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Entrepreneurship: Nashville's dueling Venture events create quandary
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Next Tuesday, competing entrepreneurship events at Belmont and Vanderbilt may give new meaning to the term "rush hour."

Coincidentally, at 5:30 p.m. on March 31 two local entrepreneurship events anchored by separate local angel-investor groups will compete for audiences.

The events begin simultaneously: FastPitch Nashville holds the third and final session in its series of venture-pitch events at Belmont University - while over at Vanderbilt University the Owen Entrepreneurship Association gavels into life a seminar on bootstrapping.

Among the mainstays of the counter-programmed events are the Angel Capital Group and Nashville Capital Network. Neither event charges admission nor requires advance registration.

The NCN-supported "Financing Your Company: Bootstrapping as an Alternative to Venture Capital" will commence in the Flynn Auditorium of Vanderbilt University's School of Law.

A mile or so away at Belmont, ACG-supported "Fastpitch" trots out a dozen entrepreneurs who have 60 seconds each to pitch their venture ideas to a panel of judges. The session culminates a series that included workshops and rehearsals for scores of would-be finalists. FastPitch organizers say they will stream the session live via their blog.

The VU-based bootstrapping panel includes Jonathan Bragdon, president, Tricycle Inc. (Chattanooga); Cordia Harrington, CEO, Tennessee Bun Company; Carter McNabb (right), the Cincinnati-based managing director, healthcare-practice lead and Owen GSM alumnus with River Cities Capital Funds; and, Clint Smith, Founding Partner, Emma. Panel moderator is Steve Wood, an attorney with Baker, Donelson, Bearman Caldwell & Berkowitz.

At FastPitch, the judges fielding the twelve entrepreneurs' pitches will be Solidus Company VC Vic Gatto; Belmont entrepreneurship Assistant Professor Mark Schenkel; and, entrepreneur Debbie Gordon (left), best known for launching SnappyAuctions, an eBay auction-services company.

Both FastPitch and the Bootstrapping events have garnered strong sponsor support. FastPitch sponsors are anchored by Belmont University College of Business Administration's Center for Entrepreneurship; Bradley Arant Boult Cummings; and, the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, among others. The Vanderbilt Entrepreneurship Association (VEA) is supported by Owen Entrepreneurship Center and NCN, among others.

The companies scheduled to present during FastPitch are:

  • Air Compresser (Eric Jolly)
  • Dual Tailgate (Cameron Lee)
  • GPS Assassins (Jackson Miller)
  • Hot Water System (Joel Bruerd)
  • Houselens.com Inc. (Andrew Crefeld)
  • InkFlip LLC (Andy Sperry)
  • Kanga Chair (Mary Harvey)
  • Lifetime Reel (John Price)
  • My College Road Trip (Michael Oyler)
  • Students & Startups (Justin Davis)
  • V-Flex Corporation (Tim Nicely)
  • Vintage Graphs LLC (Dan Simpson) ♦

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