Natalia Pérez, Marketing and Communications Intern
After a tumultuous year, we're all acutely aware of the ways the pandemic has impacted our lives — since we have lived them in real-time — although there are lingering and unanticipated impacts yet to playout. To speak on this, Teknovation.biz, powered by PYA, a Knoxville-based and national professional services company, asked angel and venture investors in East Tennessee to look back on the events of 2020 and look into their crystal ball as it relates to 2021.
This resulted in a multi-part series capturing the thoughts of David Belitz, Charlie Brock and Courtney Watson, Partners, Chattanooga Renaissance Fund (CRF); Eric Dobson, Chief Executive Officer, Sheltowee Angel Network; Tony Lettich, Managing Director, The Angel Roundtable; Kristina Montague, Managing Partner, The JumpFund; Grady Vanderhoofven, Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer, Three Roots Capital; and Ken Woody, President and Partner, Innova Memphis.
The interviews in this series highlight the work of local leaders and investors — work with great potential to help achieve some of the goals of Chattanooga Climbs, a five-year plan to boost jobs.
Each segment of this ten-part series focuses on unpacking an impact of COVID-19 on businesses and firms.
COVID-19 upended lives, took out businesses, and called for new business plans and possibly models. Each of the aforementioned business owners and leaders speaks on how it's specifically impacted their firm and its operations – from greater use of virtual platforms to the other ways they stay abreast of their clients.
When COVID-19 escalated in this country in late March and early April of 2020, Teknovation.biz asked the same interviewees to describe the advice they were offering to their portfolio companies. In this segment, they discuss of that advice has changed in subsequent months, and how.
Interviewees characterize the overall health of the startups served by their funds as a group at the end of 2020 compared to the beginning of 2021. They discuss their biggest challenges and how they have been able to address them.
INVESTOR OUTLOOK PART 4: Availability of angel and venture funding nationally and in the SE and Tennessee
From an investment perspective, interviewees predict the availability of angel or venture capital for the year.
From an investment perspective, interviewees predict availability of follow-on investment capital for their existing portfolio companies.
Biotech/life science companies have captured significant interest in 2020 for obvious reasons. Interviewees discuss whether that sector will continue to be hot in 2021 or if they see it cooling off.
Interviewees discuss the sectors they believe will attract most attention from investors in 2021.
Funds focused on underserved populations seem to be growing. Interviewees discuss whether this trend will continue and how it's impacted their investment strategies.
Interviewees discuss significant initiatives that would impact the investment community at the federal level.
The panel closes out with final thoughts, challenging other investors to continue to look outside of their close networks and collaborate with investors who are leaning into closing these gaps to find new, high potential companies in which to invest, pitch their ideas, build great teams and seize 2021 as an opportunity for innovation.