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.
National Innovation in the News
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.