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VOL. 129 | NO. 15 | Thursday, January 23, 2014

Start Co. Forms New Investment Partnership

By Andy Meek

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Andre Mouton, director of investment at the Singapore-based boutique investment firm Angaros Group, traveled to Memphis last year to participate in the “Investor Day” for Seed Hatchery, the startup accelerator whose programming culminates with participating startups to make funding pitches to investors.

At the time, he professed his admiration of the entrepreneurial culture that’s growing in Memphis. They weren’t idle words, because less than a year later his firm has formed an investment partnership with Seed Hatchery’s parent organization Start Co. as the Angaros Group establishes a U.S. presence this year.

The partnership between Angaros Group and Start Co. in Memphis is to pursue goals like supporting “exceptional new ventures” with capital, among other things.

MATHEWS

Start Co. founder and CEO Eric Mathews said the organization met Mouton when he was in the U.S. on a scouting trip in late 2012. A relationship between the two sides began to form via startup events held in Memphis in 2013, and it grew from there.

Angaros Group is now an important player within the ranks of other Start Co. partners, like The Marston Group PLC; Mosaik Solutions; Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz PC; and archer-malmo.

“This is a big opportunity for our startup companies looking to go global,” Mathews said.

The reason is because the benefits are many. Among them, Angaros Group will help screen all Start Co. clients for potential capital investment.

Angaros Group also can bring other resources to bear through its in-house technology services boutique. Start Co. will get investment advisory services to improve its own processes and portfolio management, and Angaros Group will be “on the ground” during the various Start Co. accelerator programs that take place in Memphis.

“During the program, they will provide equity for service investments to worthy teams as well as advisory services,” Mathews said. “Also, those companies in our portfolio that are looking to go to global markets will have a trusted partner with offices and partnerships across the world.”

Mouton said the investment firm’s partnership with Start Co. made sense because the Memphis organization has regional connectivity as well as active networks on the coasts. And it wasn’t a quick decision – Angaros Group has watched Start Co. and the rapid growth of its platforms especially in the last 18 months.

The investment firm was founded in 2009 and bills itself as a leading provider of advisory, capital and consulting services to early stage companies globally.

“Our methodology philosophically aligns with theirs – building founders who build great companies,” Mathews said. “Because of this, Angaros is looking to learn our methods to help them in other markets around the world with early stage entrepreneurship. They also want access to U.S. deal flow and have strong media, gaming and IT portfolios in addition to healthcare. It’s a good fit for both parties.”

The partnership is one in a series of big next steps for Start Co. Recently the organization unveiled a new development plan to spur more entrepreneurship in Memphis called MEMx with help from the national JumpStart Inc. organization, as well as with input from more than 200 Memphis partners and community leaders. Start Co. is also preparing to leave its home at Playhouse on the Square and move back Downtown to 88 Union Ave., after leaving the EmergeMemphis building last year to move to Midtown.

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