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May 13th, 2014

May 13th, 2014

Tennessee Innovation in the News

Power Systems Design: Car tech boot camp autoXLR8R 2014 launches in Spring Hill
Following an arduous eight-week selection process, seven emerging automotive technology companies will descend upon Spring Hill, Tenn., on May 19 to begin the autoXLR8R program, a 13-week entrepreneurial boot camp focused on bringing high-potential automotive technologies to market. The list of companies includes six from Tennessee and one from Hong Kong, China…“As the needs of the automotive industry continue to change and with vehicle technologies constantly evolving, it is our job to deliver applicable solutions,” said program manager Jack Sisk. “The seven companies that we have brought into the autoXLR8R are developing innovative technologies that will directly address immediate needs of auto manufacturers and have the potential to impact how vehicles are designed moving forward.”Nashville Business Journal: What recent tech deals mean for Nashville’s startup scene
Two recent tech acquisitions spell good news for the future of Nashville’s startup ecosystem, according to leaders of Music City’s effort to grow that part of the economy. Last week, Nashville social media marketing company Moontoast acquired Spendship, a locally-based app company. A few weeks ago, user-generated news content platform Cell Journalist was picked up by Candian-based ScribbleLive, as reported by Southern Alpha. “These two are examples of young companies that see opportunities to merge and be part of something larger,” said Michael Burcham, president and CEO of the Nashville Entrepreneur Center…Both Cell Journalist and Spendshift are outside of Nashville’s traditional marquis industry of health care, an area where the city has seen a lot of traction within the startup space but that many have called for the city to grow beyond.

Memphis Daily News: Bioworks Foundation Wins $200,000 EPA Grant
Memphis Bioworks is one of 18 grantees for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training (EWDJT) program. The EPA made the announcement on Monday, May 12, and each grant is worth $200,000…The Memphis Bioworks Foundation “Clean & Green” training program is designed to provide support for the city of Memphis Clean and Green Initative. The grant will provide training for 75 students and is the second EPA/EWDJT grant Memphis Bioworks has received. A $300,000 grant issued in 2012 provided training for 110 persons, 65 of whom already have been placed in full-time jobs.

PEW States: State Governments Look to Entrepreneurs for Creativity, Efficiency
Corporate America increasingly has sought them in recent years to help identify and develop possible new products or services, and to help shake up staid thinking. The chief evangelist for putting them in state government, Ingrid Vanderveldt, comes from Dell, the technology giant, which in 2011 embraced the idea of reaching out to entrepreneurs as part of its strategy to sell its computing services to the business world. Vanderveldt, who had several successful startups of her own, now oversees Dell’s $100 million innovators credit fund to help startups finance technology tools, along with Dell’s center for entrepreneurs that offers advice to budding businesses….As the federal entrepreneur legislation languished, Vanderveldt turned to state capitals. She began offering lawmakers model legislation shaped from Honda’s bill and adaptable to the needs of a particular state. In addition to Austin, Texas, she’s been to capitals in Connecticut, Tennessee and California to testify or advocate for it. The goal, she said, is the same: to bring entrepreneurial thinking “from the outside in” to government agencies to create a better climate for starting a business.

National Innovation in the News

CNBC: Bubble 2.0? Venture capitalists say no
The thing about bubbles—by the time they start bursting, it’s usually too late. But for now, most venture capitalists see little worry about that, and remain bullish on funding for start-ups and they continue to justify sky-high, pre-IPO tech valuations. For sure, VCs are in the business of hunting for the next big moneymaker and rarely talk down the future of the market they are fueling. At the Venturescape Conference, a gathering of the National Venture Capital Association which opens in San Francisco on Tuesday, pros are talking about their latest investments and forecasting what’s going to be hot in the future.
Inc.: 5 Things You Need to Know Today
1. Rising Above the Noise–Twitter announced that it’s introducing a “muting” feature, which lets users “edit” their Twitter experience and hide certain users and their tweets from view. Now might be the time to improve your tweeting skills…3. The Value of a Grand Delusion–Despite the fact that entrepreneurs know that most startups fail, they’re driven to start businesses anyway, usually fueled by a cocktail of self-confidence, ego, and incurable optimism. That drive is pretty beneficial for the economy. As James Surowiecki writes: “In the delusions of entrepreneurs are the seeds of technological progress.”Entrepreneur: How to Attract (and Keep) Your First 100 Customers
Every young business faces the challenge of acquiring its first users, but before we dive into specific strategies for doing just that, it’s important to remember who these first customers are and what they mean for your company…look at these primary participants as your beta users. Actively solicit their feedback and use their suggestions to improve your product. Once they see your responsiveness and the quality of the product you’re offering, they’ll become the brand evangelists needed to power the next stage of growth. Now, with that in mind, here are three ideas for finding your first 100 “beta test” customers.

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