Atlanta-based BIP Capital has a new name for its venture capital operations (Panoramic Ventures); a new partner (Paul Judge); and is launching a $300 million new fund in its bid to plant a flag as the premier venture fund among the rising startup cities across the country.
Miami may have grabbed headlines recently as a new hub for venture capital and technology startups, but like other cities across the Southeast it has lacked venture funds of a significant size since the early days of the dot-com bubble. Panoramic wants to be the fundraising destination for entrepreneurs outside of traditional tech hubs like Boston, Silicon Valley and New York as these new tech hubs emerge.
Atlanta, which already boasts several startup companies that have achieved billion-dollar valuations, including Greenlight Financial and Calendly, has an equally burgeoning startup scene and an opportunity to become the central hub for venture capital investment in a region that encompasses several other rising tech hubs in the Southeast, like Birmingham, Miami, Nashville and New Orleans.
It’s a strategy similar to the one that Drive Capital has employed to become a leading fund in the Midwest and across the U.S.
Under the new partnership, which will include famed early-stage Atlanta investor Paul Judge, BIP Capital’s venture activities will operate under the Panoramic Ventures brand.
Should the firm manage to raise the $300 million it has targeted for Panoramic’s inaugural investment vehicle it would become the largest venture fund in the Southeast.
“It’s important to have a fund at that scale,” said Mark Buffington, a co-founder of BIP Capital and Panoramic Ventures. “You see the venture activity that is increasing in the region [and] one thing that’s been missing is a really active venture fund that can scale up as companies grow.”
Panoramic intends to be active at the seed stage while having the capacity to make investments in later-stage venture-backed companies as well, according to the two co-founders. And the firm will also try to focus on a more diverse group of entrepreneurs, thanks to the addition of Paul Judge.
Judge, a Black serial entrepreneur and investor, was the co-founder of the Atlanta-based voice recognition tech developer Pindrop, the Wi-Fi startup Luma Home and security tech developer Purewire. He’s also an investor in several startups across the Southeast through his own venture initiatives, including Techsquare Labs, and Judge sits on the investment committee for the SoftBank Opportunity Fund, focused on Black, Hispanic and Native American founders. His portfolio includes companies like LeaseQuery, Cove.tool, OncoLens and Eventeny.
About $125 million has already been soft-circled for the new Panoramic Ventures fund, which expects to work closely with some of the other investment firms that have cropped up or established a presence in the Southeast. That includes firms like Outlander Labs, founded by the husband and wife investment team of Paige and Leura Craig, and the LA-based firm Mucker Labs, which has an investment partner working out of Nashville.
“There’s been an absence of this type of energy and this type of heft in a venture fund in Atlanta,” said Judge. “That’s the hole that we’ve been aiming to fill.”
Panoramic will invest in seed, Series A and Series B funding rounds, the company said in a statement. Investment areas will focus on business-to-business software-as-a-service companies, healthcare software, financial technologies, digital media, cybersecurity and frontier technologies.