Jason Caplain, who along with David Jones directs Triangle-based Bull City Venture Partners, says 2015 produced plenty of good funding news for startups and emerging firms in North Carolina. But he laments the lack of later-stage capital in the state. Fortunately, he says, more investors are coming to N.C. to make deals.

Caplain and Jones both still work with Southern Capitol Ventures, which maintains an active portfolio. Both are veterans of fund raising and investing dating back to 2000. BCVP formally launched in 2014 with a $26 million fund. The two invest across the southeast and Mid-Atlantic states, but North Carolina is home.

This Q&A is one of a series WRAL TechWire conducted to review in detail the data contained in the 2015 Moneytree venture capital report as compiled by PricewaterhouseCoopers in partnership with the National Venture Capital Association and Thomson Reuters.

  • Looks like 2015 was strong year for NC with 63 deals, $675 million – What’s your assessment of what the year demonstrated?

2015 was definitely a strong year in NC. What impressed me most was the nice balance between seed, early and growth stage financings that closed. But like most years, our numbers can be lumpy. For example, 3 deals (AvidXChange, nCino and BCVP portfolio company Spoonflower) total over 40% of the $675 million raised last year.

  • Fourth quarter fell off, however. What factors you think drove down deals?

The data we have points to a market that has been frothy. I think it could be the start of a pull back that David and I have publicly been talking about for a while.

  • There were several deals in Charlotte. What do you find encouraging about that?

It should be no surprise that most of the dollars historically have gone to companies in the Triangle. We expect that high concentration to continue. But we think markets like Asheville, Charlotte and Wilmington will develop over time. As evidence of that, two of the top three largest financings were outside the Triangle in 2015.

  • It appears more money is coming to NC from outside the area. Would you concur? What is driving outside interest?

Absolutely. There is not enough capital in North Carolina to support our growing ecosystem of companies here. Just in our own portfolio from BCVP III, 85% of the capital in our portfolio companies has come from out of state capital sources. Having financing partners outside the region often brings validation, a different perspective and a whole new network.

  • Several nice exits, such as Ansible to Red Hat for $100 million just two years after launch – are these exits helping draw more interest here?

Exits and the increasing depth of attractive companies will continue to attract interest.