How aggressive are the goals of the new venture capital partnership founded by longtime Atlanta business investors Sig Mosley and Palaniswamy "Raj" Rajan? Just take a look at the name of the fund, which will focus on investing in very early stage entrepreneurs in Atlanta, Georgia and the Southeast.
It's CTW Venture Partners. The CTW stands for "change the world."
"It's very ambitious," acknowledges Rajan, who is co-founder, chairman and CEO of Virima Technologies, a data center and IT operations software developer. "But we wanted entrepreneurs to develop technologies that are going to change our world. It's a unique breed of entrepreneurs that we're targeting."
CTW plans to build a $25 million war chest raised from investors and spread it among 15 to 18 businesses over the next five years. The average investment will be about $1 million, the partners said, with a maximum in any given deal of $2 million to $2.5 million.
The fund will be industry agnostic, meaning there is no particular industry CTW will target. But the companies truly will be early stage.
"We hope to be (their) first professional money," Mosley said. "They may have taken some friends' and family money, and possibly some angel money." Angel money is capital an entrepreneur obtains from an affluent person or people before receiving larger venture capital funding.
The companies CTW funds will be able to tap into more than money. They can turn to Mosley and Rajan for the wisdom that comes with doing deals for many years.
"It's a unique skill set that Sig and I bring to the table," Rajan said. "We can help them operate. They are truly getting a partner."
Mosley, president of Imlay Investments, has done 145 deals in 20 years. Rajan has done 35 in the past 15 years.
The fund's launch should be welcome news for Atlanta startups. Entrepreneurs here have long said there is a need, not only for capital to get them up and running strong, but for investors able and willing to provide a guiding hand.
That has been one of the hallmarks of entrepreneurial success in California's Silicon Valley where successful company founders have been lauded for plowing their cash and time into the next wave of startups.
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