Kozicki: Brentwood Capital Advisors eyes pure-play Technology deals
PURE-PLAY TECHNOLOGY companies in Nashville seem likely to get unprecedented attention from 15-year-old Brentwood Capital Advisors (BCA).
Recently appointed BCA Managing Director Scott Kozicki told VNC that the traditionally healthcare-focused investment banking firm recognizes that Nashville's "pure tech ecosystem has improved dramatically."
In addition, BCA's own capabilities have expanded, positioning the boutique to address capital and financing needs of both pure Tech and healthcare founders, said Kozicki.
Kozicki, 42, has a roughly 18-year history in healthcare, broadband/cloud and e-commerce sectors, variously serving as entrepreneurial co-founder, chief technology officer, mentor, investor and programmer in the Nashville area. BCA offices are in Franklin, near Nashville.
Kozicki said recent advances by Nashville-area Tech firms have helped generate impetus for BCA's expanded business drive. He cited progress at native mid-Tennessee companies LeanKit and Rustici Software as examples, as well as Digital Reasoning Systems (DRS), founded in Virginia 14 years ago by a Nashville native who brought the company to Tennessee in 2004. DRS has raisedm ore than $30MM in capital since inception.
Beyond that, of nine non-healthcare transactions shown as having been completed since BCA's founding in 1999, only one seems to have involved a pure-play Technology company -- the recap of Georgia-based Tax Wise (software), a full decade ago.
Asked whether its effort to support pure-play Tech funds would be essentially an ad-hoc side-play to more heavily supporting Healthcare, Kozicki denied that, emphasizing, "It's more than opportunistic."
It's not as though Kozicki has no affinity for Healthcare. His earlier roles have included CTO at Healthways; a stint as Verizon's healthcare market manager; and, his work as co-founder at Evermind (activity awareness technology for seniors aging-in-place), among other things. His LinkedIn profile is here.
In addition, Kozicki stressed that even if Brentwood were to remain predominantly Healthcare-focused, the firm would be doing steadily more healthcare technology deals, because Tech is such an important thread in the industry, with enterprises and investors, alike, "rapidly moving toward that space."
He also explained that BCA's capacity to deal with straight Technology deals has been bolstered not only by his joining the firm, but also by additions within the past 18 months of VP Porter Meadors, previously a project manager within HCA's Parallon subsidiary; and, VP Cook Wylly, whose gained prior experience with Bay Area and New York City bankers, and who is a son of BCA Senior Partner Tom Wylly. The elder Wylly is also long-time chairman of Nashville Capital Network, the Angel group.
Kozicki also expressed strong belief that despite talk of an IT or software talent shortage in Nashville, the city actually has "the deepest pool of [healthcare services and related analytics] expertise in the world."
And, though San Francisco and Boston may have advantages in Engineering talent, Kozicki said he often sees many healthcare tech solutions coming out of such centers arriving "15 to 25 degrees" off-target -- leading him to think there should be "trade missions" between Nashville and those other cities, for mutual value-creation.
BCA, it should be noted, also continues to expand its healthcare-centric banking team.
A Detroit native, Kozicki told VNC he is the first male in his family not to have worked for a big automaker, though he's definitely a "maker" who is oriented toward "hands-on" work and has "never been afraid of a soldering iron." He's a largely self-taught technologist.
In a firm led by three partners with finance or commerce degrees from strong Pennsylvania, Indiana and Virginia universities, Kozicki stands out as the classic, entrepreneurially bent college opt-out.
The erstwhile professional drummer studied music technology and related things for a while at Middle Tennessee State University, before he and an advisor there concluded that he should take the considerable real-world experience he'd already gathered, and get on with his lifeswork, Kozicki said.
Asked whether BCA is more than another learning experience along his career path, Kozicki noted that he has known and occasionally worked alongside BCA's three partners since about 1999.
He said he relishes the idea that building a practice at BCA "will prob'ly be the last thing I do, before I ride off into the sunset." VNC