Published June 20, 2012
The Upstate Carolina Angel Network, or UCAN, recently invested in American Titanium Works, a company working to bring a titanium mini-mill to Laurens County.
Thus far in 2012, the group has invested a total of nearly $500,000, split amongst three Upstate firms: Kiyatec, American Titanium Works and Lab 21. The specific investments for each firm are not disclosed.
Headquartered in Chicago, American Titanium Works LLC announced in 2008 plans to invest $422 million and employ 320 people at its new facility in Laurens County.
The project was stalled during the recession, but UCAN worked with SC Launch and other local investors to provide bridge financing for the company as it prepares to re-enter the capital markets to secure funding for the plant.
“Although the investment is atypical for an angel group, UCAN members understood the potential impact of the project on the Upstate and came together to help the company move forward — similar to the group’s work last year with SC Launch to secure critical bridge financing for Proterra, an electric bus company,” according to a news release.
UCAN has completed six investments in the first half of 2012. UCAN is a network of individual investors from across the Upstate who support startup and early-stage, high-growth businesses with their intellectual and financial capital.
UCAN co-invested in Kiyatec with SC Launch, Nexus Medical Partners and other local investors.
Lab 21 is the medical diagnostics company that brought its North American headquarters to the Next Innovation Center in downtown Greenville when it acquired local startup Selah Technologies. UCAN and SC Launch previously invested in both Selah Technologies and Lab 21.
UCAN’s other investments in 2012 span several industries. Virtual Race Bags is a Charlotte-based company providing a digital marketing platform to organizers of endurance events.
Verdeeco is an Atlanta company working at the intersection of the smart-grid and big data trends, developing applications for utilities to analyze massive volumes of data generated by new smart-grid assets. Airo Wireless, also in Atlanta, is bringing to market the first ruggedized smartphone.
These latest investments bring UCAN’s total investment to $5.6 million in 22 companies since its inception in 2008.
Across UCAN’s portfolio, two-thirds of the companies that have received investment are in South Carolina, and more than 75% of the dollars invested have remained in state.
UCAN also works to educate investors and entrepreneurs about the early-stage investment process. The group is currently seeking interested investors and affiliates to help it support the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the Upstate and across South Carolina.