The Cofounders Lab
This summer I have had the opportunity to work at Cofounders Capital, an early stage venture capital firm in North Carolina. The firm is managed by former entrepreneurs David Gardner and Tim McLoughlin, and they have decided to run their firm differently than most venture firms.
At Cofounders, the management team is almost exclusively focused on companies in the Research Triangle Park area of North Carolina. They are able to focus on such a small area because Research Triangle Park is home to three major research universities (Duke University, NC State University, and UNC-Chapel Hill), has large campuses for fortune 500 companies (IBM, Cisco Systems, and GlaxoSmithKline), and is undervalued by major investors in the Northeast and on the West coast. Major universities and large corporations produce a ton of talent in the region, and a lack of investors mean that there are entrepreneurs that need funding. In addition to focusing on a specific geographic region, Cofounders Capital has an interesting model where they have a co-working space called the Cofounders Lab. The lab is a space where entrepreneurs from the area can work for free, network with other entrepreneurs, and get mentorship and support from the Cofounders team.
The lab is dynamic office, with many companies working out of it. Since the lab was established, some of the entrepreneurs working out of the lab have received investment from the Cofounders team. And on any given day, you can find other Cofounders portfolio founders working out of the office and meeting with the Cofounders team. This is great for small teams because they can share advice, tricks, and tips with other startups.
The Cofounders Lab is an important asset for the Cofounders Capital team. It allows David and Tim to work with their portfolio companies on a daily basis. This is a real point of differentiation, because few investors can say they actively work with their portfolio companies every day.
If you’d like to learn more about Cofounders Capital or the Cofounders Lab, you can learn more here.