Charleston, South Carolina is growing fast, prompting more investors to look to this up-and-coming startup hub for new opportunities. Third Prime Capital, a venture capital firm focused on early-stage companies, has emerged as a leader in the region with organized capital to invest. Third Prime, based out of New York, NY with a satellite office in Charleston, closed its first fund in June with $36M of committed capital and is focused on cultivating relationships with the entrepreneurial community in Charleston and beyond.
Third Prime was founded by partners Wes Barton, Keith Hamlin, Jeff Adelson-Yan and Steve Parker Jr. The four met in New York City over 15 years ago and formed a strong friendship that ultimately morphed into an angel investor syndicate. At the time they started investing together, Barton and Hamlin were M&A attorneys at Skadden Arps (a global corporate law firm), and Adelson-Yan and Parker had recently founded Levelwing, a leading national digital advertising agency headquartered in Charleston.
In 2010, the partners made their first investment in a music publishing startup, Jingle Punks, which was acquired two years later by WME. This early success propelled them forward, as they led investments in fourteen companies over the succeeding five years. The track record culminated in Barton and Hamlin leaving their jobs as private equity professionals to launch Third Prime. Adelson-Yan and Parker provide key support to the Firm, while maintaining their leadership roles with Levelwing. Together the four partners combine tech-savvy entrepreneurship alongside media, legal, financial and private investment expertise.
Third Prime has been very active recently, investing in many disruptive startups. The Firm’s portfolio represents an assortment of industries including FinTech, Real-Estate Tech, Gaming, Media, and CleanTech, among others. A selection of companies in the portfolio include:
• Octane Lending – Tech-Enabled Marketplace and Lender for Powersports Loans
• LoanStreet – Loan Syndication Platform
• Bench – Automated Finance & Bookkeeping Solution
• USRealty – Marketplace for Real-estate, Sell Your Home
• Latch – Smart Access Systems
• Phase Change Energy Solutions – Clean Energy Storage Technology
• The New Primal – Healthy Meat Snacks – Sustainable, Humanely Sourced
• GameCo – Video Game Skill-Based Gambling
• Spruce – Platform for Organizing Titling Process for Lenders and Buyers
• TemperPack – Market Leader in Sustainable Thermal Packaging
• ZipDrug – Prescription Delivery and Adherence Management
The Firm prefers to be a value-add partner to their entrepreneurs. As a result, the group prefers to invest along the Atlantic seaboard to be in close proximity to its companies. The fund currently has one investment in Charleston – The New Primal, a producer of healthy protein snacks.
While Charleston is making progress, the broader venture community doesn’t yet see it as a top tier destination for investments. Most venture investment is still in Silicon Valley, New York, Boston, Denver and Austin.
That said, Managing Partner Barton sees tremendous potential for Third Prime to help new entrepreneurs seeking venture capital in the Charleston area. He is quoted as saying, “Many venture investors are not up to speed with what’s happening in Charleston. We see this as an opportunity as the City increasingly produces scalable companies with the ability to impact the global landscape. We are working to expand our local network and cultivate better deal flow out of the area. Ideally, we will be the firm of choice for great young Charleston companies. When they launch their fundraising process, we want them to start with Third Prime.”
Parker adds that the fund will address the need for organized capital in the Charleston region, and that, “With the closing of our latest Fund, we have a lot of dry powder to deploy. We believe the angel investor community is robust in Charleston, but there is a dearth of institutional capital. Third Prime fills that void. We are anxious to meet with promising entrepreneurs in the area and hope to contribute to Charleston’s economic ascendancy.”
Third Prime Capital is focused on Seed and Series A stage investments. Prospective companies are typically generating revenue, highly scalable and have a competitive edge in a large addressable market. Following an investment, the Third Prime team actively manages the investment to shorten and steepen the value creation cycle.
To learn more or contact Third Prime Capital please visit http://thirdprimecapital.com.