published Thursday, November 14th, 2013

The JumpFund to target women-led firms

  • photo
    Kristina Montague, one of the players in a new angel fund, interacts with her table at the Spirit of Innovation awards on Wednesday at the Chattanooga Convention Center in Chattanooga.
    Photo by Maura Friedman /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

A group of Chattanooga female investors are starting up a new angel fund aimed at putting money into women-led companies in the city and the Southeast.

Called The JumpFund, plans are for it to raise $2 million in capital by next spring, said Kristina Montague, the managing partner.

"This is about financial return," she said. "It's not about philanthropy."

Montague said the fund is to invest in 10 to 12 companies with growth potential and hold them for three to five years.

Ventures in technology, consumer goods, and the medical sector are among areas the fund will examine, she said after making the announcement at the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce's Spirit of Innovation awards meeting.

"Eventually, we'd like to see women moving to Chattanooga to invest...with their business" because the resources are here, Montague said.

Fund managers want to mentor the businesswomen and serve on company boards depending on the equity stake, she said.

"We want to be close to them so we can be hands-on," Montague said.

The group said they observed the key players in the city's growing business start-up scene are mostly men.

"Where are the women?" Montague said she and the others asked.

She said the fund will help create a place for women in "the Gig City ecosystem" by linking female investors and entrepreneurs through capital investment.

Portfolio companies will be female led and own a significant percentage of the businesses, according to the fund.

Tiffanie Robinson, a partner, said in a statement it will change the economic landscape and "increase the number of gender-diverse teams in our backyard."

J.Ed. Marston, the Chamber's vice president of marketing, said the fund "gives us a real launch pad." He said it's difficult for companies to bootstrap themselves financially and funds such as the new one provide a powerful way to help the fledgling companies.

"It becomes a new recruiting tool for us," Marston added, noting that companies often follow the investment.

Other fund managers are Cory Allison, Betsy Blunt Brown, Shelley Prevost and Leonora Williamson.

Contact Mike Pare at mpare@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6318.

about Mike Pare...

Mike Pare, the deputy Business editor at the Chattanooga Times Free Press, has worked at the paper for 27 years. In addition to editing, Mike also writes Business stories and covers Volkswagen, economic development and manufacturing in Chattanooga and the surrounding area. In the past he also has covered higher education. Mike, a native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., received a bachelor’s degree in communications from Florida Atlantic University. he worked at the Rome News-Tribune before ...

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