Greenville-based investment firm VentureSouth posts record year in 2017

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Greenville-based VentureSouth announced last week that it invested $4.5 million in Southeastern startups in 2017, a record for the early-stage investment firm.

The firm invested in 20 companies last year across South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee, according to a news release. It also closed its second co-investment fund with more than $3 million in committed capital.

VentureSouth began in 2008 with the launch of the Upstate Carolina Angel Network in Greenville. Other angel investor groups in the network are located in Spartanburg, Anderson, Clemson, Columbia, Charleston, Rock Hill, Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head, Aiken, and Asheville and Charlotte, N.C.

The firm also launched VentureSouth Piedmont in 2017. The affiliate, which operates out of North Carolina’s Triad region, is led by Malay Shah and Matt Bailey, both of whom have master’s degrees in business administration from Duke University. Collectively, VentureSouth includes more than 250 individual angel investors, making it one of the largest angel groups in the country.

Paul Clark, VentureSouth managing director, said, “2017 was another pivotal, record-breaking year for VentureSouth as we continued to expand our investor base across the Southeast. We are thrilled to add new companies to the portfolio and are excited about the progress many of our portfolio companies made over the last year. They are addressing significant problems across a myriad of industries and gaining national recognition for their innovative solutions.”

VentureSouth has already experienced a busy 2018 with the acquisition of its portfolio company, Farmshots. The North Carolina-based startup was recently acquired by Syngenta in a transaction that met VentureSouth’s return rate target in just 16 months, according to a news release.

FarmShots provides a software platform that aids farmers and agronomists by combining satellite imagery analysis with proprietary algorithms to assess the health of crops and soils. Syngenta plans to integrate the FarmShots software into their farm management system to be used by farmers worldwide.

“Working with VentureSouth was an incredible experience as an entrepreneur on a number of fronts. Not only was the process professional and well organized, the feedback we received was constructive and helped propel the business forward,” said Josh Miller, founder and CEO of Farmshots. “On top of that, the board members they provided were absolutely incredible assets. We could not have achieved the exit we did without their hard work, expertise, and all-around hustle. Not only do I plan to raise money again from VentureSouth on my next venture, I’d hope to one day become part of the incredible community they’ve created for investors.”

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