Heron investee Aseptia brings job opportunities back to a rural North Carolina county via food processing.
Heron is always looking for ways to improve the jobs picture for communities such as Troy, NC, a rural town in Montgomery County that is an underserved or distressed tract(1) and an agrarian growth zone(2). So we took an interest in Aseptia, a state-of-the-art food-processing company committed to building and expanding its manufacturing base in Troy as well as being seen as a model for economic prosperity.
Unemployment in the county is currently over 13% and many of the unemployed are displaced textile and furniture manufacturing workers. The region also faces a demographic youth-drain. Ashley Cagle, director of the Economic Development Corporation in Montgomery County, says “like a lot of rural areas, we have trouble retaining residents under 30 because of a lack of opportunity…the new job opportunities coming via Aseptia may help stabilize the demographic shift. The jobs they’re offering are on the forefront of technology…they’re new and evolving. I think those jobs will enrich the workforce.(3)”
Aseptia (known locally as Wright Foods) currently employs 122 full time employees at a wage 43% higher than the county’s average. We believe that these are quality jobs with opportunities for advancement. Aseptia offers all its employees medical and dental benefits, a 401(k) program, and training and advancement opportunities. The company was very recently given the prestigious Red Herring Top 100 award for North American companies in tech and and life science.
The company recently expanded their food grade facility in Troy, NC from 60,000 to 100,000 sq. ft. They have 29 acres of land and plan to expand to 41 acres by year end 2014. Aseptia has also commenced conversion of their Biscoe, NC facility into a state-of-the-art yogurt processing facility. All of this expansion will directly translate into more than 350 jobs by 2016.
It is with this significant impact in mind that Heron decided to participate in Aseptia’s recent capital raise. More details about the $28mm Series C raise can be found on their website.
(1) Rural middle-income tracts that are most in need of revitalization or stabilization or geographically remote and under-populated areas, where basic needs are often unmet – as defined by the Community Reinvestment Act.