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KVL's ParOneTV hopes capital raise takes it all way to the Green
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ParOneTV, the emerging Knoxville-based digital-ad offering for the golf industry, hopes that its imminent website launch helps attract investors to its $300K Seed capital round.

Having pressed ahead after his pitch at MediaWorks a month ago, Co-founder and CEO James "J.R." Charles told VTC the ParOneTV.com site will officially launch Monday (Sept. 15). Its mobile app will follow after the first wave of consumer and customer useage illuminates features that are most valuable to users, Charles said.

On the day of the launch, Atlanta-based golf-industry exec Dwight Hansen, who has run golf courses and represent Golf-sector strategics, will put his shoulder to the wheel on sales, for a concerted seaonal push, said Charles.

Charles owns the majority of ParOneTV equity, with Knoxville-based Marty Brown owning the balance. Brown, an executive with Nalco-Champion (EcoLab), put up $100K to Seed the company.

Founder JR Charles

After ParOneTV deeply penetrates the ranks of the 5,000 top U.S. golf-course management companies, it will lash-together its base and begin to operate as an advertising network with a single point of access, and with a real-time ad-bidding system.

The business was created to stream content to ParOneTV customers' on-site video units, via a cloud-based app. Customers include golf-course operators and golf-sector vendors looking for exposure to golfers, course owners and retailers, virtually at point-of-play.

Golf is the first in what Charles views as a series of promising verticals the company will enter. ProGolfTV offers customizeable news, weather, feature and other content, as well as locally customizeable advertising display.

Charles, now 28, continued to confront his entrepreneurial impulses, but it wasn't always easy. Last September, he lost his Dad and big fan, Bob Charles, to cancer after a long illness. After working with his mother and brother to deal with that transition, he returned his focus to business.

The business might not have happened, said Charles, if his wife, Leslie Wilson-Charles, hadn't expressed confidence that he should try entrepreneurship before seeking a dayjob, while she continued her social-work profession.

He credits the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center (KEC) with thrusting him into business fundamentals and network development -- and, pushing him to talk to actual customers. Building such a network had been a low priority after he moved to Knoxville six years ago, to pursue studies at the University of Tennessee and Capella University, earning what turned-out to be a business degree, he said.

The CEO had not played golf until about 18 months ago, he confessed. He got into it after meeting fellow entrepreneur Carl Papa, an avid golfer with his own golf-product innovation, during an Entrepreneurs Organization-Knoxville (EOK) meeting.

"At that point, Carl was the only person I knew in the world who played golf," said Charles. In a gesture many see as characteristic of EO members, Papa introduced Charles to key golf pros in the area and gave him his first set of golf clubs. Before long, Charles discovered that golf-related business could be lucrative, and he began "crawling down that golf hole."

If not retained as cash cows, eventually its individual verticals could be spun-off or exited, probably through sales to strategic buyers, he said.

Logical bidders for ParOneTV, he said, could include golf-content curation companies, such as Golf Channel; retailers such as Golf Galaxy or PGA Tour SuperStore; or, if its mobile-app strategy hits big, perhaps a sale to Google, Apple or others. He said he considers his primary competitors to be ProCastWeather and GolfClubTV.

There are Golf devotees who hold the reins of many large businesses, and it's possible one or more of them could have interest in ParOneTV, he continued. One example: Atlanta Falcons owner and retired co-founder of HomeDepot Arthur Blank controls PGA Tour SuperStore. Superstore is the PGA TOUR's exclusive partner for off-course/off-airport golf retailing, according to its website.

Charles credits numerous other friends and advisors for their support. Among them are KEC CEO Jim Biggs and KEC entrepreneur-in-residence Jonathan Sexton. Also, through the KEC accelerator, ParOneTV has received legal assistance from Culver Schmid of Baker Donelson Caldwell Bearman & Berkowitz.

The CEO also showers plaudits upon Shawn Yeager, Brian Rawlings and Mike Fabio of Back Porch Group; Chuck Morris, Morris Creative Group; Bob Bradley, NewsBreak (Innovative Broadcast Partners); Mike Manning, Strategic Advice; and, Alex Hunt, Dead Horse Lake golf pro. Scott Rouse, a mentor at the Nashville Entrepreneur Center, was a key advisor in shaping his presentation to investors, said Charles.

Charles' father-in-law, Bob Wilson, keeps a watch on things, discussing progress informally a couple times a month. Wilson is Knoxville-based consultant who has previously launched accelerator programs and whose LinkedIn says he's also involved with Chattanooga startup ReadyCart.

After a not-so-fun run with a big-box retailer, Charles operated as Digital Consultants LLC, helping consumers home-install their technology, connect with Cloud applications, and other services.

He noted that some find his direct, energetic style "not all that easy to work with," and joked that his reputation in sales is that of "a guy who, if he doesn't get a restraining order, will get some business." These were traits that apparently emerged from about age 10, when he began making compilation-CDs and selling them to friends for $5 each.

Development of ParOneTV's technology has been led by Franklin-based Keen Technology, the software-development firm that recently sold to one of its major customers, FLO{thinkery}.

Post-sale, Chris Downs, Keen's founder, is listed on his LinkedIn page as both FLO's chief technology officer and as partner in Keen. VTC

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Tags: Arthur Blank, Back Porch Group, Bob Charles, Brian Rawlings, Carl Papa, Chris Downs, Culver Schmid, Dead Horse Lake, Dwight Hansen, EcoLab, Entrepreneurs Organization, FLOThinkery, Golf Channel, Golf Club TV, Golf Galaxy, James "J.R." Moore, Jim Biggs, Jonathan Sexton, KEC, Keen Technology, Knoxville Entrepreneur Center, Leslie Wilson-Charles, Marty Brown, MediaWorks, Mike Fabio, Morris Creative Group, Nalco-Champion, Nashville Entrepreneur Center, NewsBreak, ParOneTV, PGA Tour Superstore, ProCastWeather, Ready Cart, Scott Rouse, Seed stage, Strategic Advice

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