Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Avondale keeps eye on local entrepreneurs

Nashville-based Avondale Partners completed more than $4.5 billion in investment-banking transactions and assignments during the past two years, reflecting six consecutive years of rising performance in the firm's investment-banking unit, across a variety of M&A, private placement, debt and other deals. They're focused on larger enterprises, but don't think they don't keep an eye on the venture sector. This morning, Pat Shepherd (at left), Avondale's senior managing partner, general counsel and chief administrative officer, told me that while "venture-stage companies just aren't our bailwick...all the companies we work with were at one time venture-stage, startup-stage companies." He added, "I think it's the sort of thing that is critical to a local economy -- that there be a kind of vibrant level of entrepreneurism. We see that in the healthcare area." He said he believes that "the more venture-stage activity you have, long term," the more vibrant Nashville's economy will be. Avondale, of course, routinely travels to visit the big institutional money. The firm will soon conduct conferences for institutional investors in New York City, covering consumer and leisure companies; and, privatization and corrections opportunities. Avondale is also considering replicating here in Nashville an institutional investors conference focusing on the healthcare sector. They've done it here before, because of Nashville's healthcare base. The company also periodically brings in institutional investors for a conference featuring chain restaurant models, partly because Nashville is so well populated with those.

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