New leader for entrepreneurial organization to start in September see more
Entrepreneur Eric Weissmann has been named the new Executive Director of NEXT, an entrepreneur support organization in Greenville, SC that has impacted more than 120 companies, who in turn have raised $28 million in capital. NEXT provides connections to mentoring, capital, facilities, and access to a peer community of aspiring founders across the region.
Weissmann was part of the founding team at Cintrifuse, a similar ecosystem catalyst, in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he serves as Vice President of External Relations. Weissmann launched “StartupCincy,” an initiative that started as a simple social media hashtag and bloomed into a full-fledged, connected community. He previously worked in the marketing and creative services industries. Weissmann has helped establish the Disney Cruise Line brand leading up to the maiden voyage of the Disney Magic.
“I’m excited by the opportunity and encouraged by the amount of collaboration I already see in the Greenville community,” said Weissmann. “We’re at a unique moment in time where cities across the country are fostering entrepreneurship by leveraging their unique strengths to attract talent and dollars with the goal of increasing economic development. Greenville’s got the raw materials to make a huge impact on the region and I’m ready to get to work!”
Find Great People led a nationwide, comprehensive search. The interview committee selected Weissmann because of his extensive experience developing innovation ecosystems, supporting entrepreneurs in securing venture capital, leading diversity and inclusion programs, and supporting ventures from concept to exit.
“Eric embodies the qualities we desired in the leader of NEXT: a proven leader with experience building world-class ecosystems for start-ups and developing innovative, collaborative teams and communities where entrepreneurs can thrive,” said Carlos Phillips, Greenville Chamber President/CEO.
NEXT was founded in 2006 and has three locations including NEXT Innovation, NEXT on Main and NEXT Manufacturing.
“As we look to the future, NEXT has a goal of tripling investment in the entrepreneurial ecosystem that we serve,” said Scott Millwood, Chair of NEXT. “Under Weissmann’s leadership, we are confident NEXT will have the strategic and visionary leadership needed to accomplish these goals.”
The City of Greenville is an investor in NEXT, as part of its Economic Development strategy to attract small and medium sized companies that provide high wage, knowledge-based jobs. The Greenville Area Development Corporation (GADC) is also an active supporter.
“NEXT is the vehicle the city utilizes to support early-stage scalable businesses,” said Greenville City Manager John McDonough. “We ‘get’ entrepreneurs and the dreams that drive them. Hiring a founder who has successfully started companies, grown companies and marketed companies, to lead the NEXT organization showcases our commitment to becoming “the place” for brilliant minds to start and grow their business.”
Weissmann is expected to begin in September.
NEXT, launched as a production of the Greenville Chamber in 2006, is an entrepreneurial support organization that attracts and helps high-impact, knowledge-based companies grow by developing an entrepreneurial ecosystem and connecting entrepreneurs to it. NEXT currently supports over 120 knowledge-based companies in Upstate South Carolina. For more information, visit www.nextsc.org
Applications pipeline opened in four new areas see more
Flywheel’s early-stage investment and accelerator program announced today it is expanding in regions ranging from the North Carolina Core to Upstate South Carolina. New Ventures opened applications this month to four separate application pipelines and areas of focus through June 7, 2021.
The expanded accelerator program offering is coupled with a fourfold expansion of the corollary investment funds. “Our ability to replicate the New Ventures program as we expand our network of innovation centers along the I-85 corridor is based on the success of the program over its first five years,” says Peter Marsh, a cofounder of Flywheel and administrative member of the New Ventures LLCs.
“As we expand geographically, the regions we serve all find that access to inception- and early-stage capital fills a gap in the entrepreneurship ecosystems and helps stimulate formation and attraction of scalable technology companies,” he continues.
Page Castrodale, the Executive Director of Economic Development for Cabarrus County where Flywheel just opened it’s third location adds, “We believe that economic development is just as much about organic job creation as it is about recruiting new companies to our community. The expansion of the New Ventures program to our region will stimulate economic development at the earliest stages, and we know the impact of that will be immeasurable.”
Flywheel’s affiliated Foundation administers the accelerators using their Learning Management System to deliver the core curriculum and subject matter experts to deliver insights in the market verticals. The development of the hybrid developmental model was in response to the pandemic.
“The silver lining from 2020 is that it forced us to be innovative with a virtual cohort experience,” says Adrian Smith, Executive Director of the Flywheel Foundation. “That enables us to run multiple accelerators simultaneously, and the participating companies gave us the best ratings out of any year so far.”
The accelerators will run from August 3 through Demo Days on October 28-29. Companies accepted into the program also enjoy a residency at Flywheel innovation centers during the 13-week program and for 3 months following.
“The accelerator program offering is diverse and a reflection of the knowledge assets in the regions served as well as the economic and social impact mission of the Foundation,” says Adrian. Details on the four 2021 accelerators can be found at https://www.newventuresnc.com/. New Ventures is conducting information session for investors and founders throughout the application window and the dates are listed on the website.
- Health, Wellness, and Nutrition – Focus is on the regional healthcare knowledge assets and partnering with the North Carolina Research Center in Kannapolis and the NC Food Innovation Lab.
- AgTech - Greenworks of Lexington is a 64,000 sq. ft. agricultural lab and research facility with a 20,000 square foot Flywheel coworking innovation center opening in 2022. Flywheel is partnering with SouthXCapital and anchor AgTech tenants on the accelerator.
- B2B Software with focus on SaaS – This accelerator pulls participation from all of Flywheel’s innovation center locations and invites tech companies that intersect with our strongest industries and regional market verticals.
- The Come Up Accelerator - Partnering with HUSTLE Winston-Salem to offer an accelerator for Black and Brown founders. Flywheel Foundation has acted as a fiscal sponsor for HUSTLE since its inception.
This is the sixth year of the New Ventures Challenge and acceleration program which has created a portfolio of 21 companies over five cohorts starting in 2016.
“We measure our success primarily by the valuation growth in the portfolio, customer growth, and the ability of our companies to secure follow-on financing to continue to develop their organizations”, says Patrick Turner, an investor in the first three New Venture funds and a fractional CTO that advises companies in the program.
The 21 portfolio companies have grown from New Ventures’ first five years have grown in value to a combined $43,155,110, have received over $15 million in financing, and have created over 100 new jobs.
“Flywheel and the New Ventures program are critical resources that fill a gap that will be catalytic for our Upstate entrepreneurial community,” says Anthony Herrera, executive director of Furman University’s Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
New Ventures is an application-based program that invests an average of $50,000 in inception-stage startups. While the program intentionally seeks out in-state startups, it also invests throughout the Southeast and beyond.
The expanded program not only reflects Flywheel’s increased reach geographically, but has also increased diversity and inclusion as a priority, partnering with HUSTLE to run the Come Up Accelerator focused on minority founders.
“With the Flywheel Foundation's New Ventures curriculum coupled with HUSTLE's cultural competence and commitment to disrupting biases for Black and Brown entrepreneurs, The Come Up accelerator is well suited to help scale people, community trust, and the bottom line of minority-owned businesses”, says HUSTLE Executive Director Magalie Yacinthe.
Matt Bell named to head SC Launch see more
The South Carolina Research Authority (SCRA) has announced that Matt Bell was recently named Director of SC Launch and Executive Director of SC Launch, Inc. Bell replaces Russell Cook who resigned to focus on his recovery from a medical issue.
A member of SCRA’s leadership team, Matt Bell is responsible for leading the strategic direction of the SC Launch program, which provides mentoring, networking, and grant funding to eligible companies that are employing new technologies within the advanced materials and manufacturing, information technology, and life science sectors. He also serves as the liaison to the SC Launch, Inc. board of directors, which makes capital investments in SCRA Member Companies that successfully complete the due diligence process. Established in 2006, SC Launch, Inc., is an independent, nonprofit corporate affiliate of SCRA.
“Matt brings a broad background in startup creation from managing intellectual property and launching startups in academia to early-stage investing and venture capital experience. He is also an expert convener who understands how to bring the right people and resources to the table for economic development through innovation,” said Bob Quinn, SCRA Executive Director. “The SC Launch team has been accelerating the growth and success of Member Companies for many years, and Matt brings the right background and experience to lead this team as they guide our companies to becoming highly investible. We sincerely thank Russell Cook for his service to SCRA and the state, and we wish him a speedy and full recovery.”
Prior to coming to the SCRA, Bell was managing director for Discovery Partners Institute, a University of Illinois-led initiative that leverages the state of Illinois’ university resources to drive economic development through workforce training, student immersion, and research programs. He was also a managing director and a principal with Cultivian Sandbox Venture Fund where he raised capital, managed strategic investor relationships, and managed fund activities.
Matt Bell is a board member and advisor for Michigan State University’s state-wide, agriculture-focused translational fund, a former board member of Abcelex Technologies, and a U.S. Department of Agriculture Small Business Innovation Research grant reviewer. He earned a Master of Business Administration and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Illinois. He will be based in SCRA’s Greenville office.
Chartered in 1983 by the State of South Carolina as a public, nonprofit corporation, South Carolina Research Authority (SCRA) fuels South Carolina’s innovation economy through the impact of its four programs. SC Academic Innovations provides funding and support to advance multi-institutional, translational research and accelerate the growth of university-based startups. SC Facilities offers high-quality laboratory and administrative workspaces for technology-based startups and academic institutions. SC Industry Solutions facilitates and funds partnerships between and among startups, industry, and academia. SC Launch mentors and funds technology-based startups that may also receive investments from SCRA’s investment affiliate, SC Launch, Inc.
VentureSouth Named Top Ten see more
Compliments of MidlandsBiz
VentureSouth announced that it has been recognized as one of the top 10 angel investment groups in North America for the 3rd time.
The ranking comes from the Angel Capital Association, which released its 2020 Angel Funders Report this week. VentureSouth was recognized in the study as a top 10 angel group based on both total investments (30) and capital deployed ($12.7M) in 2019. VentureSouth was also recognized as a top 10 group by the ACA in 2018 and by CB Insights in 2014.
The Angel Capital Association is the largest association of angel groups in the world, with more than 250 angel groups and other early stage investors with over 14,000 members. Its members include many of the leading angel groups in the world.
VentureSouth was listed in this year’s top 10 alongside some of the largest and most well-respected angel groups in the US and Canada, including Tech Coast Angels in California and New York Angels and Golden Seeds in New York.
VentureSouth Managing Director Paul Clark commented: “We are honored to be recognized again as a top 10 angel group by the ACA and are proud that the repeat award recognizes our continued growth and the consistency of our approach to early-stage investing. We appreciate our highly engaged investors who are helping us accelerate investments in promising ventures across the Southeast.”
To learn more about VentureSouth, visit https://venturesouth.vc.
Harbor Entrepreneur Center gains new leader see more
The Harbor Entrepreneur Center, a nonprofit focused on helping entrepreneurs through accelerator programs and coworking spaces, will have a new executive director on June 1.
Daniel Stern, the former executive director of the Jewish Community Center and previous major gifts officer for the Lowcountry Food Bank, will assume the helm. John Osborne, the Harbor’s co-founder and current executive director, said recently he plans to step down to work fulltime at Good Growth Capital, a Charleston-based venture capital fund, and with Charleston Angel Partners, an area investment group. “The Harbor is heading into a phase of rapid growth and we are excited to have Daniel on board to lead our nonprofit,” said Osborne, who will sit on the board.
SCBIO's Charleston-area office is graciously hosted at The Harbor Entrepreneur Center by the non-profit organization.
Bioscience Industry Report Shows $2T Economic Impact, Accelerated Venture Capital Investment & Job GrowthU.S. bioscience industry has reached $2 trillion in annual economic impact while continuing to grow see more
Boston, MA (June 5, 2018) – A study released today at the BIO International Convention shows that the U.S. bioscience industry has reached $2 trillion in annual economic impact while maintaining accelerated venture capital investment and job growth numbers. Among U.S. technology sectors, the bioscience industry has held a leading position as an economic driver and job generator.
The report, Investment, Innovation and Job Creation in a Growing U.S. Bioscience Industry 2018, finds U.S. bioscience firms directly employ 1.74 million people, a figure that includes more than 273,000 high-paying jobs created since 2001. The average annual wage for a U.S. bioscience worker reached $98,961 in 2016. These earnings are more than $45,000 greater, on average, than the overall U.S. private sector wage. The report further shows that since 2014, the bioscience industry has grown by 4.4 percent with four of its five major subsectors contributing to this overall job gain.
For the first time, the biennial report includes a full assessment of the economic impact of the bioscience industry and finds its total economic impact on the U.S. economy, as measured by overall output, totaled $2 trillion in 2016. This impact is generated by the direct output of the bioscience industry combined with the indirect (supply chain) and induced (employee spending) impacts. The industry and its associated economic output support 8 million jobs throughout the entire U.S. economy through both indirect and induced effects.
“This report highlights the enormous economic impact delivered by our industry. This strong performance is due to the vital and wide-ranging collaborations between industry partners, universities, and policymakers that provides a business climate that supports the development of innovative bioscience products and high paying jobs,” said Jim Greenwood, President and CEO of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization."
The report also takes the pulse of the broader U.S. innovation ecosystem for bioscience companies and finds it advancing with positive results. The U.S. is experiencing strong gains in bioscience venture capital funding, growth in patents, a recent ramp-up in bioscience-related university R&D expenditures and increasing research funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
“The bioscience industry is vital to the U.S. not only as an innovation engine that is improving lives, but also as a major economic driver that is consistently generating high-quality jobs and significant economic output across the nation,” said Ryan Helwig, Principal and Project Director with TEConomy Partners.
The state-by-state industry assessment is the eighth in a biennial series, developed in partnership by TEConomy and BIO, presenting data on national, state, and metropolitan area bioscience industry employment and recent trends.
Additional highlights from the industry economic analysis include:
- The industry is a major economic driver and is well distributed across U.S. states and cities:
- 41 states experienced net job growth in the biosciences between 2014-2016
- 38 states and Puerto Rico have an employment specialization in at least one bioscience subsector
- 213 of 383 U.S. metropolitan areas have at least one bioscience specialization
Highlights from the analysis of the innovation ecosystem for the bioscience industry include:
- Strength in recent venture capital and patenting trends:
- Venture capital investments have reached new highs. More than $66 billion in venture capital was invested in bioscience companies during the 2014 through 2017 period, including a new annual high in 2017 at $20 billion invested.
- Innovation continues to drive the biosciences, since 2014 the U.S. has increased patent totals in bioscience-related technology classes by nearly 5 percent, or 1.6 percent per year, on average. 2017 had a total of nearly 27,000 patents awarded to U.S. inventors, another new high.
- Growth for academic biosciences R&D in 2016
- After several years of concerns raised about the declining and/or flat NIH research budgets and the subsequent effects on academic and other research, NIH funding is back on the rise. There have been budget increases sustained each of the last three years.
- Across America’s colleges and universities, the pace of R&D spending in bioscience-related research areas has increased. Following a 1.5 percent decline in 2015, academic R&D expenditures in the biosciences increased 5.5 percent to $42 billion in 2016.
- The industry is a major economic driver and is well distributed across U.S. states and cities:
South Carolina Innovators, Inventors convene at SEMDA conference to present to Venture Capitalists see more
State’s Innovators, Inventors, convene at conference to present to Venture Capitalists
GREENVILLE, SC – April 6, 2018 – The Southeastern Medical Device Association (SEMDA) -- a non-profit trade association driven to make the southeast a world-class region for medical technology, device, and diagnostic companies – brings its 2018 conference to South Carolina for the first time May 2-4, 2018, attracting hundreds of executives to Greenville to meet, negotiate, learn, network and grow the medical device industry in the Southeast.
Focused on accelerating device development and helping organizations and individuals gain access to funding, education, and networking opportunities, the annual conference is a must-attend for medical device companies, inventors, physicians, investors, tech transfer offices, universities, and service providers interested in growing the medical device industry in North America, and even globally.
As part of SEMDA 2018’s many activities, SCBIO and SCRA are collaborating to present PitchRounds 2018 – a highly targeted venue for both start-ups and “Seed” companies as well as later-stage (or Series A or later) organizations to present their ideas, innovations and products to panels of institutional investors, regulatory leaders, venture capital directors, IP experts and others in structured sessions.
Selected participants will receive individual feedback on their presentations and compete for $10,000 in top prize money for selected winners. Participating presenters also receive two full conference registrations and access to meet with investors and partners at sessions and networking receptions. Global law firm Eversheds Sutherland, one of the 50 largest law firms globally, is also a co-sponsor of PitchRounds.
Applying to present is both free and simple, with full details available online at www.SEMDA.net/conference/pitchrounds or at www.SCBIO.org. The deadline to complete the simple application to be considered is close of business April 13, 2018.
SCBIO Vice President Erin Ford noted, “SCBIO and our co-sponsors are delighted to make PitchRounds a possibility for South Carolina’s emerging medtech companies to showcase their innovations and solutions, and to directly access investors and industry leaders to gain direct feedback on their innovations.”
“While entries will be considered from across the entire Southeast and presentation spots are limited, we are confident that South Carolina will be well represented based on the robust pipeline of innovations the South Carolina life sciences community has been working on. We encourage all early- and later-stage companies to enter the PitchRounds program and showcase the Palmetto State’s talents.”
SCBIO is South Carolina’s investor-driven public/private economic development organization exclusively focused on building, advancing, and growing the life sciences industry in the state. The industry has an $11.4 billion annual economic impact in the Palmetto State, with more than 400 firms and 15,000 professionals directly involved in the research, development and commercialization of innovative healthcare, medical device, industrial, environmental and agricultural biotech and products. The state-wide nonprofit has offices in Greenville, Columbia, and Charleston, and represents companies in the advanced medicines, medical devices, equipment, diagnostics, IT, and healthcare outcome industries.
SCBIO is the official state affiliate of BIO -- the world's largest trade association representing biotechnology organizations. SCBIO members include academic institutions, biotech companies, med-tech companies, entrepreneurial organizations, service providers, thought leaders, economic development organizations and related groups whose members are leading the research and development of innovative healthcare, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotech and med-tech products that will make a difference across the Palmetto State, and around the world.