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March 27th, 2015

March 27th, 2015

TENNESSEE INNOVATION IN THE NEWS

8 Big Benefits Launching Your Startup in a Smaller City (feat. Charlie Brock, Feetz, & Graph Story)
Inc.
Lucy Beard, founder of Feetz, started her 3D printed shoe company in the heart of startup culture–Silicon Valley. Media and potential customers contacted her early and often. What was missing was access to manufacturing knowledge. “We quickly realized that we couldn’t reinvent consumer manufacturing in the Valley. What I was trying to do didn’t fit the mold, if you’ll pardon the pun,” she says. With hundreds of potential customers eager to buy, she looked for a more hospitable environment to build out an entirely new custom manufacturing approach. She learned about Launch Tennessee, a public-private initiative in Tennessee that has nine specific startup accelerators, including one on 3D printing.

BKON Represents Tennessee at ‘Internet of Things’ Hearing
Southern/alpha
BKON, a beacon device compatible with iBeacon and URIBeacon protocols, represented Tennessee on Tuesday at the energy and commerce conference held at the Capitol. The purpose of the showcase was to introduce IoT devices and platforms to a bipartisan hearing on economic development and consumer empowerment. Senators Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Cory A. Booker (D-N.J.), Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), and Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) introduced the bill. The senate passed the initiative calling for a better understanding of a potential opportunity for U.S. based companies to lead the industry.

Everly, the Nashville Mix and Beverage Startup, Preps for Series A Raise this Spring
Venture Nashville Connections
Everly, the Nashville natural mix and beverages startup, is “in high gear” preparing for a Series A capital raise, said Kyle McCollom, its CEO and co-founder. McCollom, who is Everly’s largest individual shareholder, declined to disclose a target range for the Series A at this time. The letter-round, which could attract equity investment from venture capital, as well as Angels and family offices, will be calibrated to raise only “the right amount of money to really accelerate” into national grocery channels and bolster cashflow, he said.

FedEx Institute of Technology Enters Second Decade with an Eye on Opportunity and Expansion
High Ground News
As the FedEx Institute of Technology moves into its second decade of operations as the front door to the University’s research infrastructure and capabilities, strategic renewal and an expansion of its mission are in the works at the University of Memphis. President M. David Rudd’s new vision for the Institute emphasizes a stronger technology focus, a national profile in terms of being at the forefront of technology developments and partnerships with global technology organizations.

Feetz: Digital Cobbler Gets Funding for 3-D Printing of New Shoes
Chattanooga Times Free Press
Feetz, the digital cobbler of startups, has locked down more than $1.5 million in seed funding, most recently from a Silicon Valley venture capital firm. It also has gotten a “six-figure” investment from former Reebok CEO Uli Becker, who’s on the company’s board of directors. Feetz, which moved from California to Chattanooga last year, makes customized footwear using 3-D printing and a phone app that customers use to take photos of their feet.

Moonshine Maker Raises Another $2.5MM
Nashville Post
American Born Moonshine has raised $2.5 million, according to new SEC documents. A total of 25 investors took part in the round, which came about a year after CEO Pat Dillingham and his team raised more than $6 million to help fuel their growth beyond Tennessee. The company, which now has raised $11M to date, has a priority to invest in and build the best team in the industry, Dillingham said, and is looking to raise another $2.5 million in the coming months.

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