VentureNotes: Tennessee Venture Council moving to starting-blocks?
By Milt Capps updated 12:30 p.m.
According to a new website that purports to represent the group, the statewide association aims "to foster greater understanding of the importance of venture capital to the Tennessee economy, and support entrepreneurial activity and innovation. The TNVC promotes the public policy interests of the venture capital community, strives to maintain high professional standards, provides reliable industry data, sponsors professional development, and facilitates interaction among its members."
The group is developing an economic impact report on the importance of venture capital in Tennessee; plans to establish "deeper relationships" with state legislators; and, plans to establish industry standards for VC activity, while working to foster integrity within the sector, according to its website.
Formally registered with the state earlier this year, the Council has, according to several sources, been propelled thus far by Stuart McWhorter, co-founder of Clayton Associates, Bullpen Ventures, Medical Reimbursements of America and other ventures, all based in the Nashville area.
Preliminary work on the Council was largely shouldered by now-30-year-old Landon Gibbs, a seemingly all-purpose aide to McWhorter and his father, Clayton, the former HCA president who is also co-founder of Clayton Associates. Gibbs is identified on his Linkedin page only as director of healthcare initiatives for Clayton Associates. He has, however, played key support roles with respect to the McWhorters' involvement in both the Nashville Entrepreneur Center and Bullpen Ventures.
There has been no word from the Council's founders regarding its legislative agenda, if any. Council representatives have not yet responded to a VNC query placed shortly before deadline. This story will be updated, as warranted.
Seemingly relevant issues that have long simmered in the state's venture community include TNInvestco (the program's current criteria and execution, as well as prospects for further rounds), taxes (perhaps dovetailing with congressional action on carried interest), capital formation, opportunity to participate in the alternative investments program of the Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System (TCRS), et cetera, but there's been no overt signal regarding an actual agenda.
The Council's website bears a notice indicating that the site was designed by Suineg Consulting, an entity founded by businessman William Griggs (theStartupSlingshot, GiveYear and other undertakings).
The Suineg site says that Clayton Associates' Andrew Bouldin is a consultant to Suineg. Yes, Suineg is "genius," spelled backward. VNC