Four-year-old business incubator Jumpstar Foundry is leaving the Solidus nest to become an independent entity. The venture has raised an undisclosed amount of money from an investor group led by Clayton Associates that will fund both its start-up program and its Jumpwerx arm that looks to stimulate innovation in established businesses. Twenty-one of the 27 JumpStart graduates are still around and have gone on to raise more than $11 million.
For Clayton, the investment rounds out the firm's lineup of investment vehicles. Chairman Stuart McWhorter says his firm “has always been passionate about seed and very early-stage investing. Our investment in Jumpstart provides our firm the opportunity to strengthen our presence in the seed stage investment cycle. It further enhances the continuum of venture capital investing by complementing our angel fund, Rolling Hills Ventures, and our venture capital fund, FCA Venture Partners.”
Junior Achievement USA has hired local organization veteran Andy Schenck to be the curator for Entrepreneurship Experiences for the national organization. Schenck, who has been with JA of Middle Tennessee for nine and a half years, will start his new position with the Colorado-based mothership on Feb. 1. The Cleveland Banner has the details.
Launch Tennessee officials are doubling the number of Venture Match events, which aim to connect technologies and entrepreneurs ready to start new companies based on them, that they will host this year. The Venture Match program was launched last year and hosted six events that were attended by 250 people. A roster of partners that includes Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Vanderbilt University and Memphis Bioworks will help host the 12 events in the 2014 series, while Bass Berry & Sims is the headlining sponsor.
First up is a program focused on medical devices and imaging to be held Feb. 25 at The Proton Therapy Center in Knoxville. Events in Middle and West Tennessee will take place in the spring and summer.
The Nashville chapter of Entrepreneurs' Organization (EO) announced today the addition of 23 new members to its group of Middle Tennessee business owners.
The new members bring a combined $177.34 million in annual sales and 760 full-time employees to the group’s ranks, EO officials said in a release. Though 61 percent of the new member companies call Davidson County home, the new members represent seven different counties in Kentucky and Tennessee.
The Nashville EO chapter — recognized for the past three years as one of the fastest growing EO chapters — has 147 members, which represents at 30 percent year-over-year growth for the chapter. To join, an entrepreneur must be a founder, co-founder, owner or controlling shareholder of a company with gross annual sales exceeding $1 million.
“Entrepreneurs are constantly faced with new challenges and obstacles to success,” Joe Freedman (pictured), president of EO Nashville and co-owner of Music City Tents & Events, said in the release. “By engaging with their peers in organizations like EO, entrepreneurs can learn new skills and ideas to help grow their businesses in healthy and strong ways.”
The 23 new EO Nashville members are as follows:
• Sam Aguiar, founder of Aguiar Law Office PLLC
• Tim Akers, founder and president of Akers Advisory Group LLC
• Tyler Alkins, owner of American Earth Solutions
• Charlie Brock, partner and owner of Four Bridges Capital Advisors
• John Cook Jr., president of Dole Refrigerating Co.
• Chris Crimmins, owner of Crimmins Construction
• Shervin Eftekhari, president of Zander Insurance
• Bill Faeth, co-founder of Inbound Marketing Agents
• Brad Hill, owner of Local Search Masters
• John Huber, co-founder and president, Moo Creative Media Inc.
• Will Huynh, co-founder of Shoe Metro
• Rom Kellis IV, owner of NaturChem Inc.
• David King, president and CEO of King Jewelers
• Brittany Lorenzi, CFO and principal of Cushman & Wakefield | Cornerstone
• Jeff McCorpin, partner and founder of LBMC Technologies
• Wade McMinn, owner and partner of Capital Wealth Advisors LLC
• Bob Murphy, president and founder of RPM Transportation Consultants LLC
• Bethany Newman, co-owner and president of st8mnt
• Jason Patrick, owner of Express Employment Professionals
• Erin Richardson, president and owner of All-American Pest Control Inc.
• Mark Richter, president of MAX Mobility
• John Rosen, owner of Wildkin
• Barry Smith, president and co-founder of Eakin Partners LLC
Hill, Huber and Newman all join EO Nashville as alumnae of EO Nashville’s Catalyst program. Catalyst provides classes, peer-to-peer forum groups and mentorship and is designed to help entrepreneurs grow their companies past the key benchmark of $1 million in annual sales.
The Entrepreneurs' Organization has more than 9,500 business owners in 131 chapters and more than 40 countries.
The people behind Inc. magazine will next May bring to downtown Nashville one of their GROWCO conferences. The lineup isn't yet set in stone and registration will open next month, Milt Capps has some more details, including a look back at past conferences that featured former President Bill Clinton, Richard Branson and Guy Kawasaki.
Launch Tennessee, the state's entrepreneurship assistance initiative, said it has relaunched a program helping Tennesseans land grant funding to help them bring new technology to market. The so-called Phase 0/00 Program, for which the state has contracted with Grow Emerging Companies LLC, lets small businesses apply for federal Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer grant or contract funding. The grants are made in two phases, with the first (six-month) award typically staying under $150,000 and the second being up to $1 million over two years.
“Our Phase 0/00 Program has already helped two companies win SBIR/STTR grants, and we’re working with several promising applicants now,” said Jim Stefansic, director of commercialization. “Our goal is to help Tennessee companies win these awards at a rate twice as high as the national average and to make sure Phase I winners become Phase II winners.”
Check out more info here.
The Entrepreneur Center and the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce this week hosted the annual NEXT Awards dinner to celebrate the region's entrepreneurial ecosystem. Among the winners are well-known companies such as Qualifacts and Parallon, as well as fresher faces such as Virsys12. Check out the full list here.
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