VenturePeople: Rick Oliver, Jay Frank, Jason Dinger, Jeff Nahley
By Milt Capps Updated Oct. 10, 2011
Today: Dinger of MissionPoint, Jay Frank, Nahley of IB Signal Hill, Rick Oliver of American Sentinel
JASON DINGER, the 37-year-old CEO of St. Thomas Health Services' new MissionPoint Health Partners division, says the venture could reasonably be viewed as the engine of an accountable care organization (ACO). MissionPoint will be rolling-out here January 21, 2012, initially serving mainly STHS's own employees; but, it could well be marketed regionally or nationally in subsequent months and years, as the service follows employers to their operating sites outside Middle Tennessee, Dinger acknowledged. "We are not a geographically biased company," Dinger said. He declined to say how much STHS has invested in MissionPoint thus far, and couldn't be drawn into discussion of taking outside capital, once the venture gets traction. Medicare will be the driver, at least initially, as MissionPoint works to address holistically the medical and related social needs of those it serves among the Medicare and Medicaid eligible, the self-insured and commercially insured, and the uninsured. Partners thus far include Cisco Systems, Crimson Services (The Advisory Board Co., continuum of care focus), YMCA of Middle Tennessee and Robert Chamberlain's Nashville-based Applied Health Analytics. Although MissionPoint will be entering the population health-management sphere, Dinger said Healthways and others are as likely to prove to be partners as competitors. Among numerous earlier roles Dinger was VP leading STHS Ventures, which helps early-stage companies; he was also one of the founders of Weberize, arguably Nashville's first web-services company. He's a Vanderbilt University graduate and former Ingram Scholar. STHS is owned by the Ascension Health healthcare group. (STHS has reserved a related MissionPoint "LLC" name with the state, according to the Secretary of State's online directory.)
JAY FRANK, 39, is trying, at least casually, to keep his digital-music startup secret. In three days, successor Leslie Fram begins work in his old job, SVP-Music Strategy at Country Music Television. It may be 6:15 p.m. Central Time, Friday, October 7th, before we hear what he'll be focusing-on next. [Updated: Here's Frank's new DigSin site.] That's when he joins Eric Garland, CEO of BigChampagne Media Measurement, for a 15-minute spotlight chat on "what the future holds for the artist, music, technology and the business as a whole," during Digital Music Forum: West, in Los Angeles. Frank has been sharing intel on the business model for his first entrepreneurial venture, but asking folks to keep it quiet til he pushes away cleanly from CMT. It may or may not be an entirely new model, but it does seem to involve a new wrinkle, putting the "long tail" in fresh perspective. Frank told VNC he realizes he needs to demonstrate traction in his new business before considering seeking outside investment. He'll also publish another book in January. (His previous: FutureHitDNA ) Frank, no stranger to the Left Coast, insists he'll remain based in Nashville. He spent the past four years at CMT, preceded by more than seven years as Yahoo! Music's VP-programming and label relations. Prior to that he was with Ignition Inc., a then-New England (now, Atlanta-) based brand-management firm, among others. (BTW: Fram was program director at NYC's WRXP (Rock!), which when went off the air in July. She told MediaBistro's FishbowlNY she was "looking for my next adventure." Fram, a member of the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame for her earlier work with Atlanta's 99X, reportedly referred on Facebook to Nashville being "one of the greatest city's in the world.")
RICK OLIVER, the Nashville-resident founder/CEO of accredited online learning institution American Sentinel University (headquarters: Aurora, Colo.), makes clear a lot has changed since VNC's 2008 report on his then early-stage company. Today, private equity firm JLL Partners owns 51 percent of the company, which has dramatically broadened its healthcare (rampant growth in nursing enrolment, Oliver says), technology (including IS, GIS, security, other) and business offerings at virtually every postsecondary level. About $18MM has been invested in the company, which generates revenue "north of $10 million" yearly and has about 60 employees, said Oliver. Oliver, 65, created American Sentinel by melding three firms, one being American Graduate School of Management (American Learning Solutions), which he had founded in June 2000 in Nashville. One news report on JLL's 2010 investment of $9MM in ASU pointed-out the firm had been launched as a "Vanderbilt University Technology Company" and ASU is listed on the Vanderbilt OTTED portfolio page. Oliver was advised in the JLL transaction by Capstone (Partners) Capital Markets. He is a member of the board of directors of Symmetricom (NASDAQ:SYMM, $235MM market cap), a precision time-keeping technologies provider (with strong GPS expertise). Oliver is a former faculty member of Vanderbilt University's Owen Graduate School of Management. Before his academic career, Oliver spent 20 years with Nortel, serving ultimately as VP-marketing. He holds a Ph.D. in Informatics from SUNY; a bachelor's in economics from Cornell University; and, a master's in communications from U. Delaware, according to his bio.
JEFF NAHLEY, 47, is a longtime Nashville resident, as well as Baltimore-based Signal Hill's pointman in Nashville, where the focus is on doing healthcare transactions, especially mergers and acquisitions, he told VNC. Signal Hill earlier this month exited the capital-market sector, announcing it would focus on investment banking advisory and private-capital advisory services. Most of the firm's markets staff joined Memphis-based Wunderlich Securities. Nine-year-old Signal Hill's Nashville office on Commerce Street has three bankers aboard including Nahley; they're part of a 50-person IB team in a firm of about 65 total employees, Nahley told VNC. M&A Associate Travis Messina (an Owen GSM alum) and analyst Miguel Alvarez work alongside Nahley here. The Nashville team expects to spend about 80 percent of its time on healthcare work, he said. The firm's previously announced work has supported Infrastructure Corporation of America; Signal Hill was also deeply involved in Brentwood-based American Service Group's recent merger with Valitas Health Services (Correctional Medical Services), a $200MM deal. Nahley was a co-founder of Avondale Partners in 1999, and ran the firm's investment banking unit. Earlier, he worked with ING Barings, Equitable Securities and Bankers Trust, where he worked alongside Signal Hill co-founder Scott Wieler. He earned his MBA at Columbia University and his bachelor's at Middlebury College. VNC