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July 20th, 2015

July 20th, 2015

TENNESSEE INNOVATION IN THE NEWS

Community Cash: Crowdfunding Gives Life to Local Projects
High Ground News
From small neighborhood projects to large community investments, crowdfunding is becoming fresh financial fuel for a variety of Memphis organizations. And the buy-in for an idea doesn’t stop when a check is written. Even in a notably charitable city like Memphis, there is steep competition for the dollars needed to fund community projects, nonprofit organizations and individual enterprises.

Nashville Business Journal
Bolstered by bigger investments, more venture capital money flowed into Nashville startups during the past three months than in any quarter since early 2013. Venture capitalists invested $55.8 million in 13 Nashville deals, according to the MoneyTree Report by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the National Venture Capital Association, based on data from Thomson Reuters. That’s a nearly 28 percent jump compared to the second quarter of 2014. It’s also the highest quarterly total since $60.4 million was invested in the second quarter of 2013, according to the report.

High Ground News
A thriving creative class drives the culture of a city, but how do you build a supportive environment for those creatives to flourish? Here in Memphis, a few creative entrepreneurs have struck out on their own, producing head-turning work and demanding attention for their innovation, originality and business savvy.

High Ground News
In a recent study seeking out the U.S. cities with the most diverse workforces in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), Memphis took the number one spot. Women make up just 26 percent of the national STEM workforce (there are 5.6 million men holding STEM jobs in the U.S. compared with 1.95 million women). In Memphis, the gap is far smaller, with women making up 39 percent of the city’s STEM workforce, the 7th highest percentage of women in the national study. Memphis likewise scored well for racial diversity. The city’s STEM workforce is 52 percent white, 33 percent Black, 12 percent Asian, with three percent Latino or Hispanic.
The Tennessean
At Launch Tennessee, we talk about the “pipeline” a lot when it comes to building a strong startup ecosystem. A key piece of this is developing, attracting and retaining a well-qualified workforce to the region. In this regard, there is some great work going on across the state with various partners, including a number of our accelerators, developing innovative programs to educate the next generation of tech-savvy Tennesseans.These are very compelling programs, as evidenced by the fact that students willingly give up some of their summer vacation to participate. 

“TennesSeed” Initiative Seeks Input from Teknovation.biz Readers
Teknovation
As previously reported on teknovation.bizInnova Memphis and Meritus Ventures have partnered with Tech 2020 and Memphis Bioworks Foundation to establish the “TennesSeed Proof of Concept Fund.” The initiative enjoys strong support from the University of Tennessee Research Foundation, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and LaunchTN and is partially funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce through its Economic Development Administration. The goal of the effort is to establish “TennesSeed” as a professionally-managed evergreen fund to make equity investments in vetted “proof of concept” opportunities within Tennessee.


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