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VenturePeople, January 23, 2012
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William Griggs of Startup Slingshot
Alex Tolbert of Bernard Health
David Box of Trinisys
William Paddock of WAP Sustainability

William Griggs

WILLIAM GRIGGS, 26, does not claim to know where his efforts will ultimately take him, but he's clearly adding value, having fun and learning while creating an enviable personal network. His former nonprofit GiveYear social venture, his more recent Suineg Consulting marketing practice and his Startup Slingshot video emporium for entrepreneurs have allowed him to ramp-up his business consulting for clients on digital strategy, web-development and search-engine optimization, while amassing more of the entrepreneurial knowledge and personal contacts he knows he needs for the long haul, he explained to VNC. Native Nashvillian Griggs, a prolific pod- and webcaster, believes there's a business to be had in delivering the services, knowledge and encouragement

entrepreneurs need to make the leap into business and to then succeed. Tasha Ross of Fiddlecakes is Griggs' most recent interview, and Griggs' 50-plus archive includes Moontoast's Marcus Whitney and many others. (VNC signed-up yesterday for the interview series and received a link to Griggs interview with Stephen Shapiro, an innovation consultant.) Griggs speaks of his earlier GiveYear social venture as history, but GiveYear's charter remains active with the state, according to online information. GiveYear was conceived to support newly graduated students in finding a worthy cause to which they could donate the first year of their careers after graduation. The idea has apparently been shelved, for now. Meanwhile, Griggs-the-message-strategist recently posted a new city-boosting campaign logo and a slogan -- Built in Nashville -- that he proposes as the emblem of a movement to raise awareness of Nashville as an entrepreneurial hotspot. The logo was created by Hunter Mize (a digital-marketing associate at Digomé), Mize confirmed for VNC yesterday. Earlier, Griggs told VNC that designer Lindsey Thompson has also provided design services for his site. Griggs also published a list of 23 entrepreneurs he's targeting for video interviews in 2012, and asks that readers help him reach these folks. TO TOP

Alex Tolbert

ALEX TOLBERT, 31, says Bernard Health has passed the $1MM revenue mark and is cashflow positive in its insurance-advisory services for individuals and employers. Tolbert and his brother, Brian, are 50:50 owners of the Nashville-based firm with his brother Brian. The firm counsels employers on benefits choices and on employee usage of benefits; and, it helps individual consumers with Medicare choices, health savings accounts, COBRA and other matters of increasing importance in the complex world of healthcare coverage. The firm is five years old, with staff of 16 and plans to replicate its Nashville (Thompson Lane) retail storefront in at least Indianapolis (2012) and Louisville (future). The business is analogous in some ways to H&R Block, Jackson Hewitt, CarMax and Starbucks, he said. It is likely to draw increasing revenue via its online presence, but plans to maintain a mix of personal contact and tech-based services. With that in mind, Bernard Health will soon make its first inhouse tech hire, said Tolbert. The Tolberts have no immediate plans to recruit outside capital. The goal? Nothing less than becoming "the world's most trusted advisor when it comes to helping people plan how to pay for expected and for unexpected healthcare expenses," said Tolbert. Alex Tolbert earned his MBA at Vanderbilt's Owen Graduate School of Management, and his JD at Vanderbilt Law. His undergrad days were at the University of Pennsylvania (double major, BS/BA in international studies and in business/finance). TO TOP

David Box

DAVID BOX, age 35, says his Trinisys LLC, the Brentwood-based data-capture and -integration solutions provider, may reach the $5MM annual revenue point in 2012, up from $2.6m in 2010. Box and co-founder Travis Gregg, age 34, have 18 FTE's in addition to themselves, Box said. The company's legal counsel is Chris Sloan at Baker Donelson Bearman Caldwell & Berkowitz and it banks with Regions, said Box. Plans call for bootstrapping, rather than accepting outside capital, in keeping with their belief in the importance of "sustainable" business practices, Box explained. Prior to founding Trinisys in 2004, both Box and Gregg were programmer/analysts with CNA. Box earned his bachelor's in computer science at Middle Tennessee State University. Trinisyn ranked 340 on the INC 500 list for 2011, with a 3-year growth rate of nearly 1,000%. TO TOP

William Paddock

WILLIAM PADDOCK, 28, founder and managing director of WAP Sustainability, recently told VNC that revenue within his Nashville-based company, which provides "managed sustainability" programs and services to a wide arrange of organizations, is at a $500K annualized runrate, with 2012 bookings looking strong. WAP has 4 FTE's, plus some contractors and consultant-partners. The company is likely to plateau deliberately somewhere in the $5MM-$15MM revenue range, in the interest of quality of services rendered, he said. It could have $15MM revenue and up to 25 FTE's by the end of 2016, Paddock said. It may buy other practices or firms, selectively; one such small opportunistic buy was recently explored, but it a deal did not result; still, WAP remains open to such transactions, said Paddock. Meanwhile, the company has no plans to take outside capital or to sell, he said. A native of Dayton, Ohio, Paddock earned his master's within Lipscomb University's Institute for Sustainable Practice; and, he earned a B.S. in environmental science at the University of Alabama. WAP won the 2011 NEXT Award for growth companies in the sustainability sector. Other NEXT winners in the sustainability category were (n)Habit, LightwaveSolar and Earl Swensson Architects. In 2011, WAP was granted membership in the Entrepreneurs Organization (EO) Catalyst program, which aims to help companies reach a minimum $1MM in revenue. WAP was selected for the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce Future 50. VNC Return to Top

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Tags: Bernard Health, bootstrap, Digome, entrepreneurs, GiveYear, Hunter Mize, innovation, Lindsey Thompson, Marcus Whitney, Startup Slingshot, Stephen Shapiro, Suineg, Tasha Ross, Trinisys, Venture Notes, Venture People, WAP Sustainability, William Griggs, William Paddock

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