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October 8th, 2015

October 8th, 2015

TENNESSEE INNOVATION IN THE NEWS

Project Music Grads to Represent Nashville in Statewide Business Accelerator
Nashville Business Journal
Both of Nashville’s representatives in Launch Tennessee’s master accelerator program, The Tenn, are graduates of the Entrepreneur Center’s first-of-its-kind music-tech accelerator, Project Music. KaraoQ and Remix Hits will represent Nashville in the third incarnation of the program. The only health care startup in the bunch, typically Nashville’s bread and butter, hails from Memphis. (Memphis also has the most participating startups, with three.) “We look forward to working with this diverse group of early stage companies who are all outstanding graduates and representatives of Tennessee’s network of entrepreneur centers,” Charlie Brock, CEO of Launch Tennessee, said in a news release. “The Tenn program will offer them another level of support with increased exposure as well as networking opportunities to investors, mentors and potential customers.”

Start.Co Alum MentorMe Continues to Roll Along
Memphis Business Journal
It may have taken a little longer than expected, but MentorMe is on a hot streak that includes stints in accelerator programs in San Francisco and Atlanta and the creation of partnerships with several schools and companies in between. The company, which graduated from the Seed Hatchery accelerator in 2013, has a formal contract with the Memphis Grizzlies Foundation that will put 10 of the organization’s funded programs on its platform, and work with the Knoxville and Greater Memphis Chambers of Commerce. The company is also working with The Mentoring Project in Oklahoma City and Portland, Oregon.

Tech Entrepreneur Helps Students Aspire, Imagine, Reason
Nooga.com
The computer that entrepreneur Seun Erinle took to college was one she built with her father; technology has been a part of her life since childhood, and she’s passing on her love and knowledge of the industry through A.I.R. Labs. Erinle, who has degrees in both computer science and digital marketing/design, started out doing freelance work. And she got involved with camps, such as Dev Dev. She also gave private tech-related lessons to area teens. One day over lunch, she was telling a friend how passionate she is about youth, teaching and technology, and the idea surfaced for Erinle to start her own company. She made a plan for the company and presented it to businesspeople and family members, who helped her finance the venture.

Tech Goes Home Chattanooga Raises Money to Bridge Digital Divide
Nooga.com
The Enterprise Center’s digital equity program Tech Goes Home Chattanooga is raising money to provide tools and education to underserved Hamilton County residents. “We’ve grown a lot in the last 10 months since we started the pilot,” Tech Goes Home Chattanooga program director Kelly McCarthy said. Tech Goes Home Chattanooga, which is based on a model founded in Boston, tackles three areas that contribute to the digital divide: digital literacy, access to tech devices and access to Internet in the home. Tech Goes Home Chattanooga partners with schools and community facilities for three programs to facilitate its goals. Leaders recently launched an Indiegogo campaign through which they aim to raise $10,000 in the next 30 days. Those funds will be added to other contributions from the city, county and area organizations.

Three East TN Companies Selected for Latest “The TENN” Cohort
Teknovation
Three East Tennessee companies – one from Chattanooga and two from Knoxville – have been selected to participate in this year’s “The TENN” program coordinated by Launch Tennessee. Now in its third iteration, “The TENN” begins October 21 when the companies attend Launch Tennessee’s board meeting followed by an event during which the entrepreneurs will meet the master mentors with whom they will be working closely throughout the program. The full program includes training in The Rockefeller Habits, a business management system, and learning days on key business topics, such as marketing, financial management and operations. The nine teams will also travel throughout Tennessee to meet executives at top corporations during a week-long roadshow and fly to California and New York for networking trips. The program will conclude with a demo day in spring 2016.


SouthernAlpha
The Oct. 9 episode of ‘Shark Tank’ will be filled with quite an interesting set of connections to Nashville. First, a connection by location. Nerdwax, a company in East Nashville, will pitch their beeswax product for keeping your glasses in place. Their 2014 Kickstarter campaign raised over $60,000, well above the initial goal of $5,000. Foot Cardigan, a sock subscription service that sends uniquely designed socks to your mailbox each month, will also be part of Friday’s pitch line-up. While the team is based in Texas, Bryan “Bearsuit” Deluca is a 2004 alumnus of Belmont University, where he graduated with a major in music business. Finally, a connection by (speculated) imitation. The guest ‘shark’ for this episode will be Troy Carter, founder of The Atom Factory and manager to many musical talents.  Perhaps his stint as a judge may not be of particular interest, given that his new ‘entertainment technology’ accelerator program, SMASHD Labs, is not located anywhere near the Music City.

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