Selecting firms major step in implementing TNInvestco program

Six venture capital firms were named Nov. 5 to participate in TNInvestco, an innovative new program designed to provide investment capital to small, medium and start up businesses in Tennessee.

TNInvestco is the result of enabling legislation sponsored by Sen. Doug Overbey that was approved by the General Assembly this year.

“Selection of the firms is a major step in getting this program up and running,” Overbey said. “I am very optimistic that this legislation will result in the creation of many jobs in Tennessee.”

Each of the six TNInvestco funds will receive an allocation of $20 million dollars in gross premiums tax credits, which will be marketed to insurance companies to create a pool of venture capital funds for investment in early- and mid-stage companies in Tennessee. The goals of TNInvestco as outlined by Revenue Commissioner Reagan Farr and Economic and Community Development Commissioner Matt Kisber are to develop Tennessee’s entrepreneurial infrastructure, to bring additional capital into the state, to diversify the state’s economy and to create “anchors” or “clusters” of business innovation which can result in new companies being created or spun off and new talent being attracted to Tennessee.

The six firms chosen to participate in the program are:

Tennessee Community Ventures Fund, LLC, Nashville, Tennessee.

XMi High Growth Development Fund, LLC, Nashville and Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Limestone Fund, LLC, Nashville, Tennessee.

Tri-Star Technology Fund, LLC, Nashville, Tennessee.

Innova Fund II, LP, Memphis, Tennessee.

Council & Enhanced Tennessee Fund, LLC, Nashville, Tennessee.

Legislation is expected to be introduced next year to expand the program to include additional participants. Farr and Kisber announced the selection of two alternates to the program, Solidus-TNInvestco LLC and the Tennessee Angel Fund, if additional funds become available.

Overbey said that Tennessee is a state of entrepreneurs. “But there is a lack of adequate capital to take those ideas and grow a business,” he said. “TNInvestco will give them that opportunity.”

The funds may begin marketing their allocations and reviewing applications from companies immediately, but the law creating the TNInvestco program specifies allocations will not be received by the venture funds until January 2010. Individual businesses interested in applying for the program may go to www.tninvestco.gov and complete an application form which will be submitted to each of the TNInvestco funds. In addition, businesses applying for the program will receive information about available help through the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development’s Business Enterprise Resource Office for small and disadvantaged businesses and the Tennessee Technology Development Corporation.

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