By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA
It was a busy couple of days of presentations last week for Adam McCall, Chief Executive Officer of Prisma Renewable Composites.
The serial entrepreneur, fresh off landing a major investment from Domtar Corporation (see our recent teknovation.biz article), spoke at two events during the just concluded “Innov865 Week.” The Maryville College graduate was the headliner at the school’s Wednesday night “Innovation in the Arts” meet-up and again at Thursday’s “Rise & Grind” hosted by Three Roots Capital and the University of Tennessee Research Foundation.
At the Maryville College event, McCall discussed how his time at the school and his liberal arts education had prepared him very well for his three subsequent careers – IdleAire, Malibu Boats/Axis Wake brand, and now Prisma.
He also espoused the importance of the triple bottom line. Noting that individuals and organizations should be committed to creating more value than they capture, McCall said, “Maryville College has been doing that since its founding.”
During the “Rise & Grind” event, he engaged in a longer discussion with Chris Miller, Chief Financial Officer at Three Roots.
“Prisma is in love with lignin,” McCall said at the outset, underscoring the focus of the start-up.
The Blount County native explained that he chased funding for about 18 months before consummating the deal with Domtar. In response to a question from Miller about a strategic investment like Domtar’s versus an institutional investment, McCall explained that it was important to “know where their (strategic partner’s) pain points are; how can we help them improve their business.”
He added that institutional investors expect a defined rate of return on their investment within a certain period of time. With a strategic investor, McCall explained that “there is always this unknown” about their overall business strategy.
Prisma will most likely pursue additional funding in the future and that could come from Domtar or a more traditional route.
In response to a question from one of the attendees at “Rise & Grind,” McCall said, “There is no specific industry (sector) we are targeting,” but added that he expects to announce a major deal soon.
Here’s a picture of Miller (left) and McCall (making a point) from the “Rise & Grind” event.