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Venture Notes - March 27, 2024
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  • Judith Byrd to be GNVCA chief
  • Whistler Capital Partners' new raise
  • Ricketts' Agyle AI at work on Seed raise - updated
  • Shannon Terry's On3 funds growth
  • Sifford's Lasso advances capraise
  • Jumpstart Foundry's deadline
  • HeroWear's latest market move
  • Nashville Capital Network update
  • Kirkwood's Ten31 investment startup
  • Not invented here: Quanthub

GNVCA's Judith Byrd

GREATER NASHVILLE Venture Capital Association (GNVCA) said today that Judith Byrd, currently director of community and government relations for Ardent Health Services, will, effective April 8, become the first executive director of the nonprofit organization. Earlier VNC coverage of GNVCA here. Byrd's LinkedIn here. Today's press release here.

Whistler Capital Partners-affiliated issuer WCP RP Holdco II reported raising $50.25MM from 14 investors. VNC research suggests the raise is associated with investment holdings related to its WCP portfolio company Radiology Partners, based in El Segundo. Named on the filing is the firm's general counsel and chief compliance officer Michael Mueller.

Jon Ricketts

NASHVILLE-based CEO JON RICKETTS, 43, recently announced rebranding of his company to AGYL AI Inc. (fka as Writerly Technologies Inc.) for pursuit of novel software solutions. He seems ontrack to soon hit $3MM or more in since inception, and the company's organization into AGYL, EKOM and Writerly buckets could produce proprietary offerings, software-lab partnerships and more. His latest SEC filing was signed by Chattanooga attorney Shayn Fernandez, and showed one outside investor and $250K in, at that point. UPDATED: 3 May 2024 - The latest filing updated to $1.27MM via options. Filings here. Rickets and his wife have four children. Agyl's office is in Nashville's Gulch area. FTE: 9.

Shannon Terry

SERIAL SUCCESSFUL SPORTS content entrepreneur Shannon Terry of Brentwood launched On3sports back in August 2021, making Kentucky Sports Radio its first acquisition for On3, which has been described as a college sports and recruiting digital media company. In January this year, Terry's On3 filed on a roughly $5MM equity raise. Earlier this month, Altitude On3 SPV-3 LLC filed for a targeted $10MM raise, submitted by Landon Gibbs, who is president of SPV-3's manager, McWhorter Ventures LLC (as well as managing partner of closely aligned Altitude Ventures). In July 2022, Gibbs submitted a similarly sized SPV here and in 1Q 2023 a $3.5MM SPV-2. VNC understands that Gibbs has in recent years doubled-in-brass, managing both Altitude and McWhorter Ventures after founder Stuart McWhorter stepped-away in 2018 to serve as Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee's Cabinet-level commissioner of economic and community development, a role in which he continues to serve. McWhorter several years ago stepped away from running Clayton Associates, one of this region's first VC firms, which he founded with his father, Clayton McWhorter, since deceased. McWhorter's website for his D17 portfolio is here. As explained on On3's website, Terry gained renown during the past quarter-century as serial founder and successful exiter with Rivals.com (exit to Yahoo!), 247sports (to CBS Sports) and Comicbook.com (to CBS Interactive) and now founder and CEO of On3. His LinkedIn profile lists still more interests. Earlier coverage of Shannon Terry | Landon Gibbs | Stuart McWhorter | Altitude Ventures | Clayton Associates. (Note: Gibbs has recently made similar SPV filings for affiliates of Altitude and McWhorter Ventures in support of portfolio company 7 Springs Orthopedics dba Sport Ortho Clinics.)

Clay Sifford

LASSO SOFTWARE Inc., the 10-year-old Nashville early-grorwth company led by Founder, Chairman and CEO Clay Sifford, 53, offers a multi-functional management platform for live-event operators. Yesterday, Sifford reported the company's latest raise has thus far netted north of $4.8MM from three investors, against a stated $6MM target. VNC estimates the company's equity or debt financings since inception in 2014 likely total north of $35MM. The company has made six Form D filings in the past three years. Prior to that series of raises, as VNC reported in 2017, the company had previously made Angel and Seed capital raises, and in 2016 Sifford reportedly sold some Nashville real estate he owned for about $3MM more than he paid for it. The team includes Angela Alea as CRO, president and director. Matthew Breunsbach of Omaha-based PE firm McCarthy Capital, which deems Lasso an emerging growth company, is among Lasso board members. (The McCarthy firm's website says it makes Emerging Growth investments of $5MM-$15MM.) Other investors over the years have included Teamworthy Group (Greenwich) and Collective Capital Ventures (Opelika, Ala.). The company's CTO is Michael Wright; and its comptroller is Michael Comolli. This week's Lasso filing comes close-on-the-heels of Lasso's announcement two months that it had hired five new executives: Julie Edwards (Vice President of Customer Success); Christy Petrosso (Sr. Vice President of Product and Data); Danielle Porter-Condon (Vice President of Marketing); Kevin Wilson (Vice President of Technical Operations); and Anthony Zhang (Vice President of Sales). Further Lasso hiring underway here. Beyond Nashville, Lasso operating locations are Atlanta, Las Vegas, and Charleston, S.C. See our indepth 2017 story here and other Lasso notes here. Lasso was fka Lasso LLC and 4C Talent LLC.

JUMPSTART Health Investors' sub Jumpstart Foundry now has quarterly, rather than biennial, cohort applications deadlines for innovative healthcare startup founders -- and the next deadline for application for consideration is April 5, 2024 at 11:59PM CDST. JS portfolio here. Founder app page here. The release here. Here's a batch of VNC's Jumpstart-related coverage since 2010.

HEROWEAR filed earlier this month for its latest in series of financings, citing a $3MM target for debt/SAFE commitments. It makes exoskeletons and pliable exosuits for use in military and industrial settings. VNC coverage of HeroWear since 2018 and of its serial entrepreneur Mark Harris since 2009.

NASHVILLE Capital Network participated in a $10MM Series B follow-on round for Alpharetta-based ModifyHealth Inc. led by RC Capital (Cincinnati, Raleigh). Previous VNC Notes on Modify and on NCN. NCN Managing Partner Chase Perry has served on the ModifyHealth board. VNC's NCN coverage since 2008.

Jonathan Kirkwood

NASHVILLE-based Jonathan Kirkwood MD MBA yesterday reported pooled-investment fund Ten31 Pawn to F4 LLC raised $16MM from 19 investors, with hard cap apparently TBA. Earlier this year, Ten31 announced a Nasdaq listing for its portfolio company, GRIID Infrastructure, a BTC mining venture led by Trey Kelly. According to his website, "Ten31 invests in and partners with next generation companies building foundational technologies for the financial and informational infrastructure of the future. Our industry-leading portfolio sits at the intersection of generational secular tailwinds: the continued adoption of bitcoin and its enabling technologies (including trading, payments, custody, security, and computing infrastructure); the proliferation and virality of open source software; the rapid advancements in artificial intelligence technology, which will unlock unprecedented improvements in productivity and progressively converge with bitcoin over time; and the development of new communications and media applications catalyzed by the nostr ecosystem." VNC notes that Nostr adherents says the open protocol "enables a truly censorship-resistant and global social network. The Ten31 profile on LinkedIn asserts, "Ten31 is the leading investment platform dedicated to partnering with companies building infrastructure and technology in the bitcoin ecosystem. With a footprint in New York, Austin, and Nashville, Ten31 seeks to support the ecosystem's most promising founders and companies, leveraging its deep understanding of bitcoin, its extensive experience, and an unparalleled network and broad reach to create value for its partners. Since the fund's inception, Ten31 has directed more than $100 million in equity to companies building on Bitcoin and the Lightning Network." Two years ago, Nashville-based Bitcoin Magazine (BTC Media) reported on Ten31 plans, noting Ten31's ties with Seetee. (BTC Media plans to hold its very large BTC 2024 conference at Music City Center, July 25-27.)

UPSKILLING: Given most states' interest in enhancing their workforces, this seems timely: Joshua Jones MBA, former CEO of Alabama Capital Network in Birmingham, seems to be doubling-down on his six-year-old QuantHub venture, which provides employers an "AI-driven tech screening and skill development platform for data scientists and engineers." The company's SEC reports reflect $5MM+ in capital sought, as of its filing March 25.

See all Venture Nashville coverage, in reverse chronological order, since 2009, by clicking here. VNC



. last updated 3 May 2024 1220 CDST

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