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NewsBits, April 18, 2011
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Commercialization: Vanderbilt University School of Engineering Center for Intelligent Mechatronics (CIM): Irvine, Calif.-based Freedom Innovations announced worldwide licensing of the Vanderbilt Powered Knee & Ankle System, which contains microelectronics to enable amputees to communicate intelligently with the prosthesis, improving gait, safety, recovery and quality of life. Terms of the FI-VU agreement were not announced. The release is here. Vanderbilt recently confirmed it plans to revamp tech transfer and recruit a new assistant vice chancellor for the domain. VNC research indicates that process continues.


Petra Capital partner David Fitzgerald told VNC proceeds from a planned $1.3 million raise will "fund growth initiatives including new sales people" within New Century Hospice. NCH founder-CEO David Gasmire, former founder-CEO of Odyssey Healthcare (bought by Gentiva) was party to the raise. Petra's site says of NCH, in part, "Petra co-led a $20 million growth capital investment in partnership with Scale Venture Partners and founding management. Petra invested $4 million of preferred stock and $8 million of subordinated debt to finance acquisitions." The filing indicated NCH had under $5MM revenue, at that time. An attorney with Hiersche, Hayward, Drakeley & Urbach handled the filing.

Lipscomb University's Institute for Sustainable Practice's April 21-22 Summit at the Nashville Convention Center includes the 2nd Annual Green Business Leadership Awards, prominent sustainability speakers and an Earth Day appearance by Metro/Nashville Mayor Karl Dean.


During a Vanderbilt University Owen Graduate School of Management Alumni Weekend event April 16, Dean Jim Bradford introduced Owen's Rewrite the Rules marketing campaign with a video (link). Also announced: The first Germain Böer Seed Scholarship in Entrepreneurship is to be awarded this summer to an OGSM student. Fundraising for the scholarship has been led by consultant and entrepreneur Eric Hall (Owen MBA '78). A new Hans R. Stoll Scholarship has been created by Thomas Ho, a fellow OGSM faculty member and founder of Thomas Ho Company. Alumni Dale Leon and Wesley Murry, hedge-fund partners in The Sagebrush Fund (Lexington, Denver) announced they endowed The Sagebrush Fund scholarship at Owen. Bradford also announced the first OGSM Distinguished Alumni Award, conferred on David Ingram, chairman and president of Ingram Entertainment. Bradford also told assembled alumni Owen expects to exceed its current $60MM fundraising goal, before July.


Death, taxes and leaking toilets: The three constants. Jim Brackett aims to capitalize on the latter with LeakBeeper, a wired or wireless sensing device based on Ghertner Automation technology, for which Brackett says he has an exclusive sales agreement. Water savings are documented and 1Q 2011 sales were nearly $80K, up from about $29K full-year 2010, Brackett told VNC. Prior to focusing on LeakBeeper, Brackett says he owned two businesses in the ink and toner cartridge space, and sold one to Total Print in 2008. Brackett estimates he needs $750K for capex, debt retirement and working capital.

Zach Linn

Squish adVenture: Hendersonville resident Zach Linn, 22, recently won the VolCourt business-plan competition for the Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation in the College of Business at UT, from which he aims to graduate in 2012. His offering? The flexible, resilient and hence collapsible Squish Water Bottle. He'll next be taking Squish into the Knox County Development Corporation competition. He wouldn't divulge Squish details for publication, but sufficeth to say he's searching for a manufacturer and looking into patents. He's also exploring a social-media idea (which sounded pretty good, but not for publication, yet). Long-term plans? One scenario: corporate intrapreneur.

Nashville Post's Erin Lawley reports the sale US Radiosurgery to listed Alliance Oncology should mean broader, not less operations here. The Heritage Group portfolio company recently sold in a transaction valued at $54MM. Now a Nashville-based division of the parent, US Radiosurgery's 2011 revenues could reach $73MM, according to a release on the deal.

Goba LLC ("Get Out. Be Active."), a Nashville social-media startup led by John Dayani Jr., has allied with Aegis Health Group, to support customers' health and wellness-oriented outreach efforts. Release here.

InVivolink (Nashville) says its new Orthopod application optimized for iPad2 provides physicians personalized device registry and practice-pattern data, release here. The iPad is rapidly penetrating the Memphis healthcare delivery system. The MDN reports.

Chief Investment Officer: Chattanooga-based Unum Group named Ms. Breege Farrell its CIO. Farrell's previous career stops included Nomura, Prudential, UBS, Kidder Peabody, JP Morgan, Chemical Bank. She holds degrees from Emory and NYU's Stern School, said Unum's 12 April release. Unum was one of the insurance companies that participated in the TNInvestco capital-formation program.

Robin Crow

Music: Mid-TN's Dark Horse Recording Studio founder Robin Crow told a Memphis Music Foundation audience the industry must innovate or die. His high-touch recording studio is a case-in-point, he says. The CA reports it. Crow is guitarist, entrepreneur and "high-octane" speaker, as well.

Broadband Battles: AT&T and Tennessee Cable Telecommunications Association apparently managed to quash the Electric Power Board of Chattanooga's (EPB) legislative initiative to allow a half-dozen Tennessee utilities to extend their broadband infrastructure outside their home counties. The TFP has it. On April 12, VNC research shows, Gov. Bill Haslam signed into law legislation (HB574/SB598) that reduces payments by AT&T and other carriers to rural cooperative phone companies for connecting long-distance calls; WPLN reported AT&T Tennessee President Greg Morton said the state should look at increasing subsidies for broadband, instead.

Mark Silverman, editor of The Tennessean, said in a column yesterday some of the paper's staff are being reassigned to a regional content design center that will serve a number of Gannett media outlets in the region, including The Tennessean. A stock analyst with Noble Financial carries a Buy on Gannett (GCI) and said in a research report the stock carries a target price of $25 (it's below $14.30 this morning) and a target EPS multiple of 11.1, still below GCI's 15-year average trading range, versus its current 6.5X, said the analyst.

The Securities & Exchange Commission will consider regulatory tweaks that could ease pre-IPO communications, and will consider the impact of social media on capital raises, mull increasing the number of investors who may be solicited in private offerings, and related matters. This action apparently in response to a congressional query. The NYT reports.

Belmont University's recent agreement with HealthStream to development instructional content for manikin-based simulations for clinical education may be just the beginning. Belmont has the largest simulation facility in Nashville, said Beth Fentress Hallmark, Ph.D., RN, director of simulation for the College of Health Sciences at Belmont. Eventually, said Hallmark, Belmont may offer broader educational content to share with other postsecondary institutions. HealthStream recently announced paying $3.5 million at closing for a 50 percent equity stake in publisher Laerdal's Advanced Video System, which will soon evolve into SimView, a tool that, according to a HealthStream release, "captures video of the simulation activities, simulator log files, and vital signs from the advanced patient simulators so that simulation instructors can debrief students on their educational experiences with simulation activities." Earlier, HealthStream and Laerdal announced they were collaborating to create the SimCenter platform for simulation offerings, explaining that a content developers network included Belmont, the National League for Nursing, American Academy of Pediatrics, Health Care Simulation South Carolina (USA); Oxford Brookes University and SAFER Simulation Center (Europe); and Edith Cowan University (Australia); and many more." Hallmark said HealthStream's simulation services will be presented to HealthStream customers during the company's annual summit, in May. VNC

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Tags: Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, AT&T, Belmont University, Beth Fentress Hallmark, Breege Farrell, broadband, business plan, capital raises, commercialization, computer-based education, conservation, Dale Leon, Dark Horse Recording, David Fitzgerald, David Gasmire, David Ingram, environment, EPB, Eric Hall, Freedom Innovations, Gannett, Germain Böer, Ghertner Automation, Hans Stoll, Heritage Group, Hiersche Hayward Drakeley Urbach, Ingram Entertainment, instruction, InVivoLink, ISO Capital, Jim Brackett, Jim Bradford, Laerdal, LeakBeeper, Lipscomb University, Mark Silverman, New Century Hospice, NewsBits, nursing, Owen Graduate School of Management, Petra Capital, postsecondary, publishing, research and development, Robin Crow, Sagebrush Fund, School of Engineering, SEC, securities, simulation, sponsored research, sustainability, technology transfer, Tennessee Cable Telecommunications Association, The Tennessean, Thomas Ho, TNInvestco, University of Tennessee, Unum, US Radiosurgery, Vanderbilt University, Venture Notes, Wesley Murry, Zach Linn

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