2021 Year in Review

With 2021 coming to a close, we reflect on a year of building and for many, shifting from the disruption of 2020. We are excited to share our Year in Review as we look back on what the year offered for opportunity and growth. We head into 2022 with great momentum, an expanded Stage team, and an excellent outlook on Fund I performance.  

Even with Covid-19’s continuing impact, venture valuations and rounds are continuing to increase. Global invested venture dollars exceeded $160B at the end of Q3 2021. As venture funding continues to grow, so too does the market of orphaned Series A companies as 50% of companies do not raise their series B. We are also seeing variations on our Stage thesis being validated by new fund managers.  

As part of closing Fund I in October, we formalized our internal processes and focused on delivering returns to our lending partners who provide the deal flow that gives us a strong competitive advantage in this unique investment market segment.  

For insight into deal flow and process, we evaluated a total of forty (40) companies during 2021. We saw companies with average annual revenue between $2M and $5M and we closed on three acquisitions within the year: Coops & FeathersHaystack Mountain Creamery and Worklete

We’re excited about acquiring Worklete, which closed last week. The company provides an excellent SaaS solution for frontline risk management that keeps workers safe with machine learning infrastructure.  Enterprise customers have seen material declines in workers comp claims post-implementation.

The addition of Worklete rounds out our existing portfolio which includes ThirdChannelNeedle and Zeal

Under the leadership of DanKrista, and Ingrid, we expanded Stage personnel and now have nine (9) team members providing hands-on management to our portfolio. Here are some portfolio highlights for 2021: 

  • Haystack Mountain Creamery launched new branding and a new website. In the commercial sector, Haystack has developed a strong partnership with Global Foods International (GFI), a top tier U.S. food distributor. Chèvre sales have risen 3x in volume since August 2021 and Cashmere, Haystack’s popular brie, has risen from under 15% of sales in Q3 2021 to nearly 25% of sales volume by end of Q4 2021. 
  • Coops & Feathers (C&F) is successfully implementing a direct-to-consumer sales strategy by opening an Amazon store and partnering with Chewy and Tractor Supply Online. In the retail business, C&F has expanded customer relationships with big box retailers such as Cal Ranch & Runnings and developed new relationships with customers such as Peavey Mart.
  • ThirdChannel quickly rebounded from an initial impact due to Covid and is on track for almost 100% year over year growth in 2022 with strong profit margins. They also renewed all customer contracts in 2021 while expanding their customer base.
  • Needle customer renewals continue to track at 100%, which highlights customer satisfaction and a strong value proposition. Needle’s customers see larger basket sizes and increased LTV in their e-commerce sales with advocate engagement. 
  • Zeal had a significant new product release for their enterprise SaaS tool that provides contextual software education to corporate employees which is a $23 billion market and growing due to the increase in remote work. 

As we move into 2022, we look forward to capturing new opportunities and growing what we have built through 2021. We will update you soon with progress and have several announcements we will be making in the coming months

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