Briefly: TNInvestco officials will discuss 'shortcomings' of losing bids
By Milt Capps Last updated 1:55 p.m., Nov. 16, 2009
Any TNInvestco bidders who finished out-of-the-money may obtain from state officials further explanations of why they failed to win.Speaking for Tennessee Revenue Commissioner Reagan Farr, spokeswoman Sara Houghland told VNC, "...we asked each applicant to submit proposals in writing and based on those proposals, we chose 10 finalists to interview face to face.
"The final choices," Houghland continued, "were those funds who best articulated a vision for how to utilize the TNInvestco program in a transformational way to diversify Tennessee's economy and create jobs for Tennesseans. We clearly understood that in making our choices, some applicants would have differences of opinion, but at the end of the day, we used our best judgment to choose those applicants with what we viewed as the most well-reasoned strategies."
She explained that in their recent announcement of TNInvestco winners, Farr and Economic and Community Development Commissioner Matt Kisber chose "to discuss the assets the TNInvestco finalists bring to the table, not the areas in which the unsuccessful applicants were lacking. If any of those applicants want to discuss our decisions, we'll be happy to discuss the shortcomings."
TNInvestco applicants who want more information post mortem may be looking ahead to a proposed second round of TNInvestco funding.
Kisber and Farr recently announced six winning firms and said they would seek an additional $40 million in tax-credit authority to fund proposals put forward by unsuccessful funds associated with Nashville-based Solidus Co. and Nashville Capital Network. It wasn't immediately clear whether or not the legislature might be asked to direct funding toward two specific companies.
Speaking via this morning's Knoxville News Sentinel, one executive with a failed TNInvestco proposal expressed uncertainty regarding the reasons for his bid's failure.
In a story headlined, "Quest for Venture Capital Stymied," reporter Larisa Brass quoted Geoff Robson (at left), program director and chief financial officer for the Center for Entrepreneurial Growth at the University of Tennessee, as saying, "I don't know that we really have enough feedback to talk about what happened with it."
CEG was to have been a partner in Southern Appalachian TNInvestco Management Co., with the Southern Appalachian Fund and Meritus Ventures, firms that specialize in rural startups.
Other executives with failed bids have expressed similar views in conversations with VNC, on condition of anonymity. ♦