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.
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:
- Pharma & biotech: 31.18%
- Software & apps: 28.40%
- Other healthcare: 18.83%
- Commercial services: 10.95%
- Media 1.52%
- IT hardware 1.22%
- 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.