Marshall Ventures, an Owensboro based consulting company, has completed a $2 million venture capital raise to be invested in early stage businesses in need of growth capital. The Marshall Venture Fund will focus investments in businesses that have an opportunity for accelerated growth with a preference for companies in Owensboro and Western Kentucky.
“My goal is to provide a boost to our local economic development by providing regional companies the capital resources needed to grow,” said John Moore, Founder of Marshall Ventures and Manager of the Fund.
Moore began discussing the idea of a Fund in February and approximately 4 months later the goal of $2 million was fully committed. A total of 16 Owensboro investors from a variety of industries have invested in the Fund. “The response from our local business leaders was awesome. These investors are obviously looking for a return, but they also appreciate the value of helping other businesses succeed and hope their investments will make a positive impact on our community,” said Moore. Moore hopes the entrepreneurs can also utilize some of the experiences and connections of these business owners to grow their business as well.
As an entrepreneur for over 20 years, Moore knows the challenges early stage businesses face locating capital. Access for this type of capital has traditionally been found mostly in major cities. Shows like “Shark Tank” and recent law changes allowing entrepreneurs to post their capital needs on the Internet has had a positive impact on the access to capital. Still, it is in the very early stages of Internet funding and the uncertainty of laws adds to risk.
The state of Kentucky, realizing the importance of this type of capital, has recently began providing tax incentives for early stage Kentucky businesses that meet certain qualifications to spur these type of investments. In recent months similar funds have been started in Louisville, Lexington, and Northern Kentucky. “It is imperative this part of the state keeps pace and provides the resources entrepreneurs need to grow their business,” said Moore. Moore will also work with these other funds across the state to not only find deals for his fund but also expand the capital for local businesses.
As a way to kick off the search for investment opportunities, Marshall Ventures is planning a “Pitch Day” in Owensboro September 2, 2015. “We hope to locate an investment or two at this event. We have plans to make this a bi-monthly or quarterly event in the future. Ultimately finding good deals will dictate the amount of investment.”