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Serial startup founder de-risks Atadas, meets potential investors, bidder
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Founder Bill Farr MBA

FOUNDER-CEO Bill Farr is the 100% owner and funder of startup telehealth-solutions entrant Atadas Inc. and he makes very clear that his priority is de-risking his startup by enlisting more adoption by managed care organizations and treatment clinics that are focused on behavioral health and substance use disorder (SUD).

Farr, who has now founded four entrepreneurial businesses, confirmed for Venture Nashville he has recently had conversations with potential Atadas investors, as well as with a potential bidder.

Though Farr's business interests in the past three decades seem to have been centered in Utah and other Western states, he said he and his wife have been very happy in Nashville since they established a homebase here in 2021 -- and, as "empty nesters," they value having options.

There are multiple facets of the Atadas portfolio, among them:

The company explains that its cloud-based offerings help providers serving patients with Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) achieve improved patient retention and medication adherence, as managing costs associated with treatment compliance-related activities.

We note, too, that the company has recently prototyped an artificial intelligence module "that predicts patient dropout rates for 'patients at risk', so that providers can engage in early intervention to minimize relapse and overdose deaths."

For more details see IPEAC Cloud, IPEAC-Mobile, and Pill Count.

Some readers may be surprised to find that Atadas also offers its Opioid Settlement Unified Monitoring (OSUM™) platform enables state governments and organizations receiving settlement proceeds disbursed among opioid prevention, treatment, and recovery efforts to track and monitor the efficacy of funding of treatment and recovery programs. More here.

More than once, Farr has emphasized that growth in adoption and revenue was the primary reason he joined the 2023 Cohort of Project Healthcare, offering by the Nashville Entrepreneur Center (NEC).

He has also acknowledged on several public occasions that it took him several months of deep involvement in Project Healthcare to grasp the full impact of the program for his particular business.

With energy that has become his hallmark, he gives his glowing take on Project Healthcare in this video.

Farr explained that when he and his wife took-up residence in Nashville, then Utah-based Atadas was supporting three health services providers who were serving a total of about 350 patients in Indiana and North Dakota.

Farr registered Atadas in Tennessee in late 2021 and began settling-in, ultimately securing a place in the city's 2023 Project Healthcare accelerator cohort.

Now, still entirely funded by Farr, the Atadas team of 7 FTE is supporting more than 600 provider-customers that serve an aggregate 15,000 patients in 10 states, numbers that include more than 4,000 Tennesseans who are receiving SUD treatment.

Asked about the value of Project Healthcare membership, Farr said, "NEC provided critical connections and visibility to our startup."

As an example, he cited NEC's help included connection with the Nashville team of NTT DATA Corp.'s NTT Data Services, with whom Atadas recently announced striking a "marketing and teaming" agreement. NTT Data (TYO:9613) is a listed global subsidiary of Japan's NTT.

In-line with that NTT Data agreement, Farr said the NTT folks "helped us with strategy to help shape how we go to market in Tennessee. We also met with NEC advisors who connected us with various prospects" that became Atadas customers.

He said those resulting customers have included The Next Door Recovery Inc., a nonprofit which receives some funding from the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services and, according to its 2022 Form 990 filing, provides "a continuum of evidence-based services for women and their families impacted by addiction, mental illness, trauma and/or incarceration..."

VNC notes that NTT Data -- which is a Project Healthcare partner -- has had substance abuse on its radar for some years, examples here.

In addition, Farr said that through the Project Healthcare founders "showcase" events, he made connections with leaders in the addiction recovery market, and have since closed Spero Health, based in Brentwood, as Atadas's largest customer to date.

These and other efforts in the past year seem to have paid off: VNC calculates that whereas prior to entering Project Healthcare Atadas had scant revenue, but by 1Q24 its revenue blew past the $300K mark and keeps rising.

In the course of several interviews, Farr told VNC he thinks odds are good that Atadas will have access to $1.5MM-$2MM this year for further market growth and additional for AI research and development.

"We have received offers from angels and start up funds, but we resisted in order to find the right kind of partner. As I have started and exited from two prior start ups, I prefer to not have a large cap table. We don't want just 'money' -- rather, we prefer a financial partner that can provide growth funds and also provide market access for us to get to the next level," he told VNC.

It's easy to find backup for Farr's believe that a cap table bearing numerous debt or equity funders can look overly complicated -- even messy -- particularly when seen through the eyes later-stage institutional or strategic acquirers and investors.

BACKSTORY & ADVISORS

Farr has experience dealing with all this -- in different, but also challenging domains.

For example, at the moment, the flagship in Farr's portfolio is Tribal D Inc., which offers a decision support system for American Indian tribal governments. Tribal D maintains presence in a federal HUB Zone of the Fort Hall Reservation, homeland to the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes in Idaho.

Peter Farr MD

It was from within Tribal D that Farr spun-out Atadas, with some sector guidance from brother Peter Farr MD, who is Atadas's Chief Medical Officer and a founder of Indianapolis-backed Beacon Health Group.

Other Atadas team members also include Scottsdale-based Chief Development Officer Marshall Warwaruk, a fractional marketing executive.

Scot Penrod

Atadas CTO is Scot Penrod, who was previously CTO with Farr's TopVue and TopVue Defense.

And, the CEO's daughter, Hannah Farr, handles Atadas marketing.

Farr had previously spun-out Tribal D from TopVue Defense, powered by intellectual property assigned to Farr personally.

TopVue had offered database technology for software development and configuration.

Ultimately, it merged with PE-backed Compusearch Software Systems, via a transaction that was completed less than two years before Compusearch itself was sold by Arlington Capital Partners and JMI Equity to Abry Partners, which rebranded Compusearch as Unison Software Inc.

In 2002, Farr sold Xtend Inc. to Montreal-based Engenuity Inc. (then TSG:EGY), which in 2007 itself sold to Quebec simulator technology company CAE Inc. (TSX/NYSE:CAE). Farr said Xtend offered "military compliance software that managed changes to weapon systems during procurement."

Asked about Atadas's outside advisors, Farr noted attorneys with Kay Griffin Evans of Nashville and with Workman Nydegger in Salt Lake City; accounting and tax advisors with Adams and Peterson, of Clearfield near Salt Lake City; and, bankers with Regions.

Farr, 57, has been an entrepreneur for most of his years since completing his bachelor's in electrical engineering at Washington University and later an MBA via Northcentral University, according to his LinkedIn.

He explained that the Atadas brand was adopted from the Hungarian word átadás, often used to encourage someone in need to allow themselves to "lean on" individuals and groups who stand ready to be helpful.

Farr said helping the needy is a value at the core of Atadas, and a vital tradition within his own extended family, which includes Holocaust survivors for whom mutual support was a life-or-death matter. VNC

. last edited 0643 10 May 2024


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Tags: Abry Partners, Adams Peterson, addiction, Arlington Capital Partners, Atadas, Beacon Health Group, Bill Farr, CAE, Compusearch Software Systems, drug abuse, Engenuity, Hannah Farr, HUB Zones, JMI Equity, Kay Griffin Evans, Marshall Warwaruk, Nashville Entrepreneur Center, Northcentral University, NTT, NTT Data, NTT Data Services, opiods, opioid use disorder, OUD, Peter Farr, Project Healthcare, Regions, Scot Penrod, Shoshone Bannock Tribes, Spero Health, substance abuse, SUD, The Next Door Recovery, TopVue Defense, Tribal D, Unison, Unison Software, Washington University, William Farr, Workman Nydegger, Xtend


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