By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, Pershing Yoakley & Associates, P.C.
We had a chance a few days ago to catch-up by phone with Antonio Montoya of Huntsville’s Rocket Hatch to learn more about the organization’s “Investor Day” set for September 10.
Since he helped launch Rocket Hatch 15 months ago, Montoya says he’s come to realize the weakness of the region’s capital formation component which is obviously very critical to any successful start-up ecosystem.
“We have seen some good connections happen in the last year and some Tennessee funds invest in North Alabama companies,” he says. Most recently, several start-ups from the region participated in Chattanooga’s “GIGTANK.”
Yet, when he looks at data from reports like those of the Kauffman Foundation, Montoya sees a more vibrant investor community in Tennessee than he does in Alabama.
“Investor Day” is all about connecting start-ups from Alabama with investors from other parts of that state as well as Tennessee and connecting interested Tennessee entrepreneurs with investors from places like Birmingham and Mobile.
Montoya says the program for the afternoon will include conversations around three topics – critical factors that entrepreneurs need to understand as far as the thinking and needs of investors, ways that individuals currently on the sidelines can become investors in start-ups, and ecosystem business models that work.
“The reason that I’m bringing people from Tennessee is you are playing at a higher level,” Montoya says. “We want to learn from you.”
As previously noted in a teknovation.biz post, confirmed participants from Tennessee include Kristina Montague from the Jump Fund, Eric Dobson from Angel Capital Group, Weston Wamp from Lamp Post Group, Alex Lavidge from GIGTANK and as yet unnamed individuals from the Jumpstart Foundry and Chattanooga Renaissance Fund,
“After these conversations, I want investors to connect with companies,” Montoya says. That session is billed as a “speed hatching.” It will be followed by a networking session dubbed the “Sip+Hatch After Party.”
While the event is set for 1 to 8:30 p.m. September 10 at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, it is not limited to Alabama companies. Montoya encourages attendance by Tennessee entrepreneurs interested in meeting Alabama investors.
There is a $50 registration fee. To register, click here.