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Noted: StartupTN launches state's first startup database
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Jean Case

StartupTN yesterday formally launched what seems to be the state's first public startup database, currently including more than 200 seed- through private-equity stage companies and companies that have been sold or closed.

The statewide database is striking -- and it is clearly in its infancy: In addition to more than 200 active or exited ventures, it shows only two closed firms, both Middle Tennessee natives: DigiScript and Plumgood Food.

The formal unveiling of the database occurred yesterday, amid events celebrating the one-year anniversary of Startup America and the launching of Startup Tennessee.

Michael Burcham

In addition to StartupTN CEO Michael Burcham, leaders visiting the Nashville Entrepreneur Center yesterday included Jean Case, CEO of the Case Foundation, which partnered with Kauffman Foundation to create Startup America. Case's husband is Steve Case, co-founder of AOL and founder and Chairman of Startup America. Tennessee was the second to launch of what is now 17 state regional Startup America-linked partnerships.

Yesterday's program included remarks from Case on the importance of social innovation, as well as sessions on innovation and technology entrepreneurship, social entrepreneurship and challenges facing women entrepreneurs.

Responding to a reporter's question, Case affirmed that she believes Startup America is the broadest pro-entrepreneurship initiative undertaken by a public-private partnership in the nation's history.

During remarks to local news media, Burcham stressed StartupTN's progress in preparing five of the state's nine regional accelerators, which have received some state economic and community development funding, to become operational. VNC research indicates most of the accelerators have not yet finalized their grant contracts with ECD Commissioner Bill Hagerty.

Burcham also said he envisions one or more new seed funds emerging in the state in 2012, and he suggested that parties he did not identify may be considering creating a fund of funds, to address the state's shortage of entrepreneurial capital.

The program at the NEC also included Pam Contag, CEO of Springboard Enterprises, the national organization for women entrepreneurs; and, Ingrid Vanderveldt, who is entrepreneur in residence for Dell and an entrepreneurship consultant. David Jahns, managing partner for Galen Partners (the Stamford, Conn.-based private-equity fund), is scheduled to make a presentation today at the NEC. Galen sponsors the NEC's healthcare vertical programming, as previously reported by VNC.

Scant mention was made during yesterday's program regarding a push this week by President Barack Obama for legislation The White House believes will induce more entrepreneurship and innovation, as reported by VentureBeat.

Monday evening, Jan. 30, the NEC hosted social entrepreneurship author and consultant Stephen Goldsmith, who is on the faculty of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and is author of the book The Power of Social Innovation - How Civic Entrepreneurs Ignite Community Networks for Good (JosseyBass). VNC

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Tags: Bill Hagerty, Case Foundation, database, David Jahns, DigiScript, entrepreneurs, Galen Partners, Ingrid Vanderveldt, investment, Jean Case, Kauffman Foundation, Michael Burcham, Pam Contag, Plumgood Food, private equitiy, Startup America, Startup Tennessee, startups, StartupTN, Stephen Case, Steve Case, women

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