CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The Wakefield Group in November hired Steve Nelson, senior vice-president at Quokka Sports, as a managing director and partner.
Quokka was one of Wakefield’s portfolio companies, and Nelson had worked very closely with the venture firm to bring his company into their fold. “Having been involved with venture capital from the other side of the table, I look forward to building companies as a part of the Wakefield team,” he said.
Growth in the Southeast
Nelson brings nearly two decades of management, operational and marketing experience to Wakefield, where his first task will be to establish an office in Research Triangle Park (RTP), N.C. Anchored by Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill, the region is home to a host of elite universities, Fortune 500 technology and life sciences companies, making it fertile ground for venture activity (VCJ, August, page 5). “The Southeast is the next frontier for entrepreneurship and growth,” Nelson said.
Making it Permanent
Some 50% of Wakefield’s portfolio companies are based in RTP, so the firm decided to create a permanent presence there, Wakefield Managing Director Michael Elliott said. “With his Silicon Valley contacts and experience, Steve is a great addition to our board and will be a tremendous resource for our portfolio companies.”
At Quokka, which raised $60 million through an initial public offering in June, Nelson was a general manager of Quokka/NBC, a joint venture between Quokka and NBC Sports, which produces sports coverage on digital platforms. Prior to Quokka, Nelson served as vice president of marketing and sales at Informix Software, a database software company. He also was a vice president and general manager at IBM Corp. in San Francisco.
Wakefield invests in growth businesses and management buyouts in the software, technology, media and health-care sectors, offering assistance with strategic development and M&A. Medic Computer Systems, Relativity Technologies and SciQuest.com are among the companies in the firm’s portfolio, the bulk of which are in the mid-Atlantic region, mostly in North and South Carolina.
Wakefield manages more than $100 million of capital in evergreen funds and is privately owned. Elliott, Anna Spangler Nelson and Thomas Nelson are the firms’s partners, in addition to Nelson.