UCAN Investing to Improve Upstate Economy, Hosting Regional Investor Conference
Greenville, SC – After a busy summer that included investments totaling nearly $1 million in six fast-growth local and regional companies, the Upstate Carolina Angel Network (UCAN) has plans to leverage its success into future initiatives to develop early stage capital growth in South Carolina, including a regional angel investor conference in Greenville in October.
UCAN, a group of over 50 accredited investors located in Upstate South Carolina, invests in and supports start-up and early-stage, high-growth businesses in the Southeastern United States. Since 2008, the group has invested $3.2 million in 12 companies, including 8 South Carolina companies and 4 companies in Georgia and North Carolina.
This summer, UCAN completed first round investments in Zipit Wireless (Greenville, SC), Centrafuse (Atlanta, GA), Lab 21 (Greenville, SC), and Sabal Medical (Charleston, SC), in addition to second round investments in portfolio companies SensorTech (Greenville,SC) and Southeast TechInventures (Research Triangle Park, NC).
“With high unemployment rates and a shrinking venture capital industry, angel investing is playing an increasingly important role for the economy, especially in South Carolina,” says UCAN Managing Director Matt Dunbar, adding that South Carolina has lagged the country and the region for early stage capital formation, particularly in venture capital investments.
“New businesses need substantial financial resources to survive and grow, and the US economy desperately needs new, innovative private sector businesses to create sustainable jobs,” Dunbar adds, citing a recent Kauffman Foundation study which showed all net new jobs in the US since 1980 were created by startup companies.
Despite the uncertain economic climate, Dunbar sees evidence of a healthy deal flow and favorable deal terms. “Our primary concern is not the lack of investment opportunities, it’s ensuring that these promising new companies have access to the resources they need to succeed.”
Dunbar wants to see a more favorable environment and better infrastructure for angel investing groups operating in SC in order to help fill that funding gap. UCAN is working towards that end with several initiatives to support angel group formation and investment infrastructure for SC.
One such effort that UCAN is spearheading is the 2010 Southeast Region Angel Capital Association (ACA) Meeting in Greenville on October 19-21. The conference represents an opportunity to showcase Greenville to more than 25 angel groups and leading venture capital firms from across the southeast, potentially leading to increased funding sources for top Upstate businesses and new high paying jobs for area residents. The meeting will include several powerful educational components that will benefit accredited investors interested in learning more about early stage investing opportunities.
The conference will focus heavily on “deal syndication” strategies between regional angel and venture capital groups, with guest expert David Verrill from Hub Angels in Boston presenting. Deal syndication, a strategy that helps investment groups de-risk while concurrently ensuring a client company is adequately resourced, is being increasingly utilized by angel groups in order to mitigate the risk associated with investing in early stage companies.
The conference will also feature presentations by six member-sponsored candidate companies, an Angel Capital Education Foundation workshop on Trends in Raising Capital (led by John May, Chairman Emeritus of the ACA), and a Southeast Venture Capital panel featuring several leading Southeast venture capitalists. For more information, visit http://www.angelcapitalassociation.org/southeast-2010/
UCAN and the upcoming regional conference are sponsored by the Greenville Chamber of Commerce, NEXT, SC Launch!, the Wyche Law Firm, Merge, Elliott-Davis and Noro-Moseley Partners.
For additional information about UCAN membership or conference sponsorships, please contact:
Upstate Carolina Angel Network