Member Spotlight: Callais Capital
For this deep dive, we spoke to Harold Callais, Managing Partner + CIO of Callais Capital.
Tell us about your firm. What makes it different?
Callais Capital invests in top-performing startup teams across the Southeast and along the Mississippi River Valley—startups that are poised to take advantage of long-term inevitable trends. Our team leverages its decades of experience in both investing and creating value for early-stage hypergrowth companies.
Within these rapidly expanding startup ecosystems, we have been building, investing in, and mentoring startups. We work in the trenches with founders to help them scale their startups, create jobs, and create massive economic multipliers in our communities.
We differentiate ourselves from the market through our unique engagement with our companies, investors, and stakeholders. Within the burgeoning startup ecosystems we are focused on, we have developed institutional investment programs to capitalize on the lack of access to local and institutional capital. Startups also gain unrivaled access to our deep network of executives, investors, and customers.
What defines your portfolio?
We’re programmatic investors, so our portfolio includes top-performing startups with track records, traction, and unrivaled knowledge of their respective industry. We aim to lead Seed and Series A rounds for our region’s top performing software, mobile app, and CPG/E-commerce startups. Geographically, we keep our proximity to the Mississippi River Delta and the Gulf Coast because startups in the area tend to raise less and do more.
Tell us about the current VC landscape in your geography/region
We’ve been investing in regional startups for a while now and have seen this community evolve into a thriving place for entrepreneurs. Fifteen years ago, investing in startups around here was seen as a hobby and not a business. There were few opportunities for entrepreneurs to raise capital from local investors. Today, there are more than twenty groups actively investing in regional startups.
Middle America and Gulf Coast startups have historically led to stronger exits and investment returns. They are also statistically more capital efficient, faster to grow revenue, and more likely to exit than those on the East and West Coasts. What we are seeing lately, though, has been a big jump in VC and startup activity due to some notable exits, including Louisiana’s first unicorn.
What are the benefits of being an NVCA member?
NVCA has been an invaluable resource for us to stay plugged in and connected to key issues in our industry. It has kept us informed on public policies, advocacy topics, investment trends, and research that supports our business. We also value and support NVCA’s initiatives to bring more diversity and inclusion into the industry.
What’s ahead for your firm in 2022/2023?
Despite market headwinds, 2022 is on track to close out strong and 2023 is shaping up to be our best year yet. In addition to the usual stuff (sourcing deals, supporting the portfolio, and raising capital), we have several exciting projects in the works across the ecosystem.
We have also begun to plan our annual Founder/Forward event that brings our founders and investors together. In the past, it has been a fun gathering that has led to some amazing conversations and collaborations. So, we’re excited for that!