7 Exits in 7 Months at the Nashville Entrepreneur Center
August 24, 2022 / Share:
Written by: John E. Murdock, exiting President of Nashville Entrepreneur Center
The Big Exit. It certainly is not the only definition for entrepreneurial success but it does represent a, so to speak, final grade for founders. However, exit events can vary greatly, not just in return for investors but the future of the business, its impact on the communities it serves, the future role of the founder, and much more.
At the Entrepreneur Center (EC), we believe a successful exit means the business will have created new value for our community here in Nashville, not just in the wealth the company creates and distributes to the founder and investors. The credit is to the team of employees who work with the founder to build an impactful company and in the value its products or services provide to the greater community.
7 in 7
In just seven months, the EC has seen seven successful exits by founders that utilized our company’s programs and offerings during their entrepreneurial journey. The momentum is palpable and extremely exciting for the EC and the founder community we serve.
This substantial number of exits reflects the growth and increasing maturity of Nashville’s entrepreneur community. From 2010 to 2020, we saw approximately one exit every other year. This number made sense considering the EC was a new organization, working with entrepreneurs in the earliest stages of launching a venture. During this time, the EC was able to point to other clear markers of entrepreneurial success, such as funds raised by founders, new partnerships and customers created by the businesses, and the new jobs and opportunities they were providing to our community. Now, we’re seeing the overall exit numbers culminate to an unprecedented boom with exits occurring at 14x growth with the year far from over.
The EC is gaining a critical mass in terms of its continued growth, the maturity of the business we’re now supporting, and the increasing attention on the terrific Nashville community. The momentum we’re seeing with founders across various industries and sectors is incredibly exciting, and the series of recent exits only validates the approach, programs and expertise the EC has been offering since it was founded over a decade ago.
As a reflection of the Nashville economy, the EC supports a diverse range of industries and businesses. This is evident in the seven businesses involved in the 2022 exit boom:
- Ballparc – Taylor Chapman founded Ballparc in 2012 in an effort to fix the problems he saw with event parking. Taylor went through the EC in 2012 to further refine his products and overall business. Fast forward to one decade later, and Ballparc was acquired in June of 2022 by FLASH, the global leader in cloud parking software and mobility transformation.
- GreenLight Medical – Austin Dirks founded GreenLight Medical in 2016 after identifying a better way for physicians and hospital leaders to make new product decisions. He joined the EC in 2016, going through Project Healthcare in 2017. In March of this year, GreenLight waas acquired by Houston-based Symplr, a leader in enterprise healthcare operations and backed by Clearlake Capital Group.
- Stratasan – Jason Moore was a pioneer when he was the very first founder to join the EC’s first program in 2010 with his healthcare market intelligence and data analytics company, Stratasan. Stratasan’s success was well documented in Nashville with Jason publicly raising more than $25M while winning startup and business of the year awards every year. In July of 2022, Syntellis Performance Solutions, the leading provider of enterprise performance management software, data and intelligence solutions.
- ScalaMed – Tal Rapke founded ScalaMed, a HIPPA-compliant, smart platform that transfers prescriptions directly to patients via a secure mobile app. After participating in Project Healthcare in 2022, Tal’s company was acquired by healthcare giant, Cardinal Health.
- FanFix – Simon Pompan started FanFix in 2021 as a content monetization platform for creators. Simon went through Project Music & Entertainment this year and, on the heels of that experience, his company was acquired by SuperOrdinary, a global growth partner and marketplace expert connecting brands, creators and consumers.
- LabelRadar – Ed Brew founded LabelRadar in 2018 to help streamline the demo submission process that makes it easier for both publishers and labels to ensure artists have their music heard by the right prospective partners. After going through Project Music & Entertainment in 2022, LabelRadar was acquired by online music retailer, BeatPort.
- Piper Key Analytics – Founded by Dan George in 2018, Piper Key is an HR analytics consulting firm that delivers services for companies seeking to optimize their people. Dan went through EC programming in 2021. Then in April of 2022, Piper Key was acquired by Nashville-based JumpCrew, a B2B customer acquisition company.
While the terms of these deals were not disclosed, and each may vary considerably in size, these founders exited knowing they could identify and solve vital problems in their respective industries and communities, resulting in businesses that were considered valuable to others. All indicators are that this momentum will only accelerate over the next ten years.
Over our first ten years, EC companies combined for an average of $31M raised each year. In the last 12 months, the EC’s companies have raised $65M. So even if the economy slows down for a year or two, the overall results will still be unprecedented. With the exit examples of these founders and the lessons we’re able to fuel back into our programming at the EC, the future is exceptionally bright for Nashville’s entrepreneurial community.