Part of an occasional Venture Nashville Connections series on Tennessee private equity investors. Update Oct. 30, 2009: Plumgood Food, show in the list below, is defunct. Solidus has not yet replied to a request to update this list. -Ed.
E. Townes Duncan is CEO of Solidus General Partner LLC and managing partner of Solidus Company LP, which has about $50 million in assets under management.
About 15 months ago, Duncan was joined at Solidus by Partner Vic Gatto (left). Prior to joining Solidus, Gatto spent nearly six years at Massey Burch Capital Corp.
Gatto, now 38, earned his MBA at Vanderbilt's Owen Graduate School of Management in 2002 and his bachelor's at Amherst College, in 1993. Gatto had an earlier tech-sector tour, having co-founded and successfully sold an Atlanta-based software company.
Perhaps most notably, Duncan and Solidus combined own controlling interest in J. Alexander's Corporation, the West End-based restaurant company.
In addition to the portfolio companies listed below, Solidus has reportedly invested in Equity Service Solutions, which tracks corporate shareholders, but that transaction has not yet closed. Equity is led by Joe Maxwell and other co-founders of Investment Scorecard, a former Solidus portfolio company that was sold in 2007 to Informa Investment for a reported $50 million.
Among other Solidus ventures no longer in the portfolio is Help4Life Inc., which offered Port EP and PortMD software. Port EP software was designed to improve the flow of information among parents, educators and medical practitioners assessing learning disorders, including ADHD. The company was sold in 2003 to EBM Solutions, in which Duncan also became an investor. EBM was subsequently sold to Healthgate Data Corp.
In 1993, Duncan took the helm as CEO of a company that was in financial distress. After three years and a stint under bankruptcy protection, Comptronix Corporation was sold to Sanmina Corp.
Also in the Nineties, Duncan was a member of the board of Sirrom Capital Corporation, which made loans to companies under $50 million in revenue, and which through subsidiaries invested in public companies and provided M&A advisory services (Tandem Capital and Harris Williams & Co., respectively). Sirrom was sold in 1999 to the Finova Group.
Duncan, 54, is a member of the board of directors of Nashville Capital Network, a company that coordinates deal flow for local Angel investors, and which operates on a not-for-profit basis.
During 1985-1993 Duncan was a principal in Nashville's Massey Burch Investment Group. He began his career as an attorney with Bass, Berry & Sims, serving in the firm's venture capital and private equity practice, 1978-1985. He earned his J.D. at Washington & Lee University in 1978 and his bachelor's in political science at Vanderbilt University, in 1975.
In addition to directorships in several Solidus portfolio companies, Duncan has served ten years as a director of Bright Horizons Family Solutions, Inc., a childcare services company and a former Solidus portfolio company. He has also served in leadership roles for The Ensworth School, including board chairman. He is a permanent Ensworth trustee. In 2006, the local chapter of the American Diabetes Association recognized Duncan as a Father of the Year honoree.
Current Solidus portfolio companies, recently provided VNC by the company:
Solidus Company is located in the Hill Center in Nashville's Green Hills. ♦
- American Hometown Publishing Inc.
- American Sentinel University (American Learning Solutions Inc.)
- Capital Confirmation Inc.
- ChangeHealthcare Inc.
- Dalcon Communications Systems Inc.
- Documentary Channel Inc.
- Giant Photos LLC
- J. Alexander's Corp.
- Kodi Klip Corp.
- MedFusionRx LLC
- Motricity Inc. (AKA/FKA PowerByHand, PalmGear, Pinpoint)
- New Constructs LLC
- OnFocus Healthcare Inc.
- Plumgood Food LLC
- SouthComm Communications Inc. (owns Southcomm Publishing, NashvillePost.com, The City Paper, Her, Music Row, Medical Newspapers, BusinessTN, LEO Weekly)
- Spirit Broadband LLC
- The Restaurant List
- TrackPoint Systems LLC
- Tricycle Inc.