VentureSouth, a South Carolina-based early stage investment firm, grew its membership to nearly 300 investors in 2018 and invested $7 million in 22 Southeastern startups, up from $4.5 million in 2017.
The firm said in a news release that 2018 marked the fifth consecutive year of record-setting results.
VentureSouth made first-time investments in new Palmetto State portfolio companies 6AM City, the provider of condensed aggregate news that ecompasses COLAtoday, GVLtoday and CHStoday, Sharpen and Sentio. The firm also made follow-on investments to help accelerate the growth of prior portfolio companies, including Atlas Organics in Spartanburg, Kwipped in Wilmington, N.C. and Brightfield Transportation in Asheville. The firm also participated in Proterra’s $155 million venture capital round led by Daimler Ventures last summer, according to the release.
“2018 was another record-breaking year for VentureSouth,” Charlie Bank, managing director of VentureSouth, said in the release. “We continued to expand our investor base, support entrepreneurs just launching their companies and stand alongside current portfolio companies who continue to make progress.”
VentureSouth returned nearly $7 million to investors in 2018 from the sale of three portfolio companies — FarmShots, an agriculture technology software company, acquired by Syngenta; Target PharmaSolutions, a clinical trial data management company, acquired by Norwest Venture Partners, and OBMedical, a medical device company, acquired by Philips. Combined, these three exits generated a nearly quadruple return on investment in just over two years, yielding an annual rate of return of over 70%, the release said.
“Of all that we achieved in 2018, the most important was to return significant capital to our investors with strong rates of return,” Paul Clark, managing director of VentureSouth, said in the release. “Exits like these provide money that can be reinvested 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 in 2018 by growing its angel investor memberships by 20% to almost 300 investors across the Carolinas. The group also launched a “virtual” membership option for investors in smaller cities and in areas outside the Carolinas.