Greenville Navy Seal Thom Shea Rocks Crowd

Book Launch - Tuesday May 13rd

Tuesday night, our Successful Entrepreneurship program celebrated its first full year. Approximately 150 people have been a part of two great semesters, with 15 sessions each. The celebration was special. This year folks like Governor Haley, Joe Erwin, Bob Hughes, Edwin McCain, Randy Dobbs and a long list of superstars lit up our classes. We are so thankful for the success of this program and will be continuing again in the fall.

The powerful talk that absolutely mesmerized me and a crowd this Tuesday night was given by Thom Shea, recently retired Navy SEAL. He had a 23-year military career, resulting in over 50 medals including the Silver Star. What do “Captain Phillips,” “Lone Survivor,” and the Bin Laden raid have in common? Thom Shea. Thom personally trained the Navy SEALs who participated in those ops.

And . . . he has now retired (January 2014) and moved his family to Greenville!!

Thom has a new book coming out next month, and the official book launch event will be at the Poinsett Club on Tuesday, May 13th at 5:30 pm. The book was originally meant to be a guideline for life for his children in case he didn’t survive combat. He wanted to have a way to talk to and teach his kids if he were killed in action. It is a moving, compelling, and hugely insightful book.

Ken Blanchard has endorsed the book. Furthermore, the Navy—which has to approve any book written by/for a SEAL—told Thom his was the best SEAL book they had ever read.

Thom also does leadership and performance training for companies, teams, and individuals. He is a true American hero, and we are looking forward to attending this event. Join us and read the book!

CLICK THIS LINK to order tickets to hear and meet this incredible family.


Leighton Cubbage Named Chairman of SC Venture Capital Authority

Via Upstate Business Journal

April 10, 2014

Serrus Capital cofounder Leighton Cubbage was appointed head of the state Venture Capital Authority (VCA) to serve a term through July 1, 2017.

The VCA was established in 2005 as an agency within the Department of Commerce to identify and select qualified professional investors who will invest in South Carolina companies. The authority is a seven-member board selected by the governor and state lawmakers.

Cubbage has several years of experience in the venture capital field. He has served on boards in the automotive, banking and healthcare industries.

He said he supports the Haley administration’s heavy emphasis on business climate and recruitment and that he and Gov. Haley agree that government probably should not be in the venture capital business, but the VCA must be managed to ensure the best outcome for the state.

“Making an environment where it’s good for entrepreneurs is important. It’s a path that many people can’t walk working in both government and business and doing it the right way,” Cubbage said. “So I’m willing to lend my name to the effort.”

***This article was originally published on Upstate Business Journal's Website, CLICK HERE to read original article.


From GSA Business: New SEC rule broadens investor base

By Ashley Boncimino Published Feb. 10, 2014 on

For the past 80 years, the rule of thumb for private-placement fundraising was “Keep it behind closed doors.” But three months ago, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission changed the rules to expand fundraising opportunities for businesses and might do so further, raising some concerns about the fraudulent solicitation of investments. Once only permitted to raise capital from within inner circles, businesses and, particularly, startups are now allowed to publicly advertise that they’re seeking investments, which broadens the pool of potential investors exponentially, according to Serrus Capital Partners co-founder Leighton Cubbage.

His company, a real estate investment and management firm in Greenville, has reaped the benefits of changes, which were adopted by a vote of 4-1 by the SEC in July and took effect in September.

“Imagine if you had to sell cars without being able to advertise that you were selling cars,” said Cubbage, who said Serrus has taken advantage of the rule by advertising primarily online and in newspapers. “Now, we’re able to advertise.”

Public advertising for private placements, known as general solicitation, was banned by the SEC in 1933 as one of many responses to the Great Depression.

This changed under the Jumpstart Our Business Startup Act signed in April 2012 by President Barack Obama. The new measures were intended to make it easier for small businesses to raise capital and thus stimulate the economy overall. Previously, only very large companies could afford the expense of public offerings, leaving startups and smaller businesses with limited options.

Cubbage, who founded Serrus Capital Partners with co-founder Steve Mudge, wouldn’t say how much funding the company has raised. The new rule has limits.

“In the old days, the rules were you can’t contact people you don’t know already or people in your inner circle don’t already know,” said Neil E. Grayson, a partner at Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP. “None of that applies for this new rule ... You’re free to reach anyone you want to under this rule; you’re not free to take money from just anyone.” Companies may only take investments from accredited investors. Being accredited means having more than $1 million in net worth, earning $200,000 in net income in the last year, if you’re an individual, or $300,000 for couples. Before the ruling, you only had to have a “reasonable belief” that the potential investor was accredited. Now, companies have to take it several steps further, displaying “due diligence” by taking reasonable steps to verify the accredited status of investors.

“What the SEC has said is, ‘We’re going to lift this ban on general solicitation because we know it’s going to make it easier for you to reach more people, but by reaching more people, there’s a greater likelihood that you’ll end up selling to someone who is not an accredited investor,’” said Nelson Mullins Partner Michael F. Johnson, who worked at the SEC Division of Corporate Finance in Washington, D.C., before moving to Greenville.

South Carolina has taken advantage of the new rule with its recently debuted state-exclusive crowdfunding website,, where businesses and startups in the state can list their ventures for private placement equity for accredited investors or for donation crowdfunding, which is open to anyone.

But lifting the ban on general solicitation for private placement wasn’t the only provision in the Jobs Act aimed at creating a new way for smaller companies to find investors. Another provision — the equity crowdfunding provision — could allow anyone, not just accredited individuals, to invest in a company.

But this could open the door to fraudulent investment solicitations, so the SEC has not created the guidelines to enact this second provision of the Jobs Act.

“There are lots of people out there who know how to rip you off, and this is just another avenue through which they can scam you,” he said.

“A good example is diet products and supplements,” said Johnson. “They’ll say we have a new vitamin that does A, B, C and D ... and all along it’s really nothing.” The proposed solution is a “gatekeeper” portal where people can evaluate and discuss companies requesting funding.

“The funding portal will act as the intermediary and sort of vet the prospective investor and make sure it’s a suitable investor for them and make sure they’re suitable to invest,” Johnson said. The commentary period for the proposed equity crowdfunding ruling ended Feb. 3. It suggests the SEC is moving forward, Grayson said.

***To read article on, CLICK HERE!


New Ad Rule Energizes Investment Scene ( Article)

JANUARY 9, 2014 by Jennifer Oladipo Until recently, companies could get into serious trouble for telling the wrong people about new investment opportunities. But since the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) last fall allowed businesses to publicize investments much in the same ways they might advertise cheeseburgers or tax services, local companies are seeing a new world of opportunity. They can now place mass-media advertisements and openly discuss elements of business that could generate investment. The amendment to Rule 506 included several changes, but most significantly it is seen as the federal agency’s acknowledgement that technology had outpaced its rule prohibiting general solicitations. Crowdfunding, for example, has allowed companies to entirely circumvent agency regulation, having grown organically on the Internet. “In the old days, you had to go out of your way to avoid mentions in the press,” said Neil Grayson, an attorney with Nelson Mullins who deals with securities offerings. “You couldn’t have any press that’s inconsistent with press or advertising you’re already doing.” Those restrictions put startups at a major disadvantage, because they generally have no communication history. As a result, Grayson said the rule change benefits startups “tremendously more than more established companies,” because their promotions are not automatically viewed as efforts to sell stock. The impact on real estate securities offerings has also set that industry abuzz. Serrus Capital cofounder Leighton Cubbage said the new law was a factor in his real estate firm’s launch of a new investment fund later this month. He estimates radio, TV and newspaper advertising could double the number of investors the firm will attract. “Now you don’t have to just know me or I don’t have to know you personally. If you’re a qualified investor, we can talk,” Cubbage said. “It changes everything about an entrepreneurial company like us that couldn’t even advertise what we were doing. That doesn’t even sound like capitalism.” Grayson said most of his clients, including Serrus Capital, are eager to take advantage of the rule change this year, though some have chosen to use the old rule because they view it as less risky. It limits communications but doesn’t require businesses to verify investors’ financial status. Businesses using the new advertising rule are liable if they are mistaken or misled about investors’ accredited status. On the other hand, Grayson said the increased risk has sparked a new cottage industry of intermediaries who will review investors’ financials and verify that they are indeed accredited. Service providers from accountants to attorneys are now offering to review tax returns, audits and other financial statements to ensure investors meet the $1 million asset threshold. Grayson said some potential investors who learn about opportunities through the newly open channels will be put off by the increased financial scrutiny. In the past, “there would be plenty of companies that would allow an investor to check a box that says, ‘Yes I am accredited,’ and do nothing more,” Grayson said. “Not something I’d ever recommend, but I know that it happens.” To read original article, go to


Edwin McCain and Steve Mudge: Two Rock Stars

One is a famous rock star, and the other is my partner in Serrus. They took different paths in different professions, but both are winners.

Last night singer-songwriter Edwin McCain spoke to 75 members of our second Successful Entrepreneurship class. His remarks were entertaining and compelling. One of his lines, which I'll never forget, was “I'll only be in business with people I would let watch my children." It sure made me think of Steve Mudge.

Both Steve and I had been recruited to play football at Clemson. In those days, Clemson had an all-freshman team that played other college freshman teams. Mudge was a big, tough All-World lineman from Johnsonville, SC. We used to hit heads together on the field and go out together afterwards, and I even went down to the Lowcountry and eat huge steaks with him and his family. Steve tore up the books his first year and then moved over with a top fraternity. At Clemson, I'd always see Mudge dressed up and smiling. He was loving life. Steve rolled through the books and parties and graduated very quickly. (Isn't four years exceptional?!) As for me, I didn’t have the sense to realize where my future really was and stuck it out as a very seldom-used linebacker.

Then, at about the end of 2008, Steve called me. He wanted to meet for lunch and see what I was doing. Let’s be honest. At that time, car dealerships, banks, newspapers, telecom companies, and stocks were tanking. It felt like the Great Depression! During lunch we talked about a world where value was in rapid transition. How does a $20 stock go to $2 in a month? We both were looking for the next thing. Steve had been the Executive Vice President of Ritz-Carlton and Marriott International, and he could not just sit in his big house at Thornblade Country Club looking out the window!

"What have you got going?" Steve asked me. After spending 10 minutes telling him about all the things that weren't working, I sheepishly told him that the only thing we had working was a family effort in buying, renting, and selling small houses. Steve's eyes got big. In the next few minutes, Serrus was born.

Now, going into our sixth year, we at Serrus are stronger than ever. Two years back-to-back we have had growth so strong that for both years we were recognized as one of the fastest-growing companies in South Carolina. The future is bright, too. We have some of the coolest deals working ever. Plus, Fund 3 will be introduced with the next few weeks.

After all of this, when I heard Edwin talk about choosing a business partner, it shot through me like lightening. One of the best decisions I have ever made was the person I chose as a partner. We can now laugh at how our perspectives started a clear 180 degrees apart, and we cover the full 360 degrees and come back to a decision. There are things he would rather that I handle, and there are a ton of things that I know he should do—and can do—better than I can.

At the end of these five years, I can truthfully say I'm glad I picked someone I could trust watching my babies. Thanks, Steve. You’re the rock star of Serrus.


Second Successful Entrepreneurship Lecture Series Announced

15-week program builds on momentum from fall series

Upstate business leaders have announced the second Successful Entrepreneurship Series to take place on Greenville Technical College’s campus beginning in January. The three-month lecture series will build off of momentum gained from the fall series that culminated with a presentation by South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley.

The series’ 15-week curriculum aims to inspire innovation and encourage individuals to develop ventures that benefit the community. Classes will be taught by real world entrepreneurs eager to share their personal stories and expertise. Speakers include TV personalities Richard Davis from “Flip That House” and Jane Robelot of CBS, nationally acclaimed singer/songwriter Edwin McCain and COO of Greenville Business Magazine Lori Coon. Topics to be discussed include marketing, social media, financial and accounting basics, human resources, leadership and international business.

Leighton Cubbage, chairman of Serrus Capital Partners, said, “The first Successful Entrepreneurship series was a huge success, and we want to continue making an impact with local entrepreneurs, giving them any and all available tools to help their businesses succeed. We’ve put together a tremendous line-up of speakers for this series, and I look forward to meeting our next class of entrepreneurs.” The program will meet weekly beginning January 7th until April 22nd. Registration is limited to 75, and participants in the free lecture series must attend 13 of the 15 sessions to receive a certificate of completion at the conclusion of the program. For more information or to register visit

*To read the complete release from Smoak PR, CLICK HERE


Serrus Press Release - Big News

Legally we can now tell you why accredited investors might consider investing in Serrus. The law has changed favorably and you can bet we will be getting the word out! We are releasing our first press release today and thought you might like to see it first. Call me if you want to know more. (I always wanted to say , " we have operators standing by to take your call!) Click Here to read the whole press release: "New SEC regulations spark transformation for Serrus Capital Partners".


New SEC regulations spark transformation for Serrus Capital Partners

Changes allow direct solicitation of qualified investors. Greenville, S.C. | October 22, 2013 – Serrus Capital Partners, a Greenville-based real estate investment and management company, is excited to announce that new regulations passed by the Securities and Exchange Commission have lifted the ban on the advertising and mass marketing of private securities offerings. These changes mark a milestone in Serrus’s history, as the company can now share details of their offerings. For the past two years, Serrus Capital Partners has been recognized as one of South Carolina's 25 Fastest Growing Companies. The company now coordinates the staff, systems, and management processes of over 350 residential properties. The properties include single family residences and residential units in Carolina Walk in Columbia, SC and at The Residences at Biltmore in Asheville, NC. Co-founders Steve Mudge and Leighton Cubbage have both had corporate and entrepreneurial careers with decades of collective experience across multiple industries. The partners have used that wide expertise to purchase properties for cash and reposition them for rental or sale at current market conditions. This approach has allowed Serrus to improve communities while acting with integrity in a market that continues to recover. As stated by CEO Steve Mudge, "The concept was born to deliver what we call a ‘sleep well at night’ investment. We invest in hard assets that have produced returns with rents and good margin sales. Our current offering, Serrus Fund II, has a target of 15% IRR. Investors have loved the 7% preferred return paid quarterly and the 50% of sales profits distributed quarterly. Once we sell out and distribute 100% of the investment back plus the preferred return, the profits are split 60% to the investors and 40% to Serrus. Chairman Leighton Cubbage adds, "We built this business to deliver returns for folks who wanted a local investment they could trust. Our funds are fully audited by a large regional accounting firm, and we give each investor a password-protected website with the financials and audits online. It’s such a relief to be able to discuss the results and offering to the public. We have bought properties, added value to neighborhoods, and put people to work in one of the worst economies I’ve seen in my life. Our investors love that we are a local investment with hard assets, and the new regulations are a total game changer. We’re ready to capitalize on this opportunity and reach out to a whole new investor base.” The changes to private securities regulations represent a paradigm shift in the industry. By approaching qualified investors through advertising and marketing, Serrus can broaden its potential investor base, including people with $1 million in assets (not including their home), an income of $200,000 for individuals or $300,000 per couple. All financial information must be verified by a CPA, attorney or financial advisor. ABOUT SERRUS CAPITAL PARTNERS: Serrus Capital Partners combines real estate development expertise with an entrepreneurial spirit and financial insights to manage investment capital wisely while growing a strategic portfolio of properties. Its operations arm, Serrus Real Estate and Property Management, provides residential owners with professional, turn-key leasing and management services in the Upstate area at a cost-effective rate. With decades of experience across the Southeast, Serrus Capital is the region’s leader in residential real estate asset investment and management. Please contact us if you would like additional information about Serrus Capital Partners or an investment in one of our investment funds. Past performance does not guarantee future returns, and there are risks in an investment in our funds. Any offering will be made exclusively by a private placement memorandum which will include a description of the risks of an investment. The offering will be limited to accredited investors.


Take your "Gamecock Love" to the next level!

Where does the season go? As we write this we have already completed two home football games at Carolina Walk. We have also been extremely successful with our marketing and sales campaigns. We are also excited about our most recent closing on Monday, and we recently finished furnishing three new models for the remainder football season. Check out the photos below from our recent photo shoot. These are new models that also highlight the fabulous Farmer's Market Park renovation. Our team did a great job getting these residences ready. Guess what? Prospective purchasers have been extremely impressed by the interior finishes and views of Williams-Brice Stadium. If you or any of your friends have thought about taking your "Gamecock Love" to the next level, check out the remaining condos here at Carolina Walk. In my humble opinion, a great opportunity to enjoy Gamecock Football, right across the street from Williams-Brice Stadium. Stop by and check them out. Give John Creech a call at 803-608-0920 for more information.


Big Hairy Audacious Goals, Joe Erwin, Steve Mudge, Jim Barker, and Diane Nyad

Last Tuesday night, Joe Erwin addressed our Successful Entrepreneurship seminar with powerful testimony of what he feels has given Erwin Penland national prominence in the advertising field. Going from zero to 400+ staff members and hundreds of millions in marketing business is a compelling story, especially when the speaker is telling the story in the first person, and he is named Joe Erwin. Afterwards, the crowd was more than simply motivated. They just could not stop talking about it—even a week later—because Joe’s story was such a clear example of achievement and overcoming all types of setbacks. Exactly what is a BHAG? In Joe's words, it’s a “Big Hairy Audacious Goal.” Specifically, a BHAG is a concept put forth in the 1994 book, “Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies” by James Collins and Jerry Porras, which challenges businesses to set a 10- to 30-year goal, similar to a self-challenge when your current status quo is nice, but you can stretch yourself to achieve something big and special. The morning after Joe’s presentation, my partner and Serrus CEO, Steve Mudge, called all of us together. Basically, he told us that we are doing great, but he had a question for everyone: what is our BHAG? The whole team was excited! We are all goal-oriented, and these folks have created most of the value that we have built. Immediately, we formed a group that will meet to discuss our business’s culture and set a BHAG. Our new big goal is starting to be framed up here at Serrus, and we all feel the energy and motivation. I love it. Also, this morning I got an e-mail from Elliott Davis managing partner Rick Davis containing a press release about Clemson being named the 21st Best Public University in America by US News & World Report. Rick wrote, "This demonstrates the power of a vision." In fact, I remember when Clemson President Jim Barker brought out this BHAG. Back then, folks made fun. There are far less doubters this morning. Finally, last week, a 64-year-old woman named Diana Nyad became the first person to swim without a protective cage from Cuba to Florida across 100 miles of ocean. It was her fifth try. When she got out of the water, exhausted and exhilarated, she said this: "I’ve got three messages. One is we should never, ever give up. Two is you never are too old to chase your dreams. Three is it looks like a solitary sport, but it is a team." Her BHAG seemed ludicrous to others when she set it and seemed more ludicrous after each failure. Ms. Nyad, however, kept reaching for that Big Hairy Audacious Goal until she made it. Businesses should take note. In my humble opinion I believe that leadership is from the front. Winners like Joe Erwin, Steve Mudge, Jim Barker, Rick Davis, and Diana Nyad lead us by example. It challenges our spirit and we dream again. What's my Big Hairy Audacious Goal? Stay tuned because I have one that I've been working on and will share. There's a pretty good chance I will embarrass myself, and my timidity causes me to first convince myself that it’s a possibility even before I fire off the rockets. The only hint is that it involves a bicycle. So, in the spirit that life is not a dress rehearsal: what's your BHAG?


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