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May 06, 2019 | Tom Ballard

Veteran Ventures Capital breaks escrow early to invest in HAVENLock Inc.

By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA

Knoxville-based Veteran Ventures Capital (VVC) has officially broken escrow on VVC Veteran Fund I and made its first investment in HAVENLock Inc., a veteran-launched start-up.

The opportunity to be one of the first investors in the Nashville-based company that produces a suite of smart locks for residential and commercial applications caused the initial investors in VVC to accelerate their plans, a process that required many changes to existing documents and one-on-one meetings and concurrence with every VVC investor at the time.

“We feel this company is on the leading edge of its market segment, and we are thrilled to be part of this company’s future growth plan,” said Derren Burrell, VVC’s Founder. “We got the deal done on Friday before HAVENLock appeared the next week on Shark Tank.”

Alex Bertelli, Chief Executive Officer, and Clay Banks, Chief Operating Officer, pitched the company during their April 7 appearance on Shark Tank. While they did not secure an investment from the “sharks,” Burrell said the visibility from the initial investment benefitted both HAVENLock and VVC.

“VVC Veteran Fund I fills a real need in the marketplace to support veterans and their businesses with venture-style capital,” Bertelli said in a news release. “HAVENLock is proud to be the first investment of the fund, and we’re thoroughly excited to have such a strong strategic partner that understands our mission and supports our vision.”

Terminix, a division of ServiceMaster Global Holdings Inc., has announced a partnership with HAVENLock to offer two of its door-security devices in Memphis and several other markets. Those devices are the Haven Connect, a smart lock that can be activated from a smartphone or key fob, and the Haven Mech, a mechanical-only version operated by foot pedal.

“In VVC’s case, a lot of good things have come from this decision,” Burrell said. “It created just the visibility we needed for the fund. We also now have more than 100 companies in the pipeline and increased interest from potential investors.”

We first spotlighted Burrell’s efforts to launch the fund in this March 2018 article on At the time, he had spent more than a year selling the idea of an early stage fund focused on helping entrepreneurs who happen to be military veterans.

“This (breaking escrow) was a great day for both VVC Veteran Fund I and veterans across the country,” Burrell said. “HAVENLock is an excellent example of the Fund’s goal to invest in hardworking, motivated, innovative veterans starting and running high growth-businesses.”

VVC’s Founder says Fund I will close within less than a year and anyone interested in learning more can contact him at In the meantime, it has executed a service agreement with Angel Capital Group LLC (ACG), another Knoxville-headquartered entity. VVC is utilizing ACG’s templates and drawing on its more robust experience as an early stage investor.

“We are proud to be a strategic partner of Veteran Fund I as they officially launch” Eric Dobson, ACG’s Chief Executive Officer, said in a recent news release.

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