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March 31st, 2014

March 31st, 2014

Tennessee Innovation in the News

Tennessean: March Madness has bevy of takeaways for entrepreneurs
Each March, millions of people fill out their NCAA basketball brackets in hopes of correctly guessing which teams will make their way to the Final Four. While the odds of getting a perfect bracket are extremely unlikely (Warren Buffett recently told The Wall Street Journal that even Einstein couldn’t figure the odds), the excitement March Madness creates is infectious. While watching these games, I can’t help but think there are many parallels between these college athletes and entrepreneurs. Just like each of the teams vying for the opportunity to win the Big Dance, every entrepreneur wants his idea to be that one-of-a-kind Cinderella story. Below are some key takeaways for entrepreneurs to remember when trying to make it big in the startup world.

Press Release: Vanderbilt Startup Heads to California for Google’s Demo Day
InvisionHeart, LLC, a Vanderbilt startup based on a wireless electrocardiogram system, is headed to California for Google’s Demo Day April 2. The company is one of 10 startups nationwide chosen to participate in the inaugural event that provides the opportunity to learn from experts and gain exposure to Silicon Valley investors. “We’re thrilled to be selected by the Nashville Entrepreneur Center and Google Ventures to present our technology to Silicon Valley investors and companies,” says CEO Josh Nickols. “It is a fantastic opportunity to access new capital and develop partnerships that will grow a valuable technology beyond the Vanderbilt and Nashville healthcare community.”

Times Free Press: 48Hour Launch gives top prize to music education startup
Jonathan Susman walked away with the grand prize Sunday night at the conclusion of the Company Lab’s 48Hour Launch. Susman over the weekend fleshed out an idea that he originally presented as Remote Audio Mixing, a “mechanism for accessing and manipulating multi-track audio recordings via any mobile device, and a methodology for increasing collaboration/instruction from professional educators, regardless of location.” By Sunday, he had renamed his venture Adagio and had come up with a simple statement about what it will do. Adagio “gives music educators tech that has been available to other areas for years,” he said. Simply, Susman said Adagio will allow music students and teachers to interact with one another remotely, removing scheduling and steep financial restraints of music education.

Commercial Appeal: Jim Vining named master entrepreneur by exclusive business club
One of Memphis’ most exclusive business clubs, the Society of Entrepreneurs brings in a handful of new members every year, but seldom designates anyone a master entrepreneur. This year is different. Three decades after co-founding an investment firm in Memphis that now trades assets worth $200 billion a year, Jim Vining has received the special designation. Created to highlight accomplished Memphis entrepreneurs, the invitation-only club consists of 110 living members, who pick new candidates and serve as mentors.

Nooga: UTC startup is first team selected for Gig Tank 2014
UTC and The Company Lab have partnered to launch a new fellowship in an effort to engage qualified student entrepreneurs and at least one professor in 2014’s Gig Tank. Gig Tank is an entrepreneurial accelerator that draws national talent to Chattanooga each year for a 10- to12-week program in which participants develop ideas for startup businesses. This year, the recipients of the UTC/Gig Tank Fellowship are Robin Moldenhauer, Kevin Ringstaff and Rupinder Kaur. They will work with Dr. Ashish Gupta, associate professor of analytics and information systems in the UTC College of Business, on a big data analytics startup for the Gig Tank health care track.

National Innovation in the News

Fast Company: How Mentors and Teachers Will Save Entrepreneurship in America
We have enough entrepreneurial energy among America’s youth to build an economy that will boom louder than any of our best runs in the past. Among U.S. students surveyed in 2012 in grades five to 12, 43% say they plan to start their own business. The problem is that there are very few people helping these students’ entrepreneurial aspirations come true. A mere 7% say they are gaining real-world experience–internships, mentorships, or jobs–at a real business. And, our schools aren’t yet operating as entrepreneurial talent developers. Despite this, I hold great hope for the future.

The Economist: The startup explosion
The main reason for this “startup explosion”, as it has come to be known, is that the basic building blocks for digital services and products—the “technologies of startup production”, if you will—have become so flexible, cheap and ubiquitous that they can be easily combined and recombined: snippets of code, cloud-computing and other services and the internet itself, which is now fast, universal and wireless. As a result, startups can be lean: they no longer need to operate their own servers; they can outsource much of what they do, from software development to user testing; and they can iterate constantly to improve their product. During the dotcom boom launching a startup was a big bet on a business plan; now it is only the first of a series of experiments, an ongoing exploration.

Inc.: How to Get Giant Companies to Sweat Your Business
As an entrepreneur, you’ve learned to accept when your company’s pitch hits with a thud among would-be clients. But what if roles were reversed? What if you had the power to accept or deny a giant company’s business? This isn’t a dream. It’s the premise behind SwitchPitch, a two-year-old event series that asks major companies like IBM and HBO to run their technology needs by fast-growing and able-bodied startups. The series, which was launched in partnership with the Washington, D.C.-based accelerator Exhilarator, aims to hold 10 events a year.

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