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.

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.

How Investors Make Decisions

Get an idea of what’s inside the mind of investors as they make decisions on who gets funded and who does not. This research project confirmed some long held beliefs but it has also revealed some surprises that entrepreneurs and investors alike would benefit from knowing.

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