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November 30th, 2015

November 30th, 2015


Boyd Venture Challenge Awards $35K to Student Startups
Tennessee Today
Three UT student startup companies have been awarded a total of $35,000 to develop their businesses in the fall 2015 Boyd Venture Challenge. Eight teams were selected to pitch their ideas to a panel of local entrepreneurs who determined which companies were most deserving of seed funding and how much they should receive. “We saw an excellent group of companies this semester,” said Tom Graves, operations director of the UT Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. “The judges were quite impressed both with the variety and quality of the startups that presented. It’s exciting to see our students taking ideas and turning them into a reality.”

California’s Carbon Five Expands to Chattanooga
Chattanooga Times Free Press
California-based Carbon Five hadn’t planned to expand to Chattanooga, let alone the South, when last year two members of its team turned to the Society of Work for office space.With locations in San Francisco and Santa Monica, the software-design-and-development firm has a lengthy list of clients from Samsung to Fandango, most on the West Coast. This year, it added one client in Chattanooga, Iron Gaming, and its local office has grown to three, with a fourth employee coming on board by early next year. The hope is to grow to six soon, perhaps reaching 12 employees within three years. And the company is working on a deal for its own space: 1,240 square feet on the ninth floor of the Edney Innovation Building downtown. “Chattanooga has a really big tech scene for its size,” said Alex Cruikshank, who heads the local office. “It really is a developer community small enough that everybody sticks together.”

Justin Timberlake-Backed Company Launches Kickstarter for TV Audio Device
Memphis Business Journal
AfterMaster Audio Labs has set out to reinvent television audio with a unique device, and is seeking the public’s help to fund production. The Scottsdale-based company’s prototype product, AfterMaster TV, helps dialogue stand out louder and clearer among loud music and other sounds, while improving the overall audio. Memphis-born singer, actor and record producer Justin Timberlake was such a fan of AfterMaster he became a co-owner of the company in December 2014. Timberlake joined CEO Larry Ryckman, Aaron Ryckman’s dad, who is known in the business for his expertise in audio production and mastering. AfterMaster is trying to raise $200,000 through a recently-launched Kickstarter campaign that ends Dec. 21. With less than a week under its belt, the campaign has already raised more than half of its goal and has more than 400 backers.

LAUNCH Academy Helps Give Life to Entrepreneurs’ Ideas
The LAUNCH Business Entrepreneurship Academy helped recent graduates get a step closer to their dreams, participant Nancy Green said. “I am so grateful for this program, for those around the table who shared their dreams with me, and for those of you who worked with us [and helped make me] feel brave, more confident and empowered,” she said at last week’s program graduation. LAUNCH is a local nonprofit that aims to empower community members through entrepreneurship, job training and mentorship. Twenty area residents recently graduated from the 10-week entrepreneurship course aimed at adults interested in starting a business and those who have already started one.

Memphis Entrepreneur Fosters, Empowers Creative Community
High Ground News
In 2012, native Memphian Josh Horton launched Hieroglyph, a local apparel and accessories brand. Recognizing the need for creative people to have a place to connect and find support, he launched the annual Creative Works conference, attracting attendees from all over the world for the three day event. Not limiting things to the conference itself, Horton intends for Creative Works to serve as a community building space where creative professionals can find support and year long programming, events, and workshops to assist them in developing and implementing their own businesses. “Memphis is not the best place for creatives as it can be difficult for creative people to find funding for their ventures.” says Horton. “Things like Creative Works empower creative people and give them access to the amenities they need, helps them understood that they are valued here and I hope to see this bleed out into the community as a whole.”

Mike Bradshaw describes the Edney Innovation Center as a “symbolic marker of the progress this city has made in the last five to seven years.” The city the Executive Director of CO.LAB is referencing is obviously Chattanooga, and the Center is the 10-story building that the Tennessee Valley Authority owned for 65 years before it was acquired in May by a group of Scenic City investors. Today, three organizations that are key players in Chattanooga’s vibrant innovation ecosystem have moved into the building. They are CO.LAB, which runs a number of programs including the “GIGTANK”; Society of Work, a two-year old plus organization that outgrew its initial co-working space; and The Enterprise Center, the public-private partnership charged with implementing the vision for the city Innovation District.

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