Note: The Skinny blog is written by Rick Smith, editor and co-founder of WRAL Tech Wire and business editor of

RALEIGH, N.C. – Lookout Capital, an investment firm launched in Raleigh earlier this year, has cooked up its first deal. And another is on the front burner.

So says Merrette Moore, Lookout’s co-founder and managing partner.

The first deal is with EnviCor, a startup based in Smithfield that has developed what Moore calls a “proprietary tank for waste cooking oil transfer, storage and disposal. The tank integrates sensor, heating, pumping and wireless communications technologies.”

Bojangles, Golden Corral, Hardee’s, and Buffalo Wild Wings are among the firms who are already using the “SmartTank” from EnviCor.

Moore also has another deal in process with details expected to be disclosed in December.

The EnviCor equity deal is worth $850,000. Harbor Island Equity Partners, which is based in Wilmington, also participated in the financing.

EnviCor also is a developer and manufacturer of plastic molding.

“We are excited about having EnviCor as our first portfolio company,”Moore said. “EnviCor checks virtually all the boxes for what we consider to be a great investment opportunity. We look forward to working with the company.”

EnviCor, which launched in 2006, is led by Steve Arnold, a veteran of plastics-based product manufacturing. Other products include dormitory furniture and waste water containers – even baseball pitcher mounds.

The waste oil product is a new development. The so-called “SmartTank” is designed to provide restaurants a more efficient way of dealing with waste cooking oil.

“We are thrilled to have Lookout Capital on board as an investor and partner as we look to grow our SmartTank business and introduce similar products into other verticals,” Arnold said in a statement.

“Their expertise in helping companies scale their business, along with their strong network, should prove invaluable to us in both the short and long term,” he added.

Moore joined the EnviCor board as part of the deal. Carlos Parajon, managing partner of Harbor island, will serve as a board observer. Parajon also is an advisor to Lookout Capital.

The deal making doesn’t start there. Moore may have another deal to announce in the near future. He also is consulting with a local group on the possible launch of a new early stage fund. 

Lookout Capital is focusing on to what Moore calls “up-and-coming” firms and will provide growth as well as expansion capital. Moore has worked in private equity for the past 15 years and has extensive knowledge of the North Carolina tech sector, having worked for Wachovia, Franklin Street Partners, MCNC, NC IDEA, and venture capital firm IDEA Fund Partners.

His father, Bill Moore, is a co-Founder and the chairman of Lookout. Currently chairman of the board at RTI International, the elder Moore is a well-known investment and financial executive in banking, private and public equity.

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