Overline Oversubscribes First Fund at $27 Million to Invest in Seed-Stage Startups in Atlanta and the Southeast

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As one of the region’s only Founder/Operator-led venture capital firms focusing on the earliest stages of startup growth, Overline looks to invest in exceptional founders

Sean O'Brien and Michael Cohn

Sean O'Brien and Michael Cohn

There is no shortage of phenomenal founders and businesses coming out of Atlanta and the Southeast, but they often struggle to find institutional capital at their earliest stages.

Overline, an Atlanta-based seed-stage venture capital firm, today announced that it has oversubscribed its first fund with $27.4 million in total capital commitments. Managing Partners Michael Cohn and Sean O’Brien established Overline as one of the only Founder/Operator-led firms focused on seed venture deals in the Southeast U.S.

Overline aims to be the first institutional investor for high-potential, established founding teams building differentiated companies in large markets. Cohn and O’Brien utilize their experience as longtime Atlanta-based entrepreneurs, angel investors, and operators leading companies through massive growth stages.

The pair founded Overline to fill the gap in institutional early-stage startup funding in the Southeast, a region that received less than 10 percent of total VC funding in 2020. In a survey of over 100 Atlanta-based founders who had raised institutional seed funding, the Overline team found that only seven percent had found that capital locally.

“The data reflects what we have seen throughout our careers building, growing, and investing in startups. There is no shortage of phenomenal founders and businesses coming out of Atlanta and the Southeast, but they often struggle to find institutional capital at their earliest stages,” said O’Brien. “Overline will lead as the first institutional check for these companies and be a true partner to the Founders throughout their lifecycle—supporting them on the strategic and operational business initiatives and decisions that are critical to a company’s success.”

An Active Partner in Company-Building

Overline’s approach capitalizes on the partners’ deep experience as successful entrepreneurs, angel investors, and company leaders. Cohn co-founded Cloud Sherpas, serving as the company’s initial CEO and in other senior leadership roles through its 2015 acquisition for over $400 million by Accenture. He then spent three years as the founding Managing Director of the Techstars Atlanta accelerator program. O’Brien served as President, Strategic Initiatives and Chief Strategy Officer of PGi, helping to grow the public technology company to almost $600 million in revenue through over 30 acquisitions, before helping sell the business to private equity in 2015 for $1.1 billion. Prior to PGi, O’Brien spent time as a hedge fund manager and equity analyst.

“In our research, every founder we spoke with indicated that they would prefer to partner with a seed investor who has direct experience as a founder and operator leading companies through their early growth stages—an investor who has been in their shoes and done it before,” said Cohn. “This directly shaped Overline’s philosophy of transparency, accountability, and collaboration with founders. When Overline invests in a company, we lean in to help accelerate their success.”

Backed by Renowned Companies and Investors

Overline is supported by a bench of impressive partners that reflects the firm’s roots in the Southeast. Anchored by marketing platform, Mailchimp, additional partners include Cox Enterprises, Social Leverage, Hallett Capital, Atlanta Tech Village founder David Cummings, and Techstars co-founder David Cohen.

“At Mailchimp, we love our hometown of Atlanta, and are proud of the robust startup ecosystem that's growing in our city. The Overline founding team’s vision of deploying smart, local capital into startups in Atlanta and the Southeast aligns with our goals of promoting and advancing local innovation. Michael and Sean have strong track records of identifying high-potential companies and bringing the expertise, operator mindset, and hands-on support to help them succeed,” said Rick Lynch, CFO, Mailchimp.

“When you look at the number of world-class companies that have emerged from the Southeast in recent years, it is clear that there is something special going on in this ecosystem,” said Howard Lindzon, founder and General Partner of Social Leverage. “We are increasingly looking for opportunities to back emerging managers like Sean and Michael who share our values of investing in exceptional founders and who consistently see the best deals in their region.”

A Diverse and Growing Portfolio

Overline is a generalist fund that leads investments with capital commitments of $250,000 to $1.5 million. The firm has invested in 11 companies to date, in industries ranging from FinTech to Space to Logistics and Transportation.

The Overline portfolio includes Padsplit, an Atlanta-based flexible housing marketplace that raised a $10 million Series A round in 2020, and Relay Payments, a logistics fintech company that has raised over $40 million from top-tier investors.

“Michael was one of our very first supporters back when we went through the Techstars Atlanta program in 2018, and he was one of our first investors as well,” said Atticus LeBlanc, founder and CEO of Padsplit. “His active, direct approach to helping entrepreneurs was one of the defining features of our experience in Techstars, and Overline has followed that same approach in their interactions with portfolio companies.”

ABOUT OVERLINE

Overline is a founder/operator-led venture capital firm, based in Atlanta, that focuses on early-stage investments in the Southeast. Its inaugural fund, Overline Seed Fund I, LP, is a generalist fund that leads pre-seed and seed investments across multiple industries and business models, with investments ranging from $250,000 to $1.5 million. Overline takes a hands-on approach to supporting its portfolio companies, providing key introductions to its network of prospective customers, partners, investors, and top talent. Learn more about Overline on their website, or follow Overline on Twitter at OverlineVC and on LinkedIn.

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