Despite the myriad challenges brought on by a global pandemic, VentureSouth announced another strong year of investment activity for 2020, with a total of $9.2 million invested in 26 early stage companies in the Southeast.
Over 60% of the funding went to support existing VentureSouth portfolio companies as they navigated substantial threats to their businesses in some cases, and as they quickly maneuvered to capture new opportunities in others. Among the companies receiving follow-on investments were Proterra, PunchList, Sprockets (formerly named Sentio) and 6AM in South Carolina; Kwipped, ProctorFree, Reveal Mobile and Spiffy in North Carolina; Aperiomics in Virginia; and GoPivot in Georgia.
VentureSouth was also pleased to partner with four new companies in its portfolio in 2020. New investments included Live Furnish in Winston-Salem, an image production technology platform for the furnishings industry; Durham-based Seal the Seasons, a locally-sourced frozen fruits and vegetable company; Chattanooga-based Pass It Down, a digital display engagement platform; and Soelect, a Greensboro company developing advanced solid state battery components.
Other highlights from the year included a portfolio exit from Knoxville-based Vendor Registry and the launch of new angel groups in Fayetteville, NC and with affiliate partners Furman University and the Sullivan Foundation.
Charlie Banks, a Managing Director of VentureSouth, commented: “We entered this pandemic just as many other investors, entrepreneurs, and business leaders did – concerned about our portfolio companies and uncertain how they would weather the storm. However, the positive response from our investor members and the resourceful, tenacious responses from the many founders throughout our portfolio proved to be both effective and inspiring. The crucible of challenges in 2020 have helped further our belief in the strength of entrepreneurs and startups in the region, as well as the infrastructure we’ve built to enable a broad base of investors to fund them with conviction.”