(EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the second in a two-part series focused on Roger Kiger, one of the region’s serial entrepreneurs who has also been involved in angel capital activities and has just launched his own software product.)
By Tom Ballard, Director of Innovation and Entrepreneurial Initiatives, Pershing Yoakley & Associates, P.C.
Roger Kiger has been involved in a variety of entrepreneurial ventures for most of his adult life.
He and his identical twin brother bought a marina and restaurant at an early age and now own three marinas. Later, Kiger entered the financial planning profession and drew on that knowledge to serve as Managing Director of the Knoxville Chapter of Angel Capital Group for several years. More recently, he has played a leadership role in launching the Lighthouse Fund, Knoxville’s first locally-based angel fund.
So, it was only natural that he decided to launch a product – one that drew on what Kiger describes as “a series of Excel spreadsheets built over 10 years” of financial planning work. At this stage, he is reluctant to reveal too much about the brand new software for competitive reasons, but has some information available on a webpage.
Kiger does say that the software is focused on automating compliance requirements faced by small, independent investment firms or even individual advisors.
“We spent three years developing the software,” he says, adding that the genesis was an audit of his firm conducted by the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance.
“These usually take a week, but our auditor left after just two days,” Kiger explained. The auditor told him that his files were so well-organized that he had everything he needed.
The Lincoln Memorial University graduate is a champion of those trying to start a new business.
“It’s all about entrepreneurship,” Kiger says. “I sold my truck to buy our first work boat (for the marina).”
While saying that “my brother and I did it the hard way,” he also acknowledges that it was probably easier to start a company in the 1990s than today.
So, recognizing the success he has experienced, Kiger is involved in giving back to the community.
“We need to take a little bit of our time and help people,” he advises other successful entrepreneurs. “There’s a lot to be gained by collaboration.”
The self-avowed lover of entrepreneur pitches is also philosophic about what would help the local entrepreneurial ecosystem thrive more.
“We need plenty of reasons to say yes,” Kiger believes.