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April 23rd, 2014

April 23rd, 2014

Tennessee Innovation in the News

Nooga: More speakers announced for this summer’s Southland conference, including Christy Turlington, former model and nonprofit founder
After announcing in January that Al Gore would be one of the speakers at this summer’s Southland conference, leaders with Launch Tennessee and tech startup website PandoDaily said this week that three entrepreneurial “rock stars” will speak at the business-focused event. Aaron Levie, co-founder and CEO of enterprise cloud company Box; Christy Turlington, former model and founder of nonprofit Every Mother Counts; and John James, founder and CEO of e-commerce company Acumen Brands; will speak at the June 9-11 conference, which will be in Nashville.

Vanderbilt CTTC: Jumpstart Foundry, Vanderbilt CTTC work to strengthen entrepreneurial programs
Vanderbilt University’s entrepreneurial community will have greater access to Jumpstart Foundry’s (JSF) proven program for education, mentorship and networking through a new collaboration with Vanderbilt’s Center for Technology Transfer and Commercialization (CTTC). JSF and CTTC will engage in a new program that identifies, evaluates and selects new project proposals from Vanderbilt faculty, staff and students. CTTC will nominate select proposals through a stringent due diligence process for placement in JSF’s top 30 applicant pool. JSF will rank order this group and begin interviewing the top ranked teams. The final selection round will comprise of the top dozen or so teams from the above pool and will be given an offer to participate in JSF’s annual business accelerator program, which begins in May.

Tennessean: Calif. venture fund Crestlight opens Nashville office
A Palo Alto, Calif.-based firm, Crestlight Venture Productions, is establishing a regional headquarters through a partnership with Fivestone Corporate Ventures in Franklin that will focus on building tech startups for corporate clients…“Our conversations with research institutions, corporate partners, accelerators, public/private state initiatives and other various champions of the Tennessee startup culture led us to assess corporate engagement as a critical component of the investment ecosystem,” Staykov said in a statement. Crestlight will support both early and growth-stage companies, offering pre and post-investment services to corporate clients, according to the release.

Nashville Business Journal: Stratasan names new president
Stratasan, a Nashville-based health care analytics company, has named Marshall Martin as its new president, the company announced today. Martin is a veteran of two Nashville-area technology companies, having served as COO of both Juris and PureSafety. He will join a leadership team at Stratasan that includes co-founders Tod Fetherling and Jason Moore…”I think it’s the front end of the exciting part,” Martin said of the “big data” boom. “As people race to capture data, it will be those who can take that data and put it in to smaller sets to be utilized [who succeed].”

National Innovation in the News

Inc.: America Online co-founder Steve Case answers questions about startups, impact investing, and all those free AOL CDs.
Advice for entrepreneurs looking to build “100 year” companies: Case compared companies “built to last” with companies “built to flip,” saying, “I hope over time more entrepreneurs will … focus on revolutionizing learning or health care or energy or transportation. These are big challenges–and frankly harder challenges–that will require more patience and more partnerships and often more engagements with governments–but ultimately have the potential to have a broader impact on society … So swing for the fences!”

Forbes: 5 Things Edtech Startups Can Learn From Classroom Teachers
Edtech is a big market, trillions of dollars globally. No wonder there are so many entrepreneurs trying to grab a piece. In an age when start-up entrepreneurs routinely try to come up with the next big gold rush, however, it is easy to forget that the fundamentals of pedagogy have remained stable for thousands of years. Great technology does not disrupt as much as it empowers humans to do a better job at staying the same…The most effective pieces of edtech start with the assumption that educational tools are at their best when they function like the chalkboard: non-invasively helping teachers to do a well-practiced job with increased precision and ease. “Teachers Know Best: What They Want From Digital Instructional Tools” is a report commissioned by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “We embarked on this research with a simple goal: to find out directly from teachers what kinds of tools and instructional technologies they’d like to have to help them tailor instruction to their students’ individual needs and skills.” They continue, “We hope these findings will provide a roadmap to ed tech companies that will help them develop products that better meet teachers’ needs, as well to districts and others who buy these tools to encourage them to give teachers a voice in choosing the digital resources they’ll use in their classroom.”

Wall Street Journal: Y Combinator Boosts Payout to Startups
Y Combinator is sweetening the deal it offers its startups. The Mountain View, Calif.-based incubator, a key player in the Silicon Valley startup scene and an early launching pad for companies including Dropbox and Airbnb, will now invest $120,000 for a 7% stake in its participating companies. Previously Y Combinator’s standard deal was about $17,000 for 7% of the company, plus an $80,000 note from a group of venture investors and firms eventually known as YCVC, which most recently included Andreessen Horowitz, General Catalyst, Maverick Capital and Khosla Ventures.

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