Gazebo Gazette

The South Mississippi Angel Fund I announced its formation this week and is now gathering investors to invest in early-stage companies and grow the entrepreneurial ecosystem, targeting South Mississippi.

Innovate Mississippi is helping organize the South Mississippi Angel Fund to be a $1 million fund. Individual member investors can also put additional capital into startups that the Fund supports. That additional investment will often double or triple the investment impact of these member-managed funds.

“This is an important economic development tool that’s good for the region,” Innovate Mississippi CEO Tony Jeff said. “We’ve had a great group of 12 investor leaders who have helped design the Fund over the past several months. The investors participate in the Fund to make a return, but they also have an impact on growing companies in the region.”

The Securities and Exchange Commission requires that only accredited investors participate in angel funds such as the South Mississippi Angel Fund. So, Innovate Mississippi is working through the leadership group

and the Mississippi Angel Investor Network to find other accredited investors in the region. The Fund will likely begin inviting entrepreneur pitches early in 2022.

“This is a great opportunity for Hattiesburg and the Gulf Coast, where we see a lot of technology and high-growth startups forming,” said Dave Dennis of Pass Christian, a founding member of the Fund and President of Specialty Contractors & Associates in Gulfport. “From polymers in Hattiesburg to blue tech on the Coast and space travel around Stennis Space Center, we’ve got a lot of great ideas we can help get off the ground in South Mississippi.”

Previously, Innovate Mississippi helped form and launch the North Mississippi Angel Fund I and the Central Mississippi Angel Fund I. Both are now independent member-managed funds supporting entrepreneurs inside and outside their parts of the state.

“Innovate Mississippi already manages the statewide Mississippi Angel Network, with over 300 investors interested in funding startups,” said Jeff. “Having a local angel fund gives investors another choice in how to invest and helps bring in less experienced investors to lean on the expertise of others.”

For more information on the South Mississippi Angel Fund, reach out to Innovate Mississippi’s Lindsey Benefield at LBenefield@innovate.ms or 601-960-3655.

Innovate Mississippi is a nonprofit organization with the mission to drive innovation and technology-based economic development for the Mississippi. Visit www.innovate.ms to learn more.