Chattanooga entrepreneur Cory Allison has a background in IT and a passion for helping others. She recently launched a new company called Rezli, she’s a partner in a locally based venture capital fund that focuses on women in business, she’s the former CEO of Iron Gaming, and she has a long list of other accomplishments. Rezli, her most recent venture, is a content, media and career building platform that aims to empower people to turn their passion into a career.
For nearly an hour on Friday morning, Cory House used a combination of self-deprecating humor, technical knowledge, and more recently honed presentation skills to keep a crowded ballroom of software developers fully engaged in an examination of the technology adoption curve and their place on the continuum. The scene was Knoxville’s annual CodeStock conference, an event that has grown from a few hundred attendees to about 1,000 since it was moved last year to the Knoxville Convention Center. The ballroom was packed with people of all ages, ethnicities, and gender.
When a San Francisco jeans brand pitched a natural denim option for its consumers, the company purchased as much of the rare material as it could claim. Even with a higher price tag, the premium jeans and jackets quickly sold out. “Our customers love the story behind things like this and they are willing to pay for it,” said Pete Searson, co-founder of Tellason. “We sold out of this product faster than anything we’ve ever sold.”
At the halfway mark of 2016, TNECD has located more than 70 projects in Tennessee that have received grant funding from the department. Of these projects, companies have committed to create nearly 8,000 jobs.But those new jobs are just the start, according to research by TNECD’s Center for Economic Research in Tennessee (CERT). TNECD conducted an analysis of the anticipated economic and fiscal impact of projects the state has invested in during the first half of 2016. The analysis encompasses 74 projects that have received job training, public infrastructure grants, and capital grants from TNECD. Projects that did not receive funding were not considered in the analysis, which was developed to help TNECD better analyze projects applying for grants through the state’s FastTrack program.
Lots of people quote the 57% increase in the growth of $10-million-plus firms founded by women in the last 10 years, from a recent American Express study. This growth rate outpaces $10-million-plus firms founded by men by 47%. Kauffman recently pointed out there’s a 35% higher return on investment by women-led privately held tech companies. Echoing that finding, First Round found last year that tech startups with female founders returned 63% greater value in a 10-year early-stage fund study. With numbers like that, investors are starting to pay close attention to how their own portfolios are balanced and if they have sufficient diversity in the portfolio.
Nashville Business Journal
A prominent and rapidly growing Nashville tech company is in talks to expand into downtown’s second-largest skyscraper. According to multiple real estate sources, Qualifacts Systems Inc. is negotiating to lease space in the UBS Tower, a move that would give both the company and the building a higher profile. Qualifacts is pursuing the expansion as it aims to hire as many as 50 employees by the end of this year, pushing headcount near 200 employees.
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