Bullpen Ventures' History
Bullpen Ventures was started in February of 2011 by Stuart McWhorter and John Ingram to help entrepreneurs grow fresh ideas into thriving businesses. Shortly after launching the partnership, Bullpen Ventures was joined by three new investors Steve Turner, Joe Galante, and Mark Montgomery. The purpose of the investment partnership is to turn novel concepts into real business ventures within 90 days. Operating out of the Nashville Entrepreneur Center, Bullpen Ventures gives entrepreneurs who ordinarily might not be able to launch the company they have always dreamed of due to the lack of access to seed capital, the ability to develop a working prototype and an investable story in an environment that is rich with entrepreneurial resources. Thanks to unique skillsets of the investors, Bullpen Ventures also offers entrepreneurs the ability to be mentored by experienced businessmen, who have a wealth of contacts and great institutional knowledge due to their own business success. Additionally, a portion of the proceeds from any successful Bullpen endeavor will go to help sustain the Center, as a way to show its commitment to the Entrepreneur Center.
Influence of Clayton Associates
Although Bullpen Ventures is a new endeavor, the idea was developed nearly 15 years ago with the establishment of Clayton Associates, a holding company known for its venture capital manager, FCA Venture Partners. Clayton Associates’ early focus was to support entrepreneurs through an incubator model called the “Bullpen” that encouraged mentorship, creativity, and sound business principles. Through this model, many successful companies were created, such as LifeTrust America, Harpeth Capital, Censis Technologies, Gordian Health Solutions, and Medical Reimbursements of America. In addition to the “Bullpen” model, Clayton Associates also founded and provided the seed capital of other notable businesses such as Psychiatric Solutions and Iasis Healthcare.
Over time, the success of the “Bullpen” model led to more individuals wanting to invest capital in these early stage companies, which ultimately led to Clayton Associates forming its FCA Venture Partner Funds.
Clayton Associates continues to focus on early and growth stage venture capital investing, but its partners saw a gap in the investment community and a continued need to support entrepreneurs. As a result, Bullpen Ventures was created.