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June 16th, 2014

June 16th, 2014

Tennessee Innovation in the News

Fortune Magazine:  The New Metropolis: The New Urban Pioneers Meet the official in Chattanooga who built the fastest internet in the western hemisphere – Harold DePriest is CEO of EPB, a company currently operating the fastest public Internet network in the Western Hemisphere, fully 100 times faster than the national average. EPB stands for Electric Power Board, and it serves the greater metropolitan area of Chattanooga—from city center on out into rural farmland some 600 miles square. EPB was an electric company for 61 years before it started in on telecommunications. Today it is responsible for creating an estimated 1,000 jobs since its Internet service launched in 2009. Chattanooga’s citizens (or, at least, its marketers and boosters) now call it Gig-City for its gigabit-per-second speeds…Gig-City is about a lot more than fiber-optic wires. It has a startup accelerator called, of course, Gig-Tank (named after the TV show Shark Tank). Many of the new jobs have come about because small businesses, after going through Gig-Tank, relocate, drawn by the high, high speed. Most companies that end up in Chattanooga have businesses that deal in very large files that normally take hours to send over the Internet. Of the 11 teams participating in Gig-Tank this year, seven work with 3D printing and three are in health care. The 11th company does smart grid analytics—which is how EPB became an Internet provider to begin with.

Healthbox is Planning its return to Nashville this Fall. After a successful launch in Nashville last year, the international, healthcare-exclusive accelerator will come back to the South’s healthcare capital looking to expand its program. Healthbox has run their accelerators in six cities as far reaching as Boston, Chicago and London and will be launching Salt Lake City this August.  They make a $50,000 seed investment into the companies they accept, provide them with mentorship and give them access to their impressive expert network of providers, payers, investors, information technologists, and entrepreneurs among others.

Lamp Post Group: Bonnaroo, Startups, and What Music Festivals Can Teach You About Entrepreneurship Sean Phipps of Nooga.com and I survived a weekend at Bonnaroo courtesy of the Lamp Post operations team. We were two of the lucky winners in a drawing for Bonnaroo passes– all we had to do was fill out a survey saying what we would like our work culture to be like, what benefits Lamp Post could offer its employees, and where we think LPG could be improved. Next thing you know we agreed to attend together and were off to a farm in Manchester to see some of the best live acts currently on tour.
Event: Apply today for $1Million – Global Action Challenge opens 2014 Competition The Global Action Challenge is a competitive investment opportunity to identify breakthrough prototypes, technologies or early-stage ventures that hold promise for transformative impact on health and food and are scalable business enterprises. The Global Action Challenge is open to food and/or healthcare innovators and entrepreneurs from around the world. The recipient(s) and top finalists will be recognized at the Global Action Summit scheduled for November 17-18, 2014 in Nashville, TN. To apply, click here – Deadline for submissions is August 29th.

National Innovation in the News

Forbes:  Three Reasons Being A Startup Employee Is Harder Than Having A ‘Real’ Job You know startup fever is rampant when The New York Times is writing articles about bankers leaving Wall Street for early-stage tech companies and HBO follows “Game of Thrones” with the celebratory satire of startup culture that is Silicon Valley. The result is that startups are ‘cool’ again in some circles, and there’s renewed interest in leaving cubicles behind to build innovative new companies.  Having made the transition as a founder, and having hired a fair number of people, I think it’s important for individuals who are thinking about being startup employees to go into this type of situation with eyes wide open to both the risks and rewards. The benefits are undeniable — you will almost certainly be surrounded by higher quality people than in the corporate world, and will have the opportunity to work very closely to build something meaningful. There are almost no roles you’ll find in a big company that will teach you as much as living on the edge while at a startup.
Entrepreneur:  5 Fast Growing Industries Ripe for Entrepreneurs When you’re thinking about starting a business, think first which industries have sustainable momentum. No venture is a sure thing, but if you start your business in an industry with a strong positive trend behind it, you’re starting on an easier road. Instead of fighting your competitors tooth-and-nail for a limited or dwindling pool of customers, you will benefit from a rising tide of revenue as the market opens up.

Tech Crunch:  On-Demand Grocery Startup Instacart Raises $44 Million From Andreessen Horowitz On-demand grocery delivery startup Instacart wants to make its service available in every city in the United States. To make that happen, it’s raised $44 million in Series B funding led by Andreessen Horowitz. Along with the funding, a16z partner Jeff Jordan will be joining the company’s board.  The deal was put together just about a year after its last round of funding. Altogether, Instacart has raised about $55 million from investors that also include Sequoia Capital, Khosla Ventures, and Canaan Partners, along with Box CEO Aaron Levie, and Y Combinator president Sam Altman.The new funding comes as Instacart has seen huge growth both in its revenues and also the number of cities it operates in. Over just the past nine months, revenue has grown 15x.


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