A Wilmington startup has garnered a seed-money investment from the Raleigh-based entrepreneur and investor team of Tom Lotrecchiano and Joe Schmidt.
The two men, famous for their “Entremanureship” approach to business, have agreed to make an angel investment of more than $50,000 to Port City Ventures, and will potentially provide “future additional financing when opportunities arise,” said Zach Milne, owner of the startup.
Milne, who grew up in Hampstead and has a digital marketing background, said he saw opportunities to start a few online businesses, and perhaps to acquire a few existing ones. After launching Port City Ventures, he moved into University of North Carolina Wilmington’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, which is where he met Lotrecchiano.
The Raleigh businessman was at the CIE ahead of a special event there this past summer, and was meeting one-on-one with aspiring entrepreneurs during what CIE executive director Jim Roberts calls “open office hours.”
“Jim pulled me in to talk with Tom because of his background, and to get some feedback about what I was doing and how to pursue [the business],” Milne explained. “Tom liked my [business] idea right away. We discussed my background, what projects I was working on, and whether my idea was investable. He said it was, and would be interested in helping out.”
The two communicated frequently over the next couple of months. Milne met with Lotrecchiano and Schmidt in Raleigh and did his homework – literally – as they asked him to provide a variety of materials for their review.
Milne had another opportunity to get in front of Lotrecchiano when he became a last-minute fill-in speaker at the CIE’s Sept. 4 anniversary conference.
“He did a good job on stage and made a good impression on Tom,” Roberts said.
The investment agreement was cemented last week when Lotrecchiano and Schmidt brought their Entremanureship show to UNCW's Lumina Theater as part of the university's Entrepreneurship Week.
Port City Ventures is an umbrella company that will allow Milne to start and acquire businesses that show potential, its owner explained.