TNInvestco funds stay busy with further tech-sector investments
By Milt Capps updated 8:46 p.m.
AT LEAST SIX of the state's 10 TNInvestco funds have recently reported transactions with early-stage companies.
TriStar Technology Fund invested $1MM in Montara, Calif.-based Molecular Sensing Inc. (MSI), which is working to commercialize its proprietary back-scattering interferometry (BSI) molecular interaction assay technology. (MSI also recently announced receiving a $2.3MM SBIR Phase II award from NIH to support the creation of an advanced pharmaceutical research platform, a follow-on to a smaller Phase I award in 2010.) TNInvestco recipients are required to establish headquarters presence in Tennessee. TriStar also recently upped its stake in Goba, the social-media startup; see related story today by VNC.
Border Jump, which in partnership with Aeropost helps US merchants sell in dozens of other nations, recently attracted a $555K investment from XMi High Growth Development Fund. VNC's previous report on the four-year-old Border Jump effort is here. Founder-CEO Bobby Franks, 44, said this morning he's developing a new platform, details to be forthcoming. In 2009, Franks told VNC proceeds from a raise Franks then contemplated would go toward technology development, marketing and advertising.
Council & Enhanced Tennessee Fund, an affiliate of Council Capital (Nashville), invested $480K in Payment America Systems, a nearly 50-year-old business in the revenue-cycle management sector. In November, Council Capital and its TNInvestco jointly announced each had invested in what may have been the same transaction, with no details at that time.
Innova Fund II (Memphis) has invested more than $1MM in two firms. Its investment in Parental Health, reported by VNC in December, turns-out to have been at least $750K.
In addition, Innova Fund invested $325K to increase its stake in Traklok (Knoxville), doubling-down on its earlier investment in the firm, which was reported in 2010 at $525K. Parent Innova Memphis had explored investment in Traklok prior to the advent of the TNInvestco program, but did not pull the pin on its first investment until it had TnInvestco collateral in its coffers, according to an earlier story in the Knoxville News Sentinel. Traklok was, by some accounts, the first firm to announce TNInvestco investment. Earlier, Nashville-based Angel Capital Group said it had invested in Traklok, but the status of that stake is unknown to VNC.
Limestone Fund, the TNInvestco affiliate of Mountain Group Capital in Nashville, disclosed it invested $250K in American Hometown Media, in a transaction previously noted without details by VNC.
For earlier TNInvestco reports, please Search for fund names using the Search function in the navigation bar at the top of this page. Also, please see our Summer 2011 tally of TNInvestcos' reported transactions. VNC