaper’s 20 under 40 in 2016. Banks is one of three co-founders and managing directors of VentureSouth, one of the country’s largest early-stage investment firms comprised of nearly 300 private investors.

Banks also serves as the executive director of Venture Carolina, a sister nonprofit organization that provides comprehensive investor and entrepreneur education.

To read the complete list of Icons and Phenoms, visit this link.

VentureSouth Announces 2018 Record-Breaking Results

VentureSouth is pleased to announce record-setting results for a fifth consecutive year. In 2018, the South Carolina-based early stage investment firm grew its membership to nearly 300 investors and invested $7 million in 22 Southeastern startups, up from $4.5 million in 2017.

VentureSouth made first-time investments in new portfolio companies 6AM City in Greenville, Sharpen in Spartanburg, Sentio in Charleston, Threatswitch and ecomdash in Charlotte, and Emergo Therapeutics and Spiffy in the Raleigh-Durham area.

VentureSouth also made follow-on investments to help accelerate the growth of prior portfolio companies, including Atlas Organics in Spartanburg, Kwipped in Wilmington, and Brightfield Transportation in Asheville. The firm also participated in Proterra’s $155 million venture capital round led by Daimler Ventures last summer.

Managing Director Charlie Banks reflected on the investments saying, “2018 was another record-breaking year for VentureSouth. We continued to expand our investor base, support entrepreneurs just launching their companies, and stand alongside current portfolio companies who continue to make progress.”

In addition, VentureSouth returned nearly $7 million to investors in 2018 from the sale of three portfolio companies: FarmShots, an agriculture technology software company, was acquired by Syngenta; Target PharmaSolutions, a clinical trial data management company, was acquired by Norwest Venture Partners; and OBMedical, a medical device company, was acquired by Philips.  Combined, these three exits generated a nearly 4x return on investment in just over two years, yielding an annual rate of return of over 70%.

Managing Director Paul Clark added, “Of all that we achieved in 2018, the most important was to return significant capital to our investors with strong rates of return. Exits like these provide money that can be re-invested into other startups and highlight the importance of early stage investing – an asset class that has historically been underserved in our region.”

VentureSouth continued to expand its base of capital and expertise in 2018 by growing its angel investor memberships by 20% to almost 300 investors across the Carolinas. The group also also launched a “virtual” membership option for investors in smaller cities and in geographies outside the Carolinas. 

VentureSouth On Pace for Record Year in 2018

VentureSouth On Pace for Another Record Year 

Greenville, S.C.VentureSouth, one of the nation’s largest angel investment firms, is on a record-breaking pace for investments and returns in 2018.

In September, the group announced its third exit of the year when OBMedical, a wireless fetal monitoring device company was purchased by Philips.  Combined with the sale of FarmShots to Syngenta in February and another undisclosed transaction this spring, VentureSouth has returned over $6 million to investors this year, generating total returns in excess of 3.5x. 

In addition to the returns, the group has invested over $5.2 million into 15 companies this year, which surpasses the total of $4.5 million invested for all of 2017.

New companies recently receiving initial investments included Threatswitch, a Charlotte-based security and compliance software platform for heavily-regulated companies; Spiffy, the Triangle-based on-demand car care, technology, and services company; Emergo Therapeutics, a biopharmaceutical start-up based in Durham; and Ecomdash, a Charlotte-based ecommerce inventory management platform.

In addition, several existing VentureSouth portfolio companies have recently received follow-on funding from the group, including Proterra, Greenville’s electric bus manufacturer; Atlas Organics, a Spartanburg organic food collection and composting business; and Physcient, a medical device company in Durham.

VentureSouth Managing Director, Charlie Banks, commented, “This year has been a very busy and rewarding one for VentureSouth. We were pleased to return significant capital gains to our investors while deploying more capital than all of last year.  Our investor base continues to grow, and we are excited and determined to continue building upon our successes.”

Special thanks to MidlandsBiz, UpstateBizSC, LowCountryBizSC, UBJ, GSA Business and others for the coverage. And the Southern Startups newsletter - which you need to subscribe to!

UCAN Celebrates 10th Anniversary with Record Quarter

Thanks to all our friends - like Bauknight, Pietras & Stormer, the Upstate Business Journal, and others - who helped us celebrate...

Greenville, S.C. – The Upstate Carolina Angel Network (UCAN) recently celebrated its 10th anniversary with the grand opening of its new headquarters – and a record-setting month for investments and returns. 

UCAN launched in the Spring of 2008 to provide capital and expertise to early stage ventures in the Southeast, and since then the group has expanded under the VentureSouth brand to include a dozen angel groups across the Carolinas.  Over the last ten years, more than 300 investors in the group have invested over $28 million in 61 companies, with roughly half the companies and 60% of the dollars invested in South Carolina. 

UCAN’s Founding Managing Director, Matt Dunbar, added, “Over the last 10 years, we have been proud to be part of the growth of the startup ecosystem in Greenville and the region.  Our members have helped support startups tackling tough challenges across a range of industries, and those companies have gone on to raise over $350 million of additional capital, employ over 1000 people, and create strong investment returns for our investors.”  He added, “It has been rewarding to work with entrepeneurs and our investors to accomplish our objectives to make money, have fun and do good.” 

As part of UCAN’s anniversary celebration, the group announced its second portfolio company acquisition for the year, which generated a 9.5x initial return in just over two years, generating a 180% annualized rate of return. Earlier this year, FarmShots was acquired by Syngenta yielding a 50% annualized rate of return.

In addition to strong returns for investors, UCAN and VentureSouth continue to invest at a record pace.  The groups have invested $3.7 million this quarter in 8 new and existing portfolio companies.  Those investments include Proterra, the Greenville-based electric bus manufacturer, 6AM City, a Greenville-based media company and Atlas Organics, the Spartanburg-based collector and composter of food waste.   

To learn more about UCAN and how to be part of its second decade of angel investing, please visit www.venturesouth.vc/ucan.

VentureSouth August Newsletter

We're proud of the connections being made and the work being done between angel investors and early stage companies in the VentureSouth portfolio.

Our August newsletter covered some recent portfolio updates and stories of collaboration between engaged angels and entrepreneurs. Please let us know what you think - and whether you liked our past newsletters.

Better still, sign up for future notes so you hear first about our upcoming educational workshops and VentureSouth news.

Welcoming Erin Ouzts as leader of Spartanburg Angels

We are very pleased that Erin Ouzts is joining the Spartanburg Angels team as Director of the group.

Below is more on the announcement of her appointment, and you can read more in the Upstate Business Journal. We're excited about adding her enterpreneurial and investing experience, and relationships with potential investors and early stage companies in Spartanburg, to the team.

 

Spartanburg Angels Announces

New Director

Spartanburg, S.C. – Spartanburg Angels is delighted to announce the appointment of Erin Ouzts as its new Director.

Spartanburg Angels is an angel investment group that invests in early stage companies in Spartanburg and across the Carolinas. It is part of the VentureSouth network of 14 affiliated angel groups and funds.

Erin has been a member of Spartanburg Angels and a driving force behind the group since its beginning in 2015. Erin agreed to become Director this summer to help continue growing the membership and increasing the number of local companies that present to the VentureSouth members.

“I’m thrilled to continue to grow Spartanburg Angels,” said Erin. “With the support of the One Spartanburg plan and our local investors, Spartanburg Angels will continue to impact our community as a key piece of the ecosystem of support for entrepreneurs. Many elements must work together to create a dynamic entrepreneurial ecosystem and capital for growing companies is a critical piece.”

Over 35 people have been part of Spartanburg Angels since it was created. These members have already invested in 15 early stage companies from across the Carolinas, including Spartanburg companies like Atlas Organics.

“We’ve enjoyed working with Erin to form and grow Spartanburg Angels over the last two years,” said Paul Clark, a Managing Director at VentureSouth. “And we’re excited about the momentum and enthusiasm she will bring to continuing to grow the group.”

“Last year’s OneSpartanburg Community Assessment noted that many communities of a similar size to Spartanburg would covet the presence of a locally-based angel investment group,” added Betsy Sikma, director of small business and entrepreneurial development for the Economic Futures Group at the Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce. “The plan’s final recommendations are to work with Spartanburg Angels to expand funding options for local high-growth firms.  We’re pleased to have been able to form the group, and to continue to see it being led by experienced angel investors and entrepreneurs.”

Anyone wanting to learn more about Spartanburg Angels is encouraged to visit its website at or connect with Erin at erin@venturesouth.vc.

Announcing VentureSouth Piedmont - the new VS affiliate in the Triad

We are very excited to be working with Matt Bailey and Malay Shah on the development of VentureSouth Piedmont.

Below is the announcement sent out today; and thanks to the Triad Business Journal for their ongoing coverage and updates.

Interested in coming to an interest meeting? See our Events Page for details of dates and locations.

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New Angel Investor Group Forms in Triad

VentureSouth Piedmont (VSP) today announces a series of events to organize and increase angel investing in the Piedmont Triad.

Starting with a launch meeting on September 14th, VSP will hold meetings to gauge interest in the local business and investment community for a local angel investor group. These events are open to anyone interested in investing in early stage companies and entrepreneurs in the Piedmont Triad and across the Southeast.

VSP will be a membership-based group of individual investors with local leadership. The group will meet monthly to invest in and support startup and early-stage, high-growth companies. VSP has already begun working on its first investments.

VSP is an affiliate of VentureSouth. VentureSouth operates over a dozen proven angel investment groups and funds across the Carolinas, with approximately 250 individual investors and a portfolio of over 50 companies. VSP will work closely with sister groups in Charlotte, Asheville, and across South Carolina that are having a positive impact on their communities. VSP has already begun working on its first investments with its affiliates.

VSP will invest in early stage companies in the Southeast that are seeking investments of $250,000 to $1 million to grow. These companies will span locations and industries, but share common traits: talented, committed entrepreneurs building defensible businesses that solve large, painful, and well-defined problems. VentureSouth targets investments capable of generating a 50% annual rate of return.

VSP’s first members have already joined. The group expects to be similar in size to the larger groups in the VS network. VSP plans to make its first investments this fall. To attend the interest meetings or learn more, please visit VentureSouth Piedmont at venturesouth.vc/piedmont - and to learn more about Matt Bailey and Malay Shah check out our team page.

VentureSouth's AngelList syndicate

We are pleased to announce that this week we are launching the VentureSouth AngelList syndicate.

You can learn more about it here. Keep an eye out for our series of blog posts outlining how it works, why we’re doing it, and why you should consider “backing” it.

You won’t see all our investments on there, or have access to our process, due diligence materials, and expertise – you need to join a VentureSouth group for that. But by backing this syndicate, you have the opportunity to invest alongside our members in some of the most attractive companies in the southeast.

We look forward to working with you!