Vermont Business Magazine FreshTracks Capital has launched a new venture fund designed to help grow business in Vermont. The FreshTracks Growth Fund – the fifth fund in FreshTracks Capital’s family of Vermont-based investment funds – will target investment in approximately 10 growing companies over the next few years.
While the first four of FreshTracks Capital’s funds were focused on local start-ups, this new fund is geared towards larger investments in growth-stage businesses that already have some traction in the marketplace, and can benefit from additional capital investment to accelerate further growth and scale. The FreshTracks Growth Fund has already invested in five area companies, DealerPolicy, Zero Gravity, Mamava, Caledonia Spirits, and Faraday. FreshTracks is looking for additional growth-stage companies in the area that could benefit from new investment to help them grow further.
Cairn Cross, co-founder of FreshTracks Capital, commented, “Over the past couple of decades, we have worked with countless partners in the community to create a fertile environment for new business start-ups. The Vermont entrepreneurship ecosystem is thriving. What has been more difficult for area businesses has been to get to the next stage of growth, where they can scale up to become really impactful. We have seen so many entrepreneurs go from start-up to a few million dollars in revenue, but it has always been a struggle for them to find enough investment capital to get to the $10-20 million level or more, where it takes significant investments in sales, marketing, technology and talent. We see this as a key to growing Vermont’s employment base and solving some of the State’s economic challenges. So that’s what we have set out to help accomplish with the new Growth Fund.”
T.J. Whalen, FreshTracks Capital Managing Director who joined the firm in 2015 after a successful career as an operating executive with Green Mountain Coffee Roasters and Keurig where he served as the company’s Chief Strategy Officer and also led Sales and Marketing functions for the coffee business, noted, “In addition to the financial capital we invest, we also like to work closely with company boards and management teams on company strategy and execution. We help them chart the right course for growth, build their competitive advantages, hire and grow their talent base, and create compelling sales and marketing programs that can fuel growth and win in the marketplace. We are happy to leverage our company operating experience to help portfolio companies benefit from the lessons we have learned and the patterns of success we have observed over the years. It has been really rewarding to see so many of the companies we have already invested in and worked with become more successful. We’re excited to now have the new Growth Fund available to help companies get to the next level with larger scale operations, and perhaps with some luck we will see some of these companies added to Vermont’s long list of iconic brands and enduring company success stories.”
Lee Bouyea, FreshTracks Capital Managing Director, added, “Similar to our prior funds, each of which has been $10-15 million in committed capital, the investors in the new Growth Fund are mostly Vermont entrepreneurs and business executives who have already achieved a significant degree of success, and want to help facilitate growth of the next generation of Vermont’s business community. Over the past 20 years, we have also been fortunate to welcome participation in our funds from Vermont banks, insurance companies, foundations and community development organizations who align with our mission. It’s really great to see so many partners come together to help fund these important investments in our community. We encourage anyone who has a growing business that could benefit from our investment and involvement to reach out to us.”
About FreshTracks Capital: Founded in 2000 by Cairn Cross and Charlie Kireker, FreshTracks Capital is a Vermont-focused investment firm that uses venture capital to create positive economic and community impacts. Across its five funds, totaling more than $50 million, FreshTracks has invested in over 40 Vermont-based companies and generated hundreds of high-paying jobs across business sectors that include Software, Internet & Mobile Technologies, Consumer Products, Food and Beverage, Healthcare IT & Services, High-Tech Manufacturing, Energy Efficiency, Solar, and Green Technologies. The firm’s Managing Directors are Cairn Cross, Lee Bouyea and T.J. Whalen. FreshTracks is actively investing out of its newly launched FreshTracks Growth Fund as well as its prior early-stage venture fund, FreshTracks Capital IV.