COLUMBIA, S.C. (July 16, 2001) - A new company has been formed in South Carolina to foster the growth of emerging technology companies, and a venture capital enterprise with a target goal of $25 million has been formed that will be available to help fund companies with high growth potential during their critical early- and middle-development stages.
Larry Wilson, former chairman of the board, president and chief executive officer of Mynd Corporation, today announced the formation of Trelys LLC, which will be located in Columbia and will be an entrepreneurial company focused on developing the technology sector in South Carolina and the region. Trelys LLC has a contract to purchase the BB&T building at Assembly and Richland streets in Columbia and will initially occupy offices on the third floor.
Wilson said Trelys (pronounced trellis) will be involved in investing in and advising technology companies and supporting their growth.
Additionally, Wilson and Adrian Wilson (no relation) of Florence will be the managing partners of Trelys Venture Partners L.P., a new venture capital fund. Venture capital funds invest alongside management in young, rapidly growing companies that have the potential to develop into significant economic contributors. Venture capitalists accept the high risks associated with investing in such enterprises with the expectation of high financial returns if the enterprise ultimately is successful.
"We have the opportunity to make a significant long-term contribution to South Carolina," Adrian Wilson said. "Successful investment strategy and execution on our part will serve not only our venture capital investors but also the young companies in which we invest. As these young companies succeed, South Carolina will gain high-technology jobs and the benefits that come with them. In short, we hope to do good for South Carolina by doing well for our investors."
Adrian Wilson, who is currently president and fund manager of Coastal Growth Partners, L.P., an early stage venture capital fund located in Florence, will be TrelysÕ full-time manager. He said that Trelys Venture Partners has a target goal of $25 million and will focus on investing in early and mid-stage technology-related companies in South Carolina and the region.
Adrian Wilson also announced that Blue Cross and Blue Shield of South Carolina, through its Companion Technologies, Inc. subsidiary, is investing $2 million in the fund as an initial limited partner.
Trelys Venture Partners is supported by an advisory board consisting of successful business executives, all of whom have ties to South Carolina. The boardÕs role will include identifying investment opportunities, assisting in the due diligence process that accompanies investment decisions, creating and maintaining market relationships and serving as mentors and, for some, directors of the companies in which Trelys invests.
The advisory board consists of:
- Walter Alessandrini, chairman, Avanex Corporation, Columbia
(pending approval of the Avanex Board of Directors)
- William Barnet, III, chairman, Barnet Development Corporation, Spartanburg
- James A. Bennett, CEO, South Carolina Community Bank, Columbia
- Alfred R. Berkeley, III, vice chairman, The Nasdaq Stock Market, Inc. Washington, D.C.
- Paula Harper Bethea, director of client relations & business, Bethea, Jordan & Griffin, P.A., Hilton Head
- Robert E. Hughes, Jr., president, Hughes Development Corporation, Greenville
- Darla D. Moore, partner, Rainwater, Inc., New York City
- Stephen G. Morrison, senior partner, Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough, Columbia
- J. Tucker Morse, chairman, White Point Capital, Charleston
- Thomas E. Persons, Sr., president and CEO, South Carolina Technology Alliance, Columbia
- Benedict P. Rosen, chairman and CEO, AVX Corporation, Myrtle Beach
- M. Edward Sellers, chairman and CEO, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of South Carolina, Columbia
Gov. Jim Hodges, who participated in the news conference at which todayÕs announcements were made, said, "TodayÕs announcements are welcome news for South CarolinaÕs future. As you well know, I have formed a Technology Transition Team to help diversify our stateÕs economy. Venture capital is a key to developing a strong knowledge-based economy that will result in an improvement in our quality of life."
Larry Wilson explained that South Carolina needs a focused venture capital enterprise if it is to reach its potential as a spawning ground for young companies in todayÕs knowledge-based and technology sector.
We have substantial research universities here in South Carolina that can generate ideas. We have incubators at the University of South Carolina and Clemson, along with 10 others, to help turn those ideas into fledgling businesses. What has been missing is a source of venture funding and guidance to help turn innovative, industry-changing ideas into companies that can grow and be commercially successful," Wilson said.
Wilson also pointed out that South Carolina has lagged its neighboring states in venture capital investment. In 1999, the latest year in which figures are available, South Carolina recorded only $82 million in venture capital investment, a figure dwarfed by the approximately $700 million invested in each of the neighboring Southeast Atlantic Coast states of North Carolina, Georgia, Florida and Virginia.
"South Carolina is an area of great potential. We have a great climate and great people. But we must diversify the economy and we must ensure the continued creation of higher-paying jobs. Over the past 20 years, mergers and takeovers have cost South Carolina a number of headquarters operations. Their loss also has been a drain on the stateÕs civic and business leadership corps. The best way to get more corporate headquarters in South Carolina is to grow our own."
Wilson is well acquainted with the process of building a company from the ground up. In 1974 he assumed responsibility for creating the PMS Division of Seibels Bruce Group. Under his leadership the division ultimately became PMSC (and later Mynd), a publicly held company with worldwide operations. Wilson served as chief executive officer of the enterprise from its incorporation in 1981 until its merger with CSC in December 2000.
Adrian Wilson also possesses a set of skills helpful to the growth of young companies. As an attorney with Smith Helms Mulliss & Moore in Charlotte, N.C., he specialized in corporate finance and merger and acquisition transactions, including the representation of several venture capital firms. Thereafter, he spent eight years with Carolina Power & Light Company, first as associate general counsel in charge of all corporate finance and securities matters. He later gained operational experience as manager of CP&LÕs service territory in the Pee Dee region of South Carolina. Wilson left CP&L in 1997 to become fund manager for Coastal Growth Partners. After successfully raising more than $6 million from corporate and individual investors, he has built an investment portfolio of eight companies. Included in this portfolio of companies are Conita Technologies, Inc. and Syneractive/Levity Technologies, both located in Columbia, and three companies headquartered in the Research Triangle Park area of North Carolina.
The Trelys Web site address is www.trelys.com
For additional information, contact:
© the trelys funds