Wilmington, NC — July 2, 2018 — Since its inception in 2014, Ironclad Brewery has operated in two business segments: brewery/tap room and the event venue business. With 33 percent year-over-year revenue growth and projections for continued growth going forward, an expansion to build out more breweries, tap rooms and event venues would be the norm. Instead, Ironclad has decided to expand into a new business segment: venture capital.
“I would not recommend this approach to others,” said Ted Coughlin, CEO of Ironclad Brewery, who is uniquely qualified to lead Ironclad into venture capital as he is also the CEO of a Northern Virginia based VC firm. “I have created wealth for many by following a simple recipe: brainstorming, discovery, researching and roadmap development, followed by detailed execution. This expertise led his VC firm to success, with several investments that high risk, pre-revenue start-ups and not one has failed. “The exits, sale of the invested companies, result in huge returns and then we rinse and repeat.”
Mr. Coughlin noted the expansion into VC should help on two fronts: building wealth for Ironclad employees and investors; and contributing to the growth and achievements of Wilmington’s start up community.
Some of our employees have invested in Ironclad, but creating wealth for people working in the service sector is a challenge,” said Coughlin. “With Ironclad, I have seen first-hand the long hours people put in. Wilmington struggles with underemployment of those with advanced degrees. Many have the qualification to work elsewhere but want to stay in Wilmington. Without enough sizable businesses, their opportunities to build wealth are limited.”
Today Ironclad shares are worth roughly $500 each; Coughlin’s goal is to have each share valued over $5000 by the end of 2023. He noted that some investments will be made in Ironclad’s hometown as supporting local start-up companies is “the right thing to do.”
Ironclad has promoted start-ups and entrepreneurs by hosting launch parties for companies. It is also the regular host of events for the Network for Entrepreneurs in Wilmington (NEW) and Wilmington Angels for Local Entrepreneurs (WALE) meetings. Ironclad will continue to host those events, but also use WALE to vet investment opportunities. A company seeking investment or an angel looking to invest should contact the WALE Coordinator, Jim Roberts.
Coughlin ended by saying, “I work in a company that makes craft beer, hosts parties and makes investments. Life is good. The only thing better will be an exit party at Ironclad for a company we invested in. That is nirvana.”
About Ironclad Brewery
Ironclad Brewery, founded in 2014, is located at 115 North 2nd St. in downtown Wilmington, NC. The brewery hosts over 150 events annually. Wedding ceremonies and receptions make up over half of the events followed by corporate parties, rehearsal dinners, fundraisers and special occasion events.
Wilmington Angels for Local Entrepreneurs, or WALE, launched in 2015 and has since invested in eight regional startups, two of which were subsequently accepted into the highly competitive startup accelerator Techstar Austin. Investors are current North Carolina residents or natives. The group meets regularly with other angel investor networks in Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill, sharing information and resources to support the broader regional entrepreneurial ecosystem. WALE is managed by Jim Roberts who also ran BRAIN, the Blue Ridge Angel Investor Network. For more information, contact Jim at WALENC910@gmail.com.