|Memphis-based Innova will invest in Knoxville cargo tracking company|
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Memphis-based Innova, a pre-seed, seed and early stage investor firm, has made its first venture-funding investment as part of the Tennessee Small Business Company Investment Credit Act (TNInvestco), company leaders said Wednesday.Innova, which funds high-growth startups in fields that include biosciences and technology, will invest in 2-year-old TrakLok Corp. of Knoxville.
Key to the Innova funding was TrakLok's development of GeoLok, a system that monitors cargo containers during transport and that can prevent them from being opened until safe arrival at an intended destination.
Innova's investment will allow TrakLok to expand operations and increase its sales and marketing team.
"We have been watching TrakLok since the Tennessee Innovation Conference was organized in late 2008," said Jan Bouten, partner at Innova.
"The company's portable GeoLok brings an unprecedented level of visibility and security to the logistics industry and can save manufacturers and shipping companies billions per year."
The TNInvestco program, which debuted last year, provides $120 million in gross premium tax credits to insurance companies investing in state-certified companies. In turn, that will create a pool of venture-capital funds targeting early and midstage businesses.
The money is equally divided among six venture-capital firms, or TNInvestco funds, with each receiving $20 million. Innova was the only firm from West Tennessee to be selected for the program.
Established in 2007, Innova is an offshoot of the nonprofit Memphis Bioworks Foundation. It was created with $11.5 million to be paid over five years from the Memphis Fast Forward economic development plan, which is funded by the private and public sectors.
"TNInvestco was created to bring much-needed capital to innovative Tennessee companies, and this is a perfect example of how the program is expected to work," said state Economic and Community Development Commissioner Matt Kisber. "The team at Innova hasn't wasted time putting its funds to good use and our hope is that companies like TrakLok will become long-term generators of good jobs for Tennesseans."
For more information, go online to tnecd.gov.
President: Ken Woody
Address: 20 S. Dudley, Suite 620
Web site: innovamemphis.com