Portfolio of Companies

Native American Ventures

Locations: McKinley County (Carbon), Whatcom County (Logistics)

Census Tract:, 35031943902, 53073940000

Investment Date: Q3 2019

Website: NAVF.net

Summary:

Native American Ventures works to develop, diversify, support, and expand the economic infrastructure of tribal nations. Through tools such as education, job training, leadership and mentorship, opportunity scouting, legislative advocacy, and financing, NAVF is helping pave the way for successful and sustainable tribal economies.

In addition, NAVF serves as the management organization to multiple tribal projects, helping promote each indigenous venture while supporting the economic ecosystem within tribal communities. Two of NAVF portfolio projects that are currently underway are Tribal Logistics and Carbon.

Tribal Carbon: Operating business working to reverse carbon emissions by generating carbon offsets through the management of tribal forests. The carbon credits are sold to companies to offset their carbon footprint in compliance with California carbon emissions regulations. By implementing carbon sequestration projects on Native American lands, NAVF aims to deliver carbon credits that will yield exponential profit while aligning with Native American cultural and environmental values.

Tribal Logistics: Operating business focused on establishing a network of free trade zones and distributions facilities operated by federally recognized Native American Tribes, creating trading opportunities for tribal nations and local businesses alike. The goals of the zones includes increased trade, increased investment, job creation and to increase overall economic development.

Verte OZ invested as a seed investor in the General Partnership; Native American Partners, which has revenue-sharing arrangements on these and other tribal projects.

Galen Robotics

Location: 1100 Wicomico Street, Baltimore, MD 21230

Census Tract:  24510210100

Investment Date: Q4 2019

Website:  GalenRobotics.com

Summary:

Galen Robotics is a qualified opportunity zone business that focuses on establishing a new surgical robotics platform for microsurgeries that combines robotics, AI, and data analytics, which could revolutionize minimally invasive surgeries.  The company recently moved from Silicon Valley to a Baltimore City Opportunity Zone.

Galen Robotics is expanding upon research conducted at the Laboratory of Computational Sensing and Robotics of Johns Hopkins University, which resulted in the Robotic ENT Microsurgical System (REMS) developed by Dr. Kevin Olds and Dr. Russel Taylor. The company’s robotic platform will assist surgeons in a variety of microsurgical procedures.

Galen Robotics’ new offices are located at 1100 Wicomico, which is also home to Harbor Designs & Manufacturing.  With this expansion, Galen Robotics plans to add 175 employees to their growing team of professionals.

Galen has been recognized by the FDA as the first company to establish a cooperative robot or Cobot.  The guidance they received from the FDA was permission to proceed under a 510 K De Novo that provides a clear path for FDA submission without requiring clinical data or studies at this time.

Verte Opportunity Fund’s bridge-round investment in Galen Robotics is one of the first instances of an Opportunity Zone Fund financing an operating business in the country. Galen is currently raising its Series A and Verte OZ is participating in this round.

SOZ EV

Location: 7761 Diamondback Drive, College Park, MD 20742

Census Tract:  24033807200

Investment Date: Q4 2019

Website: SOZev.com

Summary:

SOZ EV is a collection of Opportunity Zone centers that provide infrastructure, financing, and servicing of electric vehicles for municipal and commercial fleet operations.

The trends towards increasing electric vehicles in commercial sector are powerful: ever-decreasing battery prices and smaller vehicles due to urbanization and state and local restrictions.  In a recent study by Bloomberg, the electrification of the bus fleet is already well underway, and medium size commercial vans and trucks are set to accelerate.

SOZ EV focuses on enhancing and expanding the infrastructure for electric trucks and buses to depot-based fleet operators by providing:

  • EV OEM supported maintenance and servicing centers for commercial electric vehicles in key industrial cities/nodes with a focus on Smart Cities and renewables initiatives;
  • Charging and repair facilities strategically located to minimize EV fleet maintenance costs for municipalities and commercial operators;
  • Development and training of the workforce of the future to maintain and support EV eco-systems; for EV fleet owners

SOZ EV is committed to partnering with key local market stakeholders and EV OEMs and technology optimize the success of each depot in its target markets.

The Verte Opportunity Fund is a founder of SOZ EV and provided the initial seed round of financing.  SOZ EV is continuing to raise funds and  Verte OZ will be participating.

Fortress Media Storage

Location: 191 Peachtree St, NW Atlanta GA 30303

Census Tract: 13121011900

Investment Date: Q1 2020

Website:  AccessOpt.com

Summary:

Fortress Media Storage is a 3-dimensional, next generation data storage device company that uses revolutionary and industry-disruptive crystal and holographic technology. The technology developed at Fortress Media Storage will be commercialized and is intended to outperform Hard Disk Drives (HDD) and FLASH technologies by scaling density of the non-volatile storage and Input/Output operations Per Second (IOPS) exponentially.

Fortress Media Storage is located in an Atlanta Opportunity Zone and in close proximity to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), along with other academic institutions. With establishment in this OZ community, Fortress Media Storage intends to create a large number of manufacturing, engineering, and science skilled jobs.

The data storage industry is forecasted by IDC to grow nearly 20% CAGR over the next decade. However, the existing chip-based technologies have reached their technical limit, known as “Moore’s Law.”  Verte Opportunity Fund’s investment in Fortress Media Storage will be utilized in the process of commercializing the company’s next-gen technology for data storage. Several major companies that need to store massive amounts of data have expressed their commercial interest for the prototype storage device that will be available this year.

CEO and Co-Founder of Fortress Media Storage, Glenn A. Gladney is a co-inventor of five patents awarded to AON (Fortress Media Storage’s parent company) by the United States Patent and Trademark Office related to Optical Networking and Data Storage Technology. AON has held numerous research and development contracts with organizations such as NASA, US Navy Air, and the Department of Defense.

Verte Opportunity Fund’s initial seed investment in Fortress is the first instance of an Opportunity Zone Fund financing an operating business in Atlanta. Fortress is currently raising its next round of financing and Verte OZ will be participating in this round.

RiseKit

Location: Chicago, IL

Census Tract: 17031280400

Investment Date: Q2 2020

Website: https://risekit.co

Summary:

Vocational barriers are significant challenges for the residents in Opportunity Zones and similarly distressed communities.  These barriers include a lack of education or work skills, lack of work experience and behaviors or disabilities.

RiseKit is a technology company that connects underrepresented job seekers with vocational barriers to a broad network of employment opportunities and resources, including training programs, employers, career pathways, and support services. The company has over 200 employer and non-profit partners nationwide.

RiseKit offers easily accessible, automated and time-saving solutions for jobseekers, employers, non-profits and governments. Solve’s goal is to impact communities in its network by reducing vocational barriers. RizeKit has partnered with about 200 nonprofits and employers so far.

Verte OZ is an early-stage investor in RizeKit. Verte OZ is the a lead investor in the first part of its current fund-raising.  Verte is also the first OZ fund to invest in the company.

The Outlook Company

Location: 2101 E. Biddle St, Baltimore, MD 21213

Census Tract: 24510080000

Investment Date: Q3 2020

Website: https://www.ovfx.com/

Summary:

The Outlook Company is a full-service production company, 2D/3D animation studio and IP holder specializing in Kids and Pop Culture content. Outlook is constantly pushing the boundaries of storytelling, content and capability with its animation studio (including potentially a life-science animation division with Johns Hopkins University and Hospital), gaming and a production studio. Outlook cofounder, Trevor Pryce, was the creator and executive producer of two Netflix series called Kulipari.  

The Outlook Company is rapidly growing by building its own full-service studio located in an east Baltimore OZ and hiring local animators and actors. There no other such studios in this region of the country and it is one of two minority-owned studios in the US. 

Trevor Pryce is the co-founder of The Outlook Company and had spent 14 years in the NFL as an All-Pro defensive lineman. This includes time in Baltimore, where he and his family have made their home. During and after his NFL career, Trevor has pursued his creative passions such as music, writing books and producing content for children. He is the author and producer of the Kulipari series.  Earlier he was a founder of Beatport music which was acquired in 2013 for $50 million.  Trevor Pryce

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