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Brandon Bruce's SEC filing signals Market Square Ventures Fund I on horizon
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Brandon Bruce JD

KNOXVILLE's BRANDON BRUCE on March 6 filed a placeholder with the SEC, reporting plans for raising Market Square Ventures Fund I venture capital, with sector and target amount as-yet undeclared.

Contacted this afternoon by Venture Nashville, Bruce, 45, acknowledged the filing, confirming only that the sector-agnostic fund is to be focused on pre-Seed and Seed-stage companies.

Bruce is currently the managing director of the Techstars Industries of the Future Accelerator (TIFA) program, based in the Knox-Oak Ridge area.

The TIFA program is slated to begin its third consecutive annual cycle on Monday, March 11, with participating firms unveiled to the public March 18, according to a Techstars eventbrite post.

The 2024 cycle is to conclude June 6 with the customary Demo Day, in Knoxville.

In 2021, sponsors Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Tennessee Valley Authority, and University of Tennessee System breathed life into the agreement with Techstars, in the form of paid sponsorship, as previously reported.

The Techstars program in Tennessee was originally run by Tricia Martinez-Saab. A year or so into her term in that role, she was also pressed into service to support additional Techstars programs, and ultimately relocated to Chicago, from which she leads both Techstars AI and Techstars Payments initiatives.

The three TIFA sponsors recruited Bruce to succeed her, emphasizing the sponsors' determination to complete at least a three-cycle run of the program.

While the three sponsors sustained the program into its originally agreed third year, there's been no further public affirmation of the continuance of this or any similar program.

The East Tennessee region's rampant emphasis on innovation, startups and commercialization -- seemingly unprecedented efforts in which the local Techstars sponsors have often been leaders -- may suggest strong prospects for considering continuation of an "industries of the future" program, or some similar push.

However, we note that TechCrunch reported less than two weeks ago on market-level controversies said to be arising at least partly from Techstars' withdrawal from some decentralized programs in key markets.

Bruce, now 45, was co-founder of Cirrus Insight, which offers a highly rated app for adopters who aim to integrate with Salesforce. In 2018, Cirrus was sold to Clovis Point Capital, and in 2020 the company merged with Zynbit, on undisclosed terms.

According to his LinkedIn profile, Bruce exited Cirrus in 2019.

A native Californian, Bruce also continues to operate Uncat, a fintech offering that syncs with QuickBooks and some other platforms.

He was also previously associated as an entrepreneur in residence with Knoxville-based Greater Sum Ventures.

He, his wife and their children have lived in the Knoxville area since 2009.

The March 6 SEC filing for Fund I included reference to Fund I's general partner, Market Square Ventures Fund GP LLC and to Market Square Ventures Managemenet Company LLC.

Both Market Square Ventures Management Company and Market Square Ventures Fund I have been registered in Delaware since October 2022, according to Delaware records online. The Management Company has been registered in Tennessee since November 2022.

This week's filing for Market Square was administered by Kirk Carson, who is associated with Carta.

Previous Techstars IOTF coverage here. VNC

. link update 12 April 2024

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Tags: accelerators, Brandon Bruce, Market Square Ventures, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, ORNL, Techstars, Techstars Industries of the Future, TVA, University of Tennessee, venture capital

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