August 11, 2022


Singularly Wondrous Business

Huntsville firm is bridging Alabama’s venture capital gap

3 min read

A Huntsville-centered venture investor studio is bridging a very long-standing gap in Alabama’s tech eco-process – access to startup cash.

Mark Two Ventures is funding a $1 million seed spherical for Birmingham-primarily based Astound Research, and designs to pump an further $4 million into providers ahead of the stop of the year.

“We want founders to remain right here,” explained Patrick Cooney, one particular of Mark Two Ventures’ creators.

Mark Two will deliver venture capital for new tech companies to assist in solution advancement, software package engineering and design and style. Cooney, along with Glenn Clayton, equally from Alabama, are focused on startups in the South.

Clayton launched his very first startup from his dorm area at UAH again in 2004, and has been involved in everything from a software advancement firm to a person of the to start with on the internet marketplaces for tutors. Alongside the way, he lifted about $35 million for his possess companies. Cooney raised $170 million in early phase money for his businesses, which array from labor drive to purchaser pharmacy know-how.

And enterprise cash – the skill to elevate funding to get your tech firm off the ground – has long been an obstacle to Alabama’s business owners, as the definitely big dollars historically has stuck with the coasts and large metro locations with reputations for tech accomplishment.

Cooney explained the COVID-19 pandemic, with the mainstreaming of distant work and video conferencing, has created spot to some degree fewer of an difficulty when hunting for traders.

But Birmingham, and Alabama, still facial area some difficulties, these kinds of as abilities. There’s lots of talent in the South. But in New York, for instance, Cooney stated businesses can quickly obtain the cash and the brainpower to kind a enterprise-dependent business.

“I think it’s all trending in a very very good course,” he reported. “We just want to act as a catalyst for it. We’re right here to do this and we can deploy capital quickly and competently.”

Situation in place is the firm’s to start with investment. Astound Research is building a platform to support match college analysis expertise to company R&D needs, from everyday living sciences and engineering to computer system science and agriculture. The firm functions as a bridge amongst academia and market. But Mark Two is searching for other options.

“If they are a in shape for us, and we’re a in shape for them, we’re likely to fund them with $500,000 to $1 million,” he reported.

What Mark Two Ventures glimpse to do is act as an institutional co-founder, he mentioned, getting a company’s expertise and constructing goods about it. Using a crew that mixes software program advancement, design and style, and business enterprise method, a way forward emerges.

And Mark Two’s footprint, while southern, is largely decentralized, with workplaces in Huntsville, Birmingham and Nashville. That will allow it to sweep the region and act immediately, he said.

“The money is not the difficulty,” he stated. “It’s lack of experience. Most startups die in the seed phase. A great deal of founders have a option, but by no means imagined about the complications. That is our call to action.”