Innov865 Investor Series

The Innov865 Alliance has created an Innov865 Investor Series to give Knoxville’s entrepreneurs more opportunities to hear from and interact with investors in our region.

Innov865 Investor Series: East Tennessee Capital Call

This Innov865 Investor Series 2020 event was held on September 3, 2020, via Lunchpool.

Building on the momentum established during the July 28 launch event for the Southeast Capital Call, panelists launched a regional sub-group focused on East Tennessee investment via the East Tennessee Capital Call during this event.

Panelists were Brandon Bruce and John Bruck from Startup Knox, Grady Vanderhoofven from Three Roots Capital, and Tony Lettich from The Angel Roundtable. They discussed the new regional collaboration to attract and develop relationships with financial and strategic investors to source capital for our region’s start-ups and growing companies.

Innov865 Investor Series 2019 with Bill Malkes

This Innov865 Investor Series 2019 event was held on September 26, 2019, at The Square Room inside Café 4.

The event featured an engaging discussion with Bill Malkes, co-founder and former CEO of GRIDSMART Technologies, Inc. and Grady Vanderhoofven, CEO of Three Roots Capital and Managing Partner of Meritus Capital, the lead investor in GRIDSMART. Bill and Grady held a “fireside chat” as they discussed the founding, growth and evolution of GRIDSMART, and the acquisition of the company by a $2 billion publicly-traded corporation.

Innov865 Investor Series 2019 with Cirrus Insight and PerfectServe

August 22, 2019 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. The Square Room inside Café 4

We hosted an engaging discussion with former COO Brandon Bruce of Cirrus Insight and former President and CEO Terry Edwards of PerfectServe as they discussed the growth and evolution of their companies and how that helped guide them to successful exits.

Idea to Acquisition: A conversation with Knoxville’s investor community

Moderated By: Brandon Bruce, COO & Co-founder, Cirrus Insight

Early Stage Panel

Early Stage Panelists:

Grady Vanderhoofven

  • Company: TennesSEED, 3Roots Capital
  • Target deal size: $30k-$5M
  • Target industries: Any
  • Type of transactions: Equity

Kristina Montague

  • Company: The JumpFund
  • Taget industries: Woman-Owned Business
  • Example deals: Feetz, Momsource Network

Jack Studer

  • Company: Chattanooga Renaissance Fund
  • Taget industries: Early-Stage
  • Example deals: Collider, Vendor Registry, Aegle Gear

Growth Stage Panel

Growth Stage Panelists:

Eric Dobson

  • Company: Angel Capital Group
  • Taget industries: Early-Stage
  • Type of transactions: Angel Investments
  • Example deals: Venture 360, TVAX Diagnostics, WeatherCloud

Geoff Robson

  • Company: The Lighthouse Fund
  • Taget industries: High Growth
  • Example deals: Vendor Registry, PriceWater, Canopy

Acquisition Stage Panel

Acquisition Stage Panelists:

Grady Vanderhoofven

  • Company: 3Roots Capital
  • Target deal size: $30k-$5M
  • Target industries: Any
  • Type of transactions: Equity

Dustin Gross

  • Company: Mollenhour Gross
  • Target deal size: $500k to $5M in pre-taax earnings
  • Taget industries: Any
  • Type of transactions: Equity (including venture, growth, and mature/exit/buyout)
  • Example deals: FunLPro and PTAC, Inc

Christopher Ayala

  • Company: Towanda Capital
  • Taget industries: Pre-existing
  • Example deals: Business services companies with low capital needs that provide on-going and repeatable services to their customers. Typically these have a product or service offering rather than a professional service like an accounting or legal firm. Small to medium sized stable companies with historic, positive cash flows – revenues of at least $7mm annually and $1mm of EBITDA.  Good management teams.  Large customer bases.

Bill Nix

  • Company: Greater Sum Ventures
  • Target deal size: Over the past 3 years we have closed 70 plus transactions ranging from less than $1M to over $300M.
  • Taget industries: Software with vertical focus across many industries
  • Type of transactions: We look to invest our own capital as well as the capital of several private equity firms with whom we work closely. Will do all cash and leveraged transactions. Looking for companies that are cash flow positive with solid market presence.
  • Example deals: Purchase of healthcare software company for $16 million all cash. Leveraged buyout of government software company for $100+ million. Add-ons for our various platforms totaling more than $1 billion.
  • 2017 brief summary: Closed 25 transactions totaling more than $500 million including 2 new platforms.
  • 2018 brief outlook: Have closed 10 transactions in 2018 totaling more than $200 million including a new platform. On pace to close more than $1.25 billion. Market is very active.

John Bruck

  • Company: Queen City Angels (Cincinnati, Ohio)
  • Target deal size: $100K – $500K ($61M, 237 deals since 2001)
  • Taget industries: Healthcare technologies, SAAS (e.g., deathcare, data analytics, medical compliance, wardrobe management, supply chain management), pharmaceuticals, agricultural technologies, energy
  • Type of transactions: Equity, convertible debt
  • Example deals: Standard Bariatrics, Foxtrot Code, Airway Therapeutics, Sense Diagnostics, Crakn, Cladwell
  • 2017 brief summary: Strong deal flow with $5M in primary and secondary investments (50%+ over projection).
  • 2018 brief outlook: Likely stronger than 2017 – currently leading an $8M Series A investment in surgical device company.


Chris Van Beke, Co-Founder & CEO, Vendor Registry

Bob Bradley, President & CEO, NewsBreak