Fast forward seven years, and the Seattle-based company has invested more than $165 million in 350-plus companies across the U.S., using an innovative process that lets early-stage startups raise cash without giving up equity or board seats.
Now Lackland is ready for his next adventure. He’s stepping down as CEO, and former Skytap CEO Thor Culverhouse is taking over.
Lackland said he simply wanted to spend more time with family after being so focused on growing Lighter Capital and accomplishing various goals since becoming CEO in 2012. He notified the board in April and that kicked off an executive search.
“There were lots of incredible candidates,” Lackland said. “Thor is a great match for where the company is now.”
Culverhouse is a serial entrepreneur with experience at companies ranging from IBM and HP, to small startups such as Skytap, the Seattle cloud services provider he most recently led as CEO before stepping down last month. He’s led three separate companies as CEO and will now embark on a unique mission as chief of Lighter Capital.
Founded in 2010, Lighter Capital has built its business on providing early-stage startups with an online revenue-based funding alternative to traditional venture capital. Startups agree to share a percentage of future revenue with Lighter Capital; loan payments are tied to monthly revenue.
The firm uses proprietary technology to guide investments in the $50,000 to $3 million range. It recently partnered with Silicon Valley Bank to give entrepreneurs a way to raise non-dilutive capital and get banking services, and rolled out new financing options in June.
Earlier this year Lighter Capital released its own report that shows how revenue-based financing has become the “most popular form of alternative startup financing in recent years.” It is growing at a time when some are encouraging entrepreneurs to seek alternative forms of investment.
Culverhouse said he was drawn to Lighter Capital because of the potential to help entrepreneurs beyond what the firm offers today, and not just in the U.S. but around the world.
“There is a much bigger vision and mission for the company longer term,” he said. The Washington State University grad joined Skytap in 2013 and was a finalist for EY’s Entrepreneur of the Year award in 2016.
Lackland will shift into an advisory role as he steps down from the CEO perch. He doesn’t have set plans for his next career move, but said it will likely be in the finance world, given his previous experience as a CFO and venture capitalist.
Lighter Capital has raised $20 million of its own equity and $120 million for the funds it manages. The firm employs 63 people.