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April 11th, 2014

April 11th, 2014

Tennessee Innovation in the News

Nashville Business Journal: Launch Tennessee moving to Innovation Center building
Launch Tennessee, a public-private partnership designed to foster economic growth, is moving its offices from Fourth Avenue to the historic David G. Stone Building on Seventh Avenue, according to a news release…“The energy and business diversity in this area makes the David G. Stone Building a perfect fit for Launch Tennessee,” Launch Tennessee CEO Charlie Brock said in the release. “With the Innovation Center in the same building, we will have a great environment to work directly with the entrepreneurs we support.”

Teknovation.Biz: Knoxville Entrepreneur Center Announces ‘MediaWorks’, A Business Accelerator For Digital Media Startups (PDF)
Knoxville Entrepreneur Center is excited to introduce MediaWorks, the center’s inaugural digital media accelerator.
MediaWorks is a selective, highly immersive instructional and mentorship driven program for startups in the digital media sector, which includes digital video, augmented reality, digital signage, digital audio, or digital art. Ten startups will be selected to participate in the MediaWorks program, which will guide these early stage companies through customer discovery, product development, market identification, business development, growth strategy, and seeking to connect the participants with potential strategic and financial partners. The goal of MediaWorks is to showcase a thriving digital media startup community in East Tennessee, and represents a key element in KEC’s ongoing drive to highlight the region’s leadership in technology, digital media and media content creation. “MediaWorks provides a great opportunity for some of the most talented and experienced people from the media industry to collaborate with the next generation of media innovators and visionaries,” said Jonathan Sexton, KEC’s entrepreneur in residence.

TimesFreePress: GigTank 2014: Eleven startups picked, talent level higher than ever
From a company that 3D prints custom shoes to a software analytics provider that helps power utilities harness the data generated by smart grids, 11 startup companies will converge on Chattanooga this summer for GigTank 2014. The 12-week accelerator by Co.Lab aims to launch viable, tech-oriented companies out of the annual program, which culminates in a day-long pitch to investors in July. The 11 teams receive $15,000 in seed money, free housing at UTC and free workspace, as well as mentoring throughout the accelerator.

News Channel 5: Hendersonville Bike Company Gets Royal Attention
Prince Harry recently took a spin on a 4-wheel bike in London that was made by a company from right here in Middle Tennessee. Rhoades Car has actually been around since the early 1990s, but when its inventor, David Rhoades, passed away in 2009 the couple next door bought it. “We just really make it possible for people of all abilities to ride a bike,” said Vice President Phyllis Shelton, who owns the company with her husband, Bill Pomakoy…Shelton hopes future deals mean companies replace golf carts or similar vehicles with a Rhoades Car. She also says they can help companies get high risk employees to participate in wellness programs. The bikes come in one to four seats with the price ranging between $1,300 and $9,000 depending on features. Students at Vanderbilt University and Tennessee Tech University are also working with the company to develop new versions of Rhoades Car to become even more customizable.

National Innovation in the News

Inc.: 4 Things You Need to Know Today
1. Food Startups Staying Hot – In the wake of Grubhub’s successful IPO, investors are hungry for food delivery startups. Munchery, a San Francisco business that raised a $28 million Series B round on Thursday, is leading the pack–at least for now…2. Acquisition Update – Amazon announced its acquisition of comiXology, the New York-based maker of an app that allows you to read and buy comics, for undisclosed terms. Founded in 2007, comiXology, which sold 4 billion pages of comics in 2013, offers content from both marquee publishers like Marvel and DC and indie creators.

Entrepreneur: 3 Ways for Women to Close the VC Gender Gap
Only 7 percent of U.S. venture capital deals go to women founders and CEOs. To increase their odds of joining those ranks, Sherry Lombardi and Kerry Bowbliss turned to Astia, an accelerator program and investor network that fosters high-growth women-led startups. “It’s not about networking women to women,” says Lombardi, co-founder and CEO of Hulafrog, a web platform for parents looking for local activities for their kids…It was time well spent: Last June Hulafrog closed a $430,000 seed round financed by one fund and eight angels. But accelerators and investment funds for women-run companies aren’t the only ways to subsidize your venture. Here’s what several female ‘treps familiar with the financing dance suggest.

Wired: How GE Plans to Act Like a Startup and Crowdsource Breakthrough Ideas
Last year, the aviation engineers at General Electric found themselves with a jet engine bracket problem. At 4.48 pounds each, the brackets, little pieces of metal that support engine components, were weighing the plane down. Now, in the grand scheme of airplanes, a five-pound bracket seems pretty harmless, but it was a problem nonetheless, and one GE thought was solvable. “We thought, wouldn’t it be great if you could figure out way to make the bracket lighter?” recalls Steve Liguori, GE’s Executive Director of Global Innovation & New Model..t was a triumph of crowdsourcing—for a nominal price, GE used the knowledge of someone they would have never otherwise met to innovate its way out a design problem. It was also a proof of concept for the engineering behemoth’s new innovation strategy. Under Immelt, GE has invested a sizable chunk of its annual $6 billion R&D funds into taking advantage of a simple, internet-enabled truth: Now, more than ever, it’s possible to connect with people around the world, so why not take advantage of that to solve some engineering problems?

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