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April 16th, 2015

April 16th, 2015

TENNESSEE INNOVATION IN THE NEWS

AgSmarts Eyes Series A Raise as ‘Precision Agriculture’ Interest Grows
Venture Tennessee Connections
Brett Norman, the farm-bred founder-CEO of AgSmarts in Memphis, thinks conditions may be right for a $2MM-$5MM Series A raise this fall. Norman, 39, told Venture Tennessee he senses a sharp rise in investor interest in data-driven precision agriculture, generally, and particularly for AgSmarts’ type of intelligent irrigation systems technologies. “Six months ago, this was not the case, at all,” he said, but now in the U.S. “the Ag space is looking for any and all solutions they can find to address the economic and environmental issues that they face; and, I think that is slowly filtering back to the VC world. VC’s know that capital needs to be deployed to meet the needs of the market.”

Hub for Chattanooga’s Innovation District Will Take Time to Develop
Chattanooga Times Free Press 
The first midsized city to have an Innovation District will wait a little longer to see it come to fruition. A private developer had been expected to own the district’s hub, the Edney Building, by late February, but negotiations are still underway. “We are finalizing those now,” said Ken Hays, president of the Enterprise Center, the nonprofit organization that Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke charged with spearheading the project a year ago. Hays on Wednesday said he hopes to “announce details” of the deal in the next several weeks.

Hate Joe Buck? Can’t Stand Dick Vitale? This Nashville Startup Wants to Help
Nashville Business Journal
Ryan Tyrrell and Glenn Hopper are huge fans of local sports. They’re less passionate about national announcers. So the pair have founded Rabble.TV, a Nashville-based startup that’s basically the high-tech, democratized version of turning down the volume on the television to listen to the radio play-by-play instead. Amateur broadcasters (or anyone, really) can use the company’s website to add live commentary to sport events or television shows. The founders also want the site to serve as a “hub” of conversation around these events, so listeners can add their comments and thoughts — just as they do today on Facebook and Twitter.

Local Teens Thrive, Earn Honors with Coding Talent
Jackson Sun
Twelve area high school students are heading to San Francisco courtesy of theCO after earning the highest honors in the second annual “CO:de Catalyst” coding course and competition. The seven girls and five boys in the winning group provide a welcome contrast to the much discussed nationwide lack of diversity in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields. “Our winners truly represent West Tennessee and its bright future,” said theCO CEO Ben Ferguson.

On the Radar: Nashville Gaming and Virtual Reality
Southern/alpha
Monday night at Deavor, members of the Nashville Virtual Reality meetup gathered around a TV setup to watch demos covering interactions and feedback within VR environments. Shawn Whiting, organizer of Nashville VR meetup, invited Tim Dilks, a fellow VR enthusiast who brought a simulation racing rig for members to try out. I spoke to a few of those members who were at the meetup. Several attendees were self-proclaimed novices, there because they believe that the Oculus Rift is something they should learn about. Others were using Unity to create a virtual game of their own.

Nashville Start-up Offers Virtual Vet Visit for Sick Dogs and Cats
The Tennessean
Pet owners know the dilemma well. The family dog eats chocolate in the middle of the night. Or there is a troubling cyst on a paw. It is probably a harmless incident or a self-healing bump — unless it isn’t. The only way to find out is to visit the vet or an emergency clinic, a trip that could take hours and yield a hefty bill — whether the predicament warrants professional care or not.

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