Just a quick follow-up on this Labor Day (in the US) from the video I posted a couple of weeks ago about one of the alumni of the Bad Girl Ventures accelerator that I participated in. How’s this for good economic development news?
Functional Formularies, makers of Liquid Hope, the first and only whole food, all-organic feeding tube meal, announced a $1.6 million investment raise, secured only two days after opening the funding round. In the past year, CEO and founder Robin Gentry McGee has seen production double, warehouse space triple and her employees grow from one to six. To trace the rapid success of her company means to go back almost a decade.
Bold text above is mine.
Two points that I want to highlight here:
1) conventional wisdom in some circles around here was that this business could not get funded and stay in Cincinnati. The small amount of angel and venture capital – type investment here has specifically focused on software technologies, and there didn’t seem to be any room in their equation for a business that makes stuff. I don’t know where this round of funding came from, but this appears to point to an increasingly valuable learning: conventional venture capital is not the only way to fund a business expansion. Especially if you can build a business that people value, the venture capital hype in the entrepreneurship magazines does not represent the only option.
2) Right now the firm employs six people. Yes, I know some of you say: yawn. Not exciting. But this is how the Mega Businesses all got their start. One product becomes two, six, eighteen. One warehouse quietly becomes two, then eight, then worldwide. Employment grows in the same manner. It’s small potatoes, until it’s not. This is what real economic growth looks like. And Bad Girl Venture’s investment, that helped get Functional Formularies off the ground, was… a $25,000 loan. Pretty good ROI to the region so far.
Make sure you read the whole story of how Robin got started and grew. And think for a minute about who in your community might have this kind of potential in hand. It might only take a small push to help get them going.