By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA
Are you interested in becoming an investor in Knoxville area businesses, including start-ups, that are looking for capital? Maybe you’re a business owner looking for additional investment capital and want to do a better job of pitching your idea. Or, you might be a later stage business owner looking to exit or recapitalize your company.
If you fall into any of these categories, there’s just the right event that is coming-up on the afternoon of Tuesday, February 27. It’s called “Idea to Acquisition: A Conversation with Knoxville’s Investor Community.”
“We’re going to have three conversations centered around various stages in the funding continuum,” John Bruck, a member of the “Innov865 Alliance” and also a very active member of Queen City Angels in Cincinnati. Others on the planning committee are Chris Ayala, Managing Partner at Towanda Capital LLC; Brandon Bruce, Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of Cirrus Insight; and Jim Biggs, Executive Director of the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center.
“This is just the start of a conversation in which we want to engage the community,” Bruck says about the February 27 event. “We want to foster a longer-term conversation among and between investors and among and between investors and entrepreneurs.”
As a member of Queen City Angels, Bruck has witnessed the disconnect that can occur as energized entrepreneurs attempt to sell potential investors on their new company or idea. It doesn’t always go well.
“We want to help entrepreneurs better understand what investors are looking for and how they become investable,” he says in explaining the format of the two-hour event. “We want business owners to understand what it takes to get the attention of investors.”
There will be three panels of angel or venture fund managers discussing their strategies at three stages of the investment continuum – early stage/validation, growth stage, and acquisition and recapitalization. The panelists for each of those sessions are:
- Early – David Belitz of the Chattanooga Renaissance Fund, Kristina Montague of The JumpFund, and Grady Vanderhoofven representing the TennesSeed Fund.
- Growth – Eric Dobson of The Angel Capital Group, Geoff Robson of The Lighthouse Fund, and Ken Woody of Innova Memphis.
- Acquisition/Recapitalization – Ayala, Dustin Gross of Mollenhour Gross, and Vanderhoofven wearing his Three Roots Capital and Meritus Capital Management hats.
Prior to each panel discussion, a local entrepreneur will describe her or his experience raising capital and share the lessons they learned. Those participants are:
- Early – Courtney Jones, Founder of MomSource Network.
- Growth – Chris Van Beke, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Vendor Registry.
- Acquisition/Recapitalization – Bob Bradley, Chief Executive Officer of NewsBreak Media Networks.
“Our goal is to unlock the potential that exists between actual and possible investors and business owners and entrepreneurs that need capital to grow their businesses,” Bruck says. “We want to get more investments into area businesses.”