DURHAM – Bull City Venture Partners continues to raise more capital in order to provide financial backing to the startups across the region, said Jason Caplain, general partner, in a recent interview with WRAL TechWire.
To do that, the firm is bringing on board Michael Lee, who will work across all facets of the venture capital firm, said Caplain, including everything from sourcing investments and conducting due diligence to portfolio management and internal operations.
“With local roots and a wealth of experience in the venture capital asset class, Michael was a perfect fit for BCVP as we looked to expand our team,” said Caplain.
Lee joins the BCVP team following stints at TrueBridge Capital Partners where he focused on both fund investments as well as direct growth stage investments in companies like Slack and SeatGeek.
Following that role, Lee was a member of the investment team at FJ Labs, then founded Lee Commerce Ventures and partnered with Asian family offices to manage their venture capital portfolios.
Lee grew up in Chapel Hill and attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, earning a bachelor’s degree in finance.
Lee joins the firm at a time when capital continues to flow into the Southeast, at record levels.
That’s a signal of investor confidence in the region, said Caplain. “We’ve noticed that total capital deployed by quarter reached its highest level historically—almost $5.0 billion invested in the region in Q2 2021.”
That volume of capital indicates and highlights the “advancing maturity of the southeastern venture ecosystem,” said Caplain.
That’s especially true in North Carolina and in the Triangle, noted Caplain. North Carolina led all nine southeastern states in invested capital in the first two quarters of 2021, with $2.2 billion pouring into firms in the state, according to Caplain.
“We’re also seeing a noticeable decrease in deal count here in NC and a meaningful increase in check size, especially in tech-enabled sectors,” he said. “This dynamic demonstrates investors’ conviction in NC-based startups as well as a higher bar set by the top founders raising venture capital.”
There’s an ample amount of “dry powder currently held by investment firms,” said Caplain, and funds continue to raise additional capital from limited partners. “This bodes well for investors investing in North Carolina as they can expect strong returns from larger, later-stage investments as well as founders who no longer feel that their geography prohibits them from being fairly valued.”
If anything, the advantages to launching and growing a company in North Carolina or elsewhere in the southeast will persist, said Caplain, even as some of the historical drawbacks subside.