Overview of Meritus Ventures, L.P.
Meritus Ventures, L.P. (Meritus) is a $36.4 million venture capital fund formed to make equity investments in private, expansion-stage companies in predominantly rural areas in central and southern Appalachia. In addition, Meritus can provide operational assistance to portfolio companies and prospective portfolio companies. The Fund makes investments in small companies in Tennessee, Kentucky, Arkansas, and the Appalachian counties of Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi.
Meritus is a Rural Business Investment Company (RBIC), formed in response to the creation of the Rural Business Investment Program (RBIP) by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in 2002. The RBIP was established to promote the establishment of professionally-managed venture capital funds in regions of the country that are not traditionally targeted by venture capital funds. Specifically, the mission of the RBIP is to promote economic development and the creation of wealth and job opportunities in rural areas of the United States. Please click here to learn more about the Rural Business Investment Program.
The Fund's roster of investors includes a number of banks and several private financial institutions, including member institutions of the Farm Credit System, several large foundations, a number of high net worth individuals, and regional stakeholders such as the University of Kentucky, the Appalachian Regional Commission, and the Tennessee Valley Authority. In addition, the fund is partially capitalized via the sale of debentures guaranteed by USDA.
The Fund's mission is to generate market-rate returns for its investors while promoting shared and sustainable business growth and wealth creation throughout its target region. The Fund will invest $250,000 - $2,500,000 in companies with strong management teams, high growth potential, and defensible competitive advantages. The Fund Managers also add value to the Fund's portfolio companies through operational assistance, active board participation, and mentoring.
The operational assistance component of the Fund’s activities is funded in part by a grant from USDA, with administrative oversight by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). This USDA/SBA grant funding is not part of the venture capital that is invested by Meritus. The USDA/SBA grant funding also is not an endorsement of any products, opinions, or services. All USDA/SBA funded programs are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis.