First Launch Capital Fund, a Greensboro-based venture capital fund formed two years ago to invest in Piedmont Triad region companies at the earliest stage of their development, has decided to put money into Soelect Inc., a company that makes solid-state battery components for electric vehicles, power tools and mobile devices.
This is the third investment by the fund that began with the support of the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce.
Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Brent Christensen said this week that he’s excited about the First Launch initiative and the investments the fund is making. He said this should help spur growth in new area companies – and make them much more likely to stick around if they hit it big. If the companies stay here during the early stages and develop deep roots then, hopefully, they’ll stay here forever, he said.
According to Christensen, the funding amounts aren’t huge – they may be $50,000 or $75,000 – but the money comes at a critical time in the companies’ development when it can make a big difference.
He said it meets an important need for the intermediate financing stage after a company has gotten funding from friends and “maxed out credit cards.” He said this bridges the gap between the very early stage and the time when a company might get more money from an initial public offering or some other major funding event.
First Launch Capital Fund invests in local entrepreneurs and companies with a stated focus on “capital appreciation, economic development and job creation through investments in early-stage companies with high growth and future funding potential.”
Soelect, which was founded in December 2018 – about the same time the fund was created – develops products meant to offer better performance, safety and manufacturability when compared to most lithium-ion batteries currently in use.
Company founder and CEO Jin Cho stated in a press release that “First Launch’s investment supports us in so many ways. The investment dollars, of course, are crucial. But equally important are access to the Chamber’s resources and access to the greater Greensboro business community.”
Soelect Board Member Matt Bailey stated, “Soelect is thrilled to be a First Launch Capital Fund portfolio company. Having the support of an institutional investor creates a halo effect for us locally and sends a powerful message of credibility and seriousness to future partners.”