Mark Two Ventures Aims to Invigorate South's Startup Ecosystem; Funds $1m Seed Round for Birmingham Startup
NASHVILLE, Tenn., May 31, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- There is a new venture investor for aspiring tech startups in the South. Mark Two Ventures, a venture studio based in Nashville, has announced the funding of a $1m seed round for their first portfolio company, Astound Research. As a venture studio, Mark Two provides seed stage capital in addition to product development, software engineering, and design expertise for new startups. Mark Two was founded by seasoned tech entrepreneurs Glenn Clayton (Appleton, Spur) and Patrick Cooney (Blink Health, Simpeo) and focuses exclusively on investing and working with tech startups in the Southern United States.
Unlike traditional venture capital firms, "venture studios" such as Mark Two take a much more hands-on role in helping founders launch and build new tech startups. "A studio is basically an institutional co-founder of startups," said Cooney. "We like to get involved as early as possible with talented founders who have a great idea, often even before a company has been formed. We then provide the seed capital as well as the initial team to build and launch a new product" continued Cooney.
Clayton and Cooney, both originally from Alabama, decided to launch Mark Two to help improve the startup ecosystem in the Southeast. Both founders cited their experiences with building startups in both the Southeast as well as in New York. Upon moving back home to the South, they became involved as angel investors and advisors. Both found that seed-stage startups in the region often lacked access to people with prior experience in skills critical to early-stage startup success such as product development, engineering, and design. Further, the duo cited a lack of sophisticated capital for pre-revenue companies in the South. The opportunity to fill those voids and help launch new tech startups is what inspired the creation of Mark Two Ventures.
"Many people think what's holding back startups in the South is a lack of capital, but we don't think that's true, or at least it's not the primary factor," says Clayton. "The biggest asset that founders in markets like New York and San Francisco have is access to a deep network of experienced talent who know the playbook on how you build and scale startups the right way. That's exactly what we want to offer to startups in the South."
All of the team members that work as part of the Mark Two studio have prior experience successfully launching and scaling startups, often multiple times. Cooney explains, "we've brought together a group of highly experienced product managers, software engineers, designers, etc who all have experience successfully launching startups. When we partner with a founder, they get our money but more importantly, they get our team."
Clayton and Cooney say they are on the hunt for more investment opportunities in the region. "Our goal is to invest $1M in at least five seed-stage startups in the South each year" explains Clayton. "So we're actively looking for new startups to partner with or even someone with nothing more than a great idea. Unlike other investors, we are willing to partner with a founder on day 1 and help them build the company from the ground up."
A new Nashville-based venture studio focused on partnering with founders to help build and launch new tech startups across the Southeastern US. The studio primarily focuses on SaaS or tech-enabled services businesses with large market potential. Mark Two is actively seeking founders operating early-stage startups as well as aspiring founders with nothing more than a great idea. To learn more visit Mark Two's website: www.MK2V.com.
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SOURCE Mark Two Ventures