Venture Nashville Connections
Chris Ferrell, the founder and CEO of Solidus-backed Southcomm, is stepping into a full-on Operations role as president. Newly joined CEO Paul Bonaiuto has assumed the Southcomm helm. Bonaiuto was previously the CFO of Wisconsin-based Cygnus Business Media, which was acquired by Southcomm on undisclosed terms within the past year, through two transactions. Bonaiuto and Southcomm’s Cygnus holding remain based in Wisconsin.
High Ground News
Cabs are cool again, thanks to a Memphis start-up and its innovative mobile app designed to help taxis compete in the emerging ridesharing industry. With Cabsolutely, taxi companies and their riders now have access to an Uber- or Lyft-type mobile app which makes the summoning and payment process more user-friendly. The business was founded last year by Hungarian entrepreneurs and business partners Virag Reti and Andras Simon.
Local entrepreneur Jason Denenberg has identified what he perceives as a problem in our society, and he might indeed just have the “unfair advantage” to fix it in the form of his new venture, which he calls NourishWise. By day, Denenberg is the director of entrepreneurship at Launch Tennessee, which describes itself as “a public-private partnership focused on supporting the development of high-growth companies in Tennessee.” In his role, Denenberg offers counsel to many entrepreneurs at various stages in their creations of new businesses.
Venture Tennessee Connections
SIGNiX, the Chattanooga-based e-signatures software and services company, is likely to pursue a “substantial” amount of early growth-stage capital this year, said EVP Pem Guerry. Guerry characterized the prospective raise as an “institutional” round, and he acknowledged that — although the company is not looking to sell — it does receive interest from potential strategic bidders. VTC understands the next raise will be a Series C round.
High Ground News
Dr. Betsy Williams Sanders, Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Rhodes College, is on a mission to create a low-cost virtual reality system that will allow users to explore any virtual environment. Sanders won a five-year, $551,747 National Science Foundation (NSF) early career development grant last August, and she has used a portion of the money to create a 1,200-square-foot, state-of-the-art virtual reality research lab at Rhodes.
Eight startups have been selected for Project Music, the Nashville Entrepreneur Center’s first music-tech accelerator. The 14-week program, run in partnership with the Country Music Association, kicks off Jan. 18. Each of the eight companies going through the program (which also counts Google as a sponsor) will receive $30,000 in seed funding.
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