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April 2nd, 2015

April 2nd, 2015

TENNESSEE INNOVATION IN THE NEWS

Entrepreneur Lecture Series to Feature Digital Cobbler, Lucy Beard of Feetz
Georgia Southern University
The Georgia Southern College of Business Administration Business Innovation Group (BIG) is pleased to host Lucy Beard as part of the Entrepreneur Lecture Series on Tuesday, April 28 at 5:30 p.m. in the College of Engineering and Information Technology, Room 1004. Beard will discuss her adventures in starting Feetz, the digital cobbler for the new era. After becoming frustrated trying on several pairs of ill-fitting shoes, Beard pondered the idea of custom-fit shoes using 3D printer technology.

General Graphene Wins “Charlotte Venture Challenge,” $20,000 Top Prize
Teknovation
Media reports from North Carolina on Wednesday night said that Oak Ridge-based General Graphene won yesterday’s “Charlotte Venture Challenge” (CVC). We have not made contact with General Graphene’s Vig Sherrill yet, but the report posted on the Greater Wilmington Business Journal website read as follows: “The overall winner, garnering the $20,000 grand prize, was General Graphene, a company from Oak Ridge, Tennessee that  — according to a company video — has developed a method for producing graphene at a dramatically lower cost than current methods can.  Graphene is a super-strong, one-atom-thick sheet of graphite that could potentially be used in such products as ultra-light aircraft, solar-absorbing paint and flexible smartphones, company officials stated in the video.”

Nashville Entrepreneur Center Names New CEO
Nashville Business Journal
The Nashville Entrepreneur Center has named its next president and CEO. Stuart McWhorter, chairman and co-founder of venture firm Clayton Associates, will take on the role, effective April 9. McWhorter succeeds Michael Burcham, who announced in mid-December that he would leave the position to launch a new health care company.

The Secret Sauce That Helped LeanKit Raise $10.5M
Southern/alpha
LeanKit, a B2B task and project management startup in Franklin, Tennessee, raised $10.5M over the span of two years. The company built a product that had revenue in the early-days of the startup, all while shying away from the media, scaling to a global level, and exploring new verticals. Kemp Maxwell, Vice President of Business Development at LeanKit, joined the team in August of 2012 with a goal to help finish the startup’s convertible venture raise.

SwiftWing Flying in Venture Capital Scene
Chattanooga Times Free Press
SwiftWing Ventures, the Chattanooga-based venture-capital firm, has a new chief operating officer who will develop the adult-workforce arm of TechTown Global. Patrick Mark Gusman, former president of Equal Footing Foundation, a Virginia-based nonprofit organization, joined SwiftWing on Wednesday and will focus on building nationwide partnerships for TechTown, which is one of SwiftWing’s investment interests.

VC-and Tech2020-led TennesSeed Eyes Capraise, Regional Investments
Venture Tennessee Connections
Tech2020 in Oak Ridge is sponsoring the launch of the TennesSeed Proof of Concept (PoC) fund, using a Federal grant of $250K and match contributions from Meritus Ventures, Innova Memphis and LaunchTN, for a $500K total. The fund will initially focus on advancing technologies that have been generated by institutions toward proof of concept (PoC) and market validation, and will initially concentrate on “intelligent and sustainable transportation and logistics,” according to a release announcing the award.

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