Launched in 2019, it is billed as “an annual report on investor growth trends taking place throughout the Southeast region (defined as Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia).”
In the introduction to the 2021 edition, the authors write that “the Southeast has steadily grown by 30 percent in new firm creation” in that period. “There are currently over 280 identified firms that are actively investing in pre-seed to private equity – demonstrating a growth of 40 new firms since our 2020 report and 80 added firms since our inaugural 2019 report.”
The good news is that Tennessee ranks third on the list of states by number of firms. It is behind Florida (#1 with 82 firms) and Georgia (#2 with 59 firms). Tennessee logs in with a total of 46 firms. If you look at cities across the Southeast where the firms are located, you get what you might expect – concentration in a few big cities. Atlanta ranks #1 with 58 firms including 40 that do early stage investments, while fast-growing Miami is #2 with 34 firms of which 26 invest at the early stages, and Nashville is #3 with 32 firms and 23 of them making early stage investments.
Other Tennessee cities on the list are Chattanooga at #12 with six firms and Oak Ridge at #26 with two firms listed – Meritus Ventures and The Angel Roundtable – but neither is located there. Meritus was at one time, but is now operating out of Three Roots Capital’s deep West Knox County office, and The Angel Roundtable is clearly located in the Appalachian Highlands region.
The report highlights several trends. In particular, we took note of one about women investors. The state with the highest number of them is Georgia with 25, followed by Tennessee and Florida tied for second place with 19 institutional investors. “Over half (53 of 90, or 58 percent) of women investors in the Southeast hold top leadership titles of Founding and/or General Partner, Managing Partner/Director, or Partner,” the report notes.