LaunchTN Southland signals aggressive|
Tennessee entrepreneurial campaign
By Milt Capps updated 31 May
Update: Thirty (30) further startups were added to StartupVillage's lineup through a release from LaunchTN, covered here.-Ed.
SOUTHLAND, the event being staged June 12-13 in Nashville by LaunchTN and allies, is the opening ball in an aggressive campaign to fill Tennessee's entrepreneurial pipeline with talented people and bankable ideas.
Today, May 20, is the deadline for early-stage companies seeking exposure to investors, mentors and potential allies by exhibiting in the event's Startup Village. Fifty such companies will get berths.
Judges, identities not yet disclosed, will dub one entrant "Southland's Most Innovative Startup," and that team will walk-away with $10K and an expanded entrepreneurial network that's probably worth more.
In marked contrast to the often more ephemeral seed-stage companies that course through Tennessee's entrepreneurial capillaries, VNC preliminary research suggests the first 20 residents of Southland's Startup Village have already survived repeated baptisms-of-fire and are very well connected.
Cases-in-point include: Banyan, which won Chattanooga's 2013 GigTank challenge, and was then persuaded in part by Chattanooga Renaissance Fund investment to relocate from Florida to Tennessee.
Plus, Variable Inc., a George Yu-led Chattanooga company that has drawn investment from entrepreneur Stephen Culp, among others. Or, Splitsecnd, long-backed by Solidus' Jumpstart Foundry. And, Quickcue, which has won investment from Chattanooga-based Blank Slate Ventures, among others.
Admission to Startup Village is limited to companies that have less than $3MM revenue (probably a run-rate reference) and have raised no more than $5MM in outside capital (does not count grants, but presumably includes debt and equity raised).
VNC obtained from LaunchTN only the companies' names and has attempted below to provide links to them. Corrections and updates will be made in this story, as warranted.
The event, which was just the glimmer of an idea nine months ago, is prelude to other potentially high-leverage events that should give LaunchTN and its chief sponsor, Tennessee Economic & Community Development (ECD), plenty to crow about early next year in their annual reports and/or 2015 budget testimony.
In fact, Tennessee advocates for tech-driven economic development apparently intend to do more than flirt with Californians: LaunchTN staff have previously reported they are developing a "California strategy" that will "enhance entrepreneurship capital formation and outreach for Tennessee." (Notably, the Southland website was registered by California-based Mike Tatum, a University of Tennessee alumnus who calls Chattanooga home and who has developed an eye-catching Tech/Venture consulting resume of his own.)
Both LaunchTN CEO Charlie Brock and its chairman, ECD Commissioner Bill Hagerty, have made clear that energizing capital formation is a key shared objective.
Not to be overlooked: While the immediate focus is on entrepreneurs and their powerpoints, 2H 2013 is also likely to see a second wave of INCITE co-investment funding and an array of initiatives to help inventors and entrepreneurs seek and win federal grants for tech transfer and commercialization.
Southland's organizers have previously said they believe Southland will attract well over 500 people, with participation of a minimum 70 companies and 80 or more recognized investors.
The twenty initial Southland Startup Village invitees:
American Songspace - Nashville. Link here. Relaunched singer-songwriter and vendor online community. Update 5:26 p.m.: A spokesman for American Songspace says they are "relaunching this summer" and they describe the platform as "a song catalog management system," promising further details, soon.-Ed.
Banyan - Chattanooga (Tampa). Link here. Cloud-based collaboration and e-commerce tool for researchers to securely share data and other information.
Distil Networks - Arlington, Va. Link here. Technology to protect proprietary online content from bots, scrapers, et al.
Do 5 Things - Knoxville. Link here. Energy rebate platform.
Evermind - Nashville. Link here. Ambient assisted living sensor system for supporting eldercare, aging in place and more.
Gatske - Greenville, SC and Walnut Creek, Calif. Link here. Platform helps plan and manage audits.
NextGxDx - Nashville. Link here. Online marketplace for genetic testing.
Populr.me - Nashville. Link here. This Bullpen Ventures-backed spinout from Centresource produces POPs (one-page websites). Related VNC stories.
Quickcue - Chattanooga. Link here. Restaurant table reservation and two-way communication.
Kufikia - Memphis. Link here. A software-learning platform for techies. From the WorkForPie people. Update: a related 23 May Memphis Daily News story is here.
Ridepost - Greenville, SC. Link here. A ride-sharing platform.
Splitsecnd -Nashville. Link here. Connecting motorists and others to emergency response providers.
The Royalty Exchange - Raleigh. Link here. An online market for those who want to buy, sell, license all types of alternative assets and their royalty streams.
Variable Inc. - Chattanooga. Link here. Connects mobile devices via Bluetooth-enabled NODE sensor platform.
Verdeeco - Atlanta. Link here. Smart grid analytics company.
Vipaar - Birmingham. Link here. Think videoconferencing 2.0, with some emphasis on telepresence for training and other interactive purposes.
Beam Technologies - Louisville. Link here. Providers of a manual toothbrush that links via an app to provide a record of dental-hygiene behavior, sold via dentists and other channels.
PatientFocus - Nashville. Link here. Self- and Patient-pay medical billing and collections. (Formerly, PatientCredit.)
Viacycle - Atlanta. Link here. A bicycle-sharing platform and service.
World Housing Solution - Orlando. Link here. Structural insulated composite panels for military and civilian use.
This article will be updated, as warranted. VNC