ETEC Meeting: Grady Vanderhoofven, Three Roots Capital
February 2 @ 7:30 am - 8:30 am EST
Beginning in 2001, Grady Vanderhoofven has co-founded and invested multiple private equity funds. Meritus Ventures was established as the first Rural Business Investment Company (RBIC) in the United States, and Southern Appalachian Fund (SAF) was formed as a New Markets Venture Capital Company (NMVCC). Together, these funds raised approximately $50 million and invested in sixteen (16) start-up and growth-stage companies, which in turn attracted more than $200 million of investment from co-investors. The funds invested in companies located in rural and/or low-income areas throughout the southeast and mid-south regions of the United States, and those companies have created more than 400 jobs to date. In addition to the capital directly invested by Meritus and SAF, the funds provided more than $4 million of technical and operational assistance to portfolio companies, either directly or through service providers engaged specifically to support the companies.
Beginning in late 2015, Mr. Vanderhoofven led an effort to create the TennesSeed Fund as an evergreen, seed-stage, investment fund focused on proof of concept investments in Tennesseebased companies. In 2016, he formed Three Roots Capital, which is a 501(c)(3), certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI). 3Roots was established to make debt and equity investments in companies located in predominantly low-income areas of East Tennessee and the broader Appalachian region. Three Roots Capital has raised more than $50 million to date and has committed more than $15 million to companies in Tennessee and Kentucky.
Prior to becoming an investor, Mr. Vanderhoofven worked for more than a decade at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), initially as a materials engineer and ultimately in intellectual property management and technology commercialization. While at ORNL, he participated in the creation of twelve start-up companies based on intellectual property developed at ORNL.
Mr. Vanderhoofven previously served on the Advisory Council for the Yale School of Engineering and Applied Science. He received a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Yale University and has completed an Executive Education Program in private equity and corporate governance at Harvard Business School.