A Charleston-based venture fund run by women and minority partners has raised $102 million to invest in early-stage tech companies that develop products and services from so-called hard science.
Good Growth Capital publicly disclosed the nine-figure funding effort on May 13 at the Dig South Tech Summit, a conference where the company announced its first fund five years ago.
The new money will target “complex” and innovative science-based enterprises that “address a pressing societal need” in areas including biomedical and the environment, said managing partner and co-founder Amy Salzhauer.
Four of the firm’s five partners are based in Charleston, three are women and one is Latino. Its nationwide network of venture capital partners and advisers has collectively launched more than 30 companies, Salzhauer said. Morrison Drive also has offices in Boston and London.
“We have a really deep bench of technical and operational expertise. … So we can really look at very technical and complex science and technology things … sooner than many other funds,” Salzhauer said May 12.
The funding is Good Growth’s third fund. It was oversubscribed, which Salzhauer says “is an exciting sign of validation for our business model and for our strategy.”
She estimated that the newly raised capital could be split among as many as 40 companies. More than 20 investments have already been placed, she said.
“With this one, we’re looking for companies that have enduring intellectual property and a competitive advantage that address a pressing societal need and that we believe can exit well in five to eight years in any market in which they mature. … This often means the time we identify an acquirer before we even invest in a business,” she said
Founded in 2015, Good Growth has found a few offerings close to home, including Charleston-based Questis, which has developed a personal financial planning platform, and The New Primal, which makes all-natural food products such as spices, sauces and jerky.
Salzhauer estimated that around 40% of companies in Good Growth’s portfolio are led by women and another third are owned by minorities – unusually high figures for the venture capital industry. It’s not by design.
“We take all comers and we see tens of thousands of offers every year. … And we give everyone a good dose … but we don’t give them any preference. We don’t need it,” a- she declared.
David Mendez, one of Salzhauer’s local partners at Good Growth, said the goal is to provide worthy startups “a level playing field. Their fantastic growth and returns speak for themselves.”
Previous investments include SkyHawk Therapeutics, a pharmaceutical development company, and Republic, a crowdfunding platform that connects startups with investors.
Good Growth’s new fund was described this week by Dig South founder and CEO Stanfield Gray as the “largest venture capital fund in South Carolina history.”
“At 252 years old, this campus is no stranger to defining moments in history,” added Andrew Hsu, president of the College of Charleston, where the conference is being held until Friday.
Contact John McDermott at 843-937-5572 or follow him on Twitter at @byjohnmcdermott