Grady Vanderhoofven has 25 years of experience in company creation and financing. He has co-founded and invested multiple private investment funds, including Meritus Ventures, the first Rural Business Investment Company (RBIC) in the United States, and Southern Appalachian Fund (SAF), a New Markets Venture Capital Company (NMVCC). Together, these funds raised approximately $53 million and invested equity and debt in 16 companies, which attracted almost $300 million of aggregate investment. The companies are located in rural and/or low-income areas throughout central and southern Appalachia and 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.
In 2016, Mr. Vanderhoofven founded Three Roots Capital, which is a 501(c)(3), certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) established to make debt and equity investments in companies in predominantly low-income areas of East Tennessee and the broader Appalachian region. Three Roots Capital has raised more than $100 million to date and has deployed and committed more than $62 million to companies in Tennessee and Kentucky.
In 2019, at the culmination of a multi-year, collaborative effort, Mr. Vanderhoofven and his partners launched the TennesSeed Fund as an evergreen, seed-stage, investment fund focused on proof of concept opportunities in Tennessee-based companies.
Prior to becoming an investor, Grady worked for more than a decade at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, where he participated in the creation of 12 start-up companies based on technology developed at ORNL. He previously served on the Advisory Council of the Yale University 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.