LiveSchool is an education technology company that allows teachers to track classroom behavior, communicate with parents, and manage rewards and incentives through a user-friendly web-based application. LiveSchool’s founder and CEO, Matt Rubinstein, is a passionate educator who founded the company while working as a teaching fellow at KIPP Academy Nashville.
LiveSchool initially connected with NCN by submitting a company overview through NCN’s online submission form in the fall of 2011. While the opportunity was not a fit for NCN’s partners at that time, NCN provided feedback on the business plan and suggestions for alternative means of financing. Matt and his team continued to build the business while taking NCN’s feedback into consideration. In 2012, LiveSchool contacted NCN again after having made significant progress in both product development and customer acquisition. At that point, LiveSchool had signed approximately 40 schools as customers and was looking for capital to accelerate its growth and add new features.
LiveSchool’s unique solution and the team’s ability to achieve early traction caught the attention of two angel investors with experience in the education industry. One of NCN’s co-investment funds, the Tennessee Angel Fund, also became interested and collaborated with the angel investors to run a formal and thorough investment process. The group leveraged the industry knowledge and contacts of the two lead angels while NCN provided support in structuring, negotiating, and executing the transaction. As the deal came together, NCN arranged for LiveSchool to present the opportunity to the entire NCN Angel Group. This meeting led to multiple new angels with connections in the education space becoming involved. In the end, LiveSchool raised a $1.65 million Series A round from a varied and strategic group of angel investors and the Tennessee Angel Fund.
Since closing its Series A round, LiveSchool has been busy improving its product features and infrastructure. LiveSchool is also having success leveraging its investor group to accelerate business development and forge new partnerships.
Shareable Ink provides a digital pen and paper technology that enables healthcare platforms to capture, report, and act upon electronic health information without changing clinical or back-office workflow. The company was founded by Stephen Hau, an MIT graduate and founder of the healthcare IT company Patient Keeper.
Shareable Ink was introduced to NCN by one of the company?s early angel investors, who is a member of NCN?s Angel Group. Shareable Ink expressed an interest in meeting Nashville-based investors who could bring healthcare expertise and relationships to its board of directors. NCN introduced Shareable Ink to notable healthcare investors including Heritage Group and The Martin Companies who saw promise in the company and joined in the evaluation and oversight of the opportunity.
After introducing Shareable Ink to the abundant healthcare resources in Nashville, NCN and the other Nashville investors were able to convince Shareable Ink to move the company?s headquarters to Nashville.
NCN worked with the investors to negotiate investment terms that would attract the proposed the $4.2 million Series A funding. NCN received a high level of interest from its Angel Group and was successful in raising enough money to complete an even larger raise at just under $4.6 million. The investor group included healthcare angels, NCN Angel Fund, and the TNInvestco Tennessee Angel Fund.
Shareable Ink closed its Series A funding in November of 2010 and has since been evolving its product suite and adding customers at an impressive pace.
Inova Payroll is a cutting-edge payroll and HR services firm founded in May 2011 by payroll industry veteran Farsheed Ferdowsi. Inova was brought to the attention of NCN in the summer of 2011 by an NCN Angel Group member who had participated in the company’s seed financing.
NCN worked together with its network of angel investors and advisors to evaluate Inova as an investment opportunity. Ultimately, its NCN Angel Fund and Tennessee Angel Fund joined the Chattanooga Renaissance Fund and other existing investors in completing a $4.2 million Series A round. Post-funding, Inova has continued to leverage NCN’s relationships to find business leads and to develop new opportunities as it expands across Middle Tennessee and beyond.
In late 2011, Inova was introduced to an attractive acquisition candidate by an NCN partner in Chattanooga. Inova leveraged NCN’s network to raise a $3.5 million Series B round, which included both new and existing NCN Angel Group members.
With the acquisition completed in May 2012, Inova retained 7 jobs in Knoxville and 17 jobs in Chattanooga. Today, Inova stands as the largest Tennessee-based payroll services provider with 41 employees in the state of Tennessee. The company is poised to continue upon its trajectory of rapid growth and to expand its presence in Knoxville along with its other Tennessee markets.
In Inova’s first year of operation, NCN’s statewide network has helped the company raise capital, facilitate a game-changing acquisition, and make valuable introductions to new customers.