Joe Hawkins (JD, MBA, CEPA) has over 35 years of experience in investment banking, venture capital, and early-stage businesses in the U.S. and abroad. Joe’s primary focus is advising clients on M&A transactions and capital raising for companies at all stages.

Joe has launched over 20 businesses in the technology, education, manufacturing, and retail sectors. His responsibilities have included overseeing the day-to-day operations of multiple ventures in fields ranging from retail to technology and software.

Most recently, Joe founded and led PlanetHS, LLC, a software company serving high school and middle school athletics nationwide. As CEO, he managed the business model’s transition from a consumer-oriented service supported by ad revenue to one focused on school athletic departments (reaching 2,400 schools) and state associations. PlanetHS provided workflow management and comprehensive compliance tools for state associations, high schools, and middle schools supported by annual fees. PlanetHS merged with a larger company offering complementary software in the same market in 2019.

Joe has also led the commercialization of technologies invented in university laboratories and the National Laboratory system of the Department of Energy.

As a founder of Venture Alliance, LLC, Joe served as managing partner from 1994 to 1999. Venture Alliance was established in 1994 to facilitate the marriage of ideas, capital, and talent to create successful new businesses. Venture Alliance evaluated over 900 new business ideas, pursued over 60 ideas, and launched eight new companies using capital raised from private investors, strategic partners, and institutions. The businesses launched were in the consumer products, service industries, medical devices, and laser technologies fields.

From 1977 to 1989, Joe was Executive Vice President and Treasurer of Benton & Company, a specialty investment banking firm. During this time, he closed tax-exempt and taxable transactions in 39 states. A graduate of the University of Tennessee and the London School of Economics, Joe received his Doctor of Jurisprudence and Master of Business Administration in 1980 and his Bachelor of Science in Accounting in 1977. Joe also has his FINRA Series 63 and Series 79 securities licenses and is a Certified Exit Planning Advisor (CEPA).