For Immediate Release: June 20, 2012
Upstate Carolina Angel Network Announces Six Investments in First Half of 2012
Greenville, SC – The Upstate Carolina Angel Network (UCAN) has completed six investments in the first half of 2012, bringing the group’s total to $5.6 million invested in 22 companies since its inception in 2008.
UCAN is a network of individual investors from across the Upstate who support start-up and early-stage, high-growth businesses with their intellectual and financial capital. Thus far in 2012, the group has invested nearly $500,000 in three Upstate firms: KIYATEC, American Titanium Works and Lab 21. Additional investments this year include two companies in Georgia (Verdeeco, Airo Wireless) and one in North Carolina (Virtual Race Bags).
KIYATEC is a Greenville-based medical technology company developing 3D cell culture tools and cell-based assays for the pharmaceutical, biomedical and life science industries. The technology was developed at Clemson University, and the company occupies space in the ITOR facilities at the Greenville Hospital System. UCAN co-invested in KIYATEC with SC Launch, Nexus Medical Partners and other local investors.
American Titanium Works is the company working to bring a world-class titanium mini-mill to Laurens County. The project was stalled as capital markets tightened during the recession, but UCAN worked with SC Launch and other local investors to provide bridge financing for the company as it prepares to re-enter the capital markets to secure funding for the plant. Although the investment is atypical for an angel group, UCAN members understood the potential impact of the project on the Upstate and came together to help the company move forward – similar to the group’s work last year with SC Launch to secure critical bridge financing for Proterra.
Lab 21 is the medical diagnostics company located in the NEXT Innovation Center that brought its North American headquarters to Greenville when it acquired local startup Selah Technologies. UCAN and SC Launch previously invested in both Selah Technologies and Lab 21.
UCAN’s other investments in 2012 span several industries. Virtual Race Bags is a Charlotte-based company providing a digital marketing platform to organizers of endurance events. Verdeeco is an Atlanta company working at the intersection of the smart-grid and big data trends, developing applications for utilities to analyze massive volumes of data generated by new smart-grid assets. Airo Wireless, also in Atlanta, is bringing to market the first ruggedized, feature-rich, intrinsically-safe smart phone.
Across UCAN’s portfolio, two thirds of the companies that have received investment are located in South Carolina, and over 75% of the dollars invested have remained in state. Companies in the portfolio have created more than 150 jobs, underscoring recent Kauffman Foundation research that shows all net new job growth in the United States over the last 30 years has come from startup companies.
In addition to helping fill a critical gap in the local landscape for early stage capital, UCAN works to educate investors and entrepreneurs about the early stage investment process. The group is currently seeking interested investors and affiliates to help it support the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the Upstate and across South Carolina.
For additional information about membership or sponsorship opportunities, please contact:
Matt Dunbar, Managing Director
Upstate Carolina Angel Network