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April 14th, 2014

April 14th, 2014

Tennessee Innovation in the News

Tennessean: Charlie Brock: Startups compete for $100K at Southland
One of the best new opportunities for startup companies in the country, not to mention the Southeast, is fast approaching. It’s a chance to win a $100,000 investment in your business by making the winning pitch to a panel of investors and entrepreneurs at this year’s Southland conference — the Southeast’s premier conference dedicated to technology, entrepreneurship and Southern culture. Slated for June 9-11 in Nashville at Marathon Music Works, 1402 Clinton St., the second annual Southland conference promises to beat last year’s highly successful inaugural event…But the real stars of the show are the 10 startups that will make their pitch to Southland’s panel of investors. This year, we have elevated the pitch competition by increasing the prize package and expanding the contest beyond the Southeast. So if you are the founder of a startup or early-stage company (and haven’t raised more than $1.5 million) and you haven’t yet applied to Southland, please do so. It is on its way to becoming the top tech conference in the Southeast.

PandoDaily: Hackeroo! We’re partnering with Bonnaroo for a Southland Hackathon
We are less than 60 days from Southland and we have a ton of exciting news to share this week. We’ve already announced our partnership with Bonnaroo’s producers for Southland’s music programming, but today we’re announcing another aspect of that partnership: we’re joining forces to produce Hackeroo, a very special, and very cool, hackathon at the event. Hackeroo runs from May 10th at 9 a.m. through Sunday, May 11th in Nashville, TN. The hackathon’s focus will be on technology that enhances the experience of live events (like Bonnaroo). To that end, not only will the winners get to attend Bonnaroo as VIP guests, but they’ll also be able to debut their technology to the festival’s 80,000 attendees.

WBIR: Knoxville brothers create fan-friendly app
Video: Knoxville brothers, and UT grads, Ryan and Patrick Kelly, created iSpotlight, a user-friendly app that lets you follow your favorite teams, players and events all on one screen.

Nashville Business Journal: Vanderbilt launching $50M academic venture fund
Vanderbilt University is preparing a new $50 million academic venture capital fund to increase collaboration on its campus. Nashville Post reports that it would be the second such fund for Vanderbilt, which launched a $100 million fund about 12 years ago. That fund helped create several new institutes that brought together different schools and colleges at the campus.

Tennessean: $200 million later, was TNInvestco worth the risk?
Change Healthcare is one of 157 companies that have received funding from TNInvestco, now in its fifth year. More than 80 percent of the funds raised through $200 million in tax credits has been allocated, and investors say that while it’s too early to measure the program’s overall effectiveness, signs of success are abundant. They point to the role the program has played in building the entrepreneurial ecosystem, the ability for TNInvestco companies to lure employees from outside Tennessee and the amount of funding the companies have been able to attract from private investors after receiving TNInvestco capital. “It’s energized the venture capital community in this state and facilitated the building of a network of relationships within the state and outside the state,” said Townes Duncan, managing partner of Nashville investment firm Solidus Co. As of 2013, 10 TNInvestco funds have allocated $111.2 million to Tennessee companies, which have received about $191 million in “follow-on” dollars, or additional, private investment, according to the funds. As of 2012, TNInvestco companies were supporting 577 new jobs, the majority in Tennessee, and nearly 1,400 jobs in full.

National Innovation in the News

Kauffman Foundation: The Dos and Don’ts of Local Entrepreneurship Promotion
Small businesses and large companies are vital economic players. But the principal sources of innovation and job creation are new, young, and growing companies. Entrepreneurs and the companies they start are responsible for nearly all of the net new job creation in the U.S. economy. Research suggests that policymakers seeking to promote entrepreneurship in their city or state turn from past strategies and embrace a new approach that puts entrepreneurs at the center.

Forbes: Repeatable Process: The Phrase Every Entrepreneur Should Learn To Love
The core of my business is creativity. My team and I are constantly planning new content and creating it. But if we want to help our customers, we certainly can’t just wait for creativity to strike. The reason we’re able to be so creative because we’ve developed processes that we can follow, day in and day out. Our creativity is tied to repetition. If we had to start from scratch, we’d probably be lost…When you’re a small business owner, you feel like you’re always flying by the seat of your pants. Every day brings its own special crisis. But the only way to move from small business owner to big business owner is to create repeatable processes that allow you to delegate and focus on doing the work that only you can do.

Entrepreneur: 4 Ways to Dominate a Pitch Competition
Pitch slams aren’t just about cash and credibility, says Kumra, who now chairs the Southern California nonprofit Tech Coast Venture Network, which runs an annual $25,000 pitch contest. Win or lose, entering a contest is a clever way to meet investors and industry bigwigs with whom you couldn’t rub elbows otherwise. To ensure that your pitch soars, you’ll need to research the judges ahead of time, practice incessantly and incorporate feedback from colleagues. But there are some other tips, too. ‘Treps who’ve won or run pitch competitions offer a few suggestions.


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