Charlotte investors are actually putting up serious money in local startups

Charlotte investors are actually putting up serious money in local startups
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I picked up the book “Startup Communities” by venture capital mogul Brad Feld the other day after he spoke here in Charlotte. In the book, Feld talks about how to build a startup ecosystem in any decent-sized city in the country, and some of the common problems to overcome.

No. 2 on the list: Complaining about capital. I’ve heard this from time to time in Charlotte’s startup world as well — and a new survey from the Charlotte Angel Fund looks to put to rest the notion that there’s no local capital to be had for a growing business.

Here are some of the findings from the survey of 61 Charlotte-based angel investors and venture capitalists (which doesn’t encompass all the activity). The numbers cover their personal money, not funds they manage.

Charlotte investors put in $36.175 million in the past five years.

That equates to about $7 million per year. If that doesn’t strike you as a lot, you’re probably dreaming of the Silicon Valley bubble. Charlotte Angel Fund’s administrator Greg Brown noted that this would be enough to fund 14 different startups at a half-mil per year, a reasonable run rate.

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About one-third of that went to Charlotte companies.

Here’s how the rest of it broke down:

  • North Carolina, excluding Charlotte 9.52%
  • Southeast U.S., excluding North Carolina 15.22%
  • United States, excluding Southeast region 39.01%
  • Outside of U.S. 2.50%

Charlotte investors like biotech.

Here’s how their investments broke down:

  1. Pharma & biotech: 31.18%
  2. Software & apps: 28.40%
  3. Other healthcare: 18.83%
  4. Commercial services: 10.95%
  5. Media 1.52%
  6. IT hardware 1.22%
  7. Energy 0.76%

They’re willing to stroke big checks.

More than half had invested more than $100,000 in a single company, and about a quarter had put more than $250,000 in one firm.

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