In the Triangle’s thriving startup ecosystem, it is becoming easier for software entrepreneurs with a good idea and enough grit—and maybe a little capital from friends-and-family or angel investors—to launch a company. Through hard work and solid execution, the best of these startups are able to reach $1M in annual revenue within a few years.
Some of the companies fortunate enough to break that barrier continue to grow at a rocket-ship clip, drawing larger and larger investments from VCs to fuel further growth. (Pendo, anyone?) Others, though, might stall a bit, finding themselves in a gray area for founders and early investors who had dreams of a huge exit and the big dollar signs that go with it. That’s where the new Jurassic Capital comes in.
Brought to you by the team that founded and operated Bronto, a Durham-based SaaS marketing automation company that was sold to NetSuite for $200 million in 2015, Jurassic Capital focuses on acquiring a majority interest in SaaS companies with $1-5 million in annual recurring revenue and then growing them. Think of it as a smallish private equity fund with a very targeted focus.
Jurassic Capital is led by Joe Colopy, the Founder and previous CEO of Bronto and the Founder of Colopy Ventures (which owns Grepbeat); and Kevin Mosley, a Bronto alum and startup junkie who worked for Raleigh-based Republic Wireless for two years after leaving Bronto. It operates out of Colopy Ventures World HQ in downtown Durham, where GrepBeat can keep a close eye.
“In this area,” Mosley said, “we have a number of experienced operators who are very good and very passionate about growing and scaling those companies to get them to the next level. That happens to be, from our Bronto days, what we’re really passionate about and what we’re really good at.”
Colopy said the company’s name, which references the Jurassic period, was inspired by his lifelong love of dinosaurs which originally inspired Bronto’s name (short for Brontosaurus).
“Where do you go looking for dinosaurs?” Colopy said. “You go looking in the time period when they lived—which is Jurassic.”
Jurassic Capital’s goal is to use its founders’ skills in the software world to acquire profitable or close-to-profitable SaaS companies in the Southeast, preferably in the Triangle, and continue to scale them. After growing the company for several years, Jurassic might sell it to a larger private equity fund or other acquirer.
Colopy and Mosley realized the demand for Jurassic Capital after talking to entrepreneurs in the Triangle, many of whom were serial entrepreneurs or founders who have been in the startup world for a while, looking to exit their companies. For startups that aren’t growing quickly enough to attract the interest of VCs, an exit can be hard to achieve.
Jurassic Capital is unique because it only has one funder (Colopy himself) and is equipped to hold on to the companies it acquires for the long run. That’s a distinction from VCs and PE funds, which generally need to return money to their own investors—ideally with a hefty gain—at some designated point and thus are forever on the clock for a large exit.
“Jurassic has an evergreen fund,” Colopy said. “There’s no set time limit. The advantage of Jurassic is that we can make decisions in terms of what’s best for the company, the founders and the employees versus fund life. We can think long-term. If we want to hold onto a company forever, we can hold onto it forever. We’re not forced or sell or flip it because of a power structure.”
Jurassic Capital is still very new, Mosely said. Currently, it is looking to have conversations with founders and investors in the Triangle startup ecosystem as well as companies that could be a perfect fit for a deal.
“There’s no stated immediate goal,” Mosely said. “That’s the beauty of having just one funder, that there’s no pressure to have to deploy a certain amount of funds or acquire a specific number of companies at a specific point in time. And because we’re planning on holding onto these companies for the long-term, we want to make sure that it’s a strategy that makes sense within the right market at the right time with the right company.”