|Bioworks, Innova launch Mid-South Angel Network|
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Innova Memphis and the Memphis Bioworks Foundation announced Thursday the launch of the Mid-South Angel Network, which will link investors with promising startup companies.
Matt Kisber, the commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, and Reagan Farr, the commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Revenue, were on hand for the announcement.
Until now, Innova has primarily functioned as a seed fund for startup ventures. Now, it will allow others to co-invest in the ventures it chooses.
The initiative builds on the TNIinvestco program, which was launched earlier this year. The state allowed six chosen TNInvestcos to sell tax credits to insurance companies. The Memphis-based Innova Fund II LP was one of the six chosen. Innova raised in excess of $14 million.
The TNIvestco program is attracting interest from investors who want to buy stock in the companies chosen by the funds.
“This could wind up being a half billion dollars of new venture capital in Tennessee, all said and done, as a result of the TNInvestco program,” Kisber said.
Ken Woody, president of Innova, said the organization has been contacted by out-of-state investors.
“We haven’t seen that before,” Woody said. “It’s what we had hoped and it seems to be working pretty well.”
The Innova Fund II LP has announced one investment decision and is working on three other investments. Knoxville-based TrakLok was its first choice. Traklok’s product appealed to Innova.
The company has developed the GeoLok, a locking system for containers that monitors movement and refuses to open until the containers have arrived at their destination.
Angel investors are high net worth individuals who invest directly into promising businesses in return for stock. Many have business experience and end up serving on company boards.
The Center for Venture Research estimates that angels invested $17.6 billion in more than 57,000 ventures last year, creasing 250,000 jobs. That figure accounts for about 5 percent of total job growth last year.