Sunday, May 31, 2009

Economy: Tennessee's been told

An Associated Press economic stress report out today in The Washington Post makes clear the linkages between improving higher-ed, tech-industry concentration, healthcare and quality-of-life amenities and the future well-being of states and communities. A key question raised: Whether Sun Belt states, in particular, will generate revenue necessary to improve and sustain education. One AP Photo caption accompanying the Post story notes, "Despite the current recession, Nashville has continued to be a Mecca for music recording and production." Meanwhile, Gov. Phil Bredesen has been pressing to focus state efforts on improving the University of Tennessee's standing as a national research university, and today's report in the Times Free Press provides perspective on that issue, which looms large in Tennessee's future. (Photo: AP via WashPost)

Saturday, May 30, 2009

There's a pony in there, somewhere

We're thinking that the July 1 advent of new E-discovery rules for attorneys practicing in Tennessee will probably spawn further bid-ness opportunities. Ideas, anyone, anyone? Here's a timely article from the TBA Journal, penned by Baker Donelson's Lawrence Maxwell.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Pat Emery now free agent

Our guess is Pat Emery, who for more than a decade has run Crescent commercial real-estate development in MidTN and who has been one of the city's 'usual civic suspects' in numerous initiatives -- though often outdone by mate Kitty Moon Emery -- will upon leaving Crescent quickly hookup with those developers who are looking to snatch-up distressed real-estate assets (See our latest Newsbits). Emery was elevated to handle all Crescent Resources commercial biz, just a year ago. The NBJ broke the news of Emery's departure from Crescent, this morning. Crescent, itself, has become something of a distressed property, losing deals, halting projects and now flirting with bankruptcy.

Forbes: Dell Inc. could be in 'buy or be bought' mode

[Updated June 5, 2009, 8:55 a.m.] With its stock and book value under pressure, Forbes reports Dell's recent hire of an M&A exec from IBM (drawing an IBM noncompete lawsuit) could mean Dell does a few small deals to complement its data-storage biz, or could mean Dell will use those deal-making skills to sell itself, to someone like Apple, which has plenty of cash on-hand. Updated: Lebanon city officials are pressing Dell to restore jobs cut at its assembly plant there, claiming Dell is abrogating a deal cut in 2000, WTVF NewsChannel 5 reports.

Memphis science academy gets new leader

Updated May 30: The Memphis Academy of Science and Engineering, which is sponsored by the Memphis BioWorks Foundation, has selected its new leader, after a national search: Harold Wingood (at left) was previously associate provost at Clark University, Worcester, Mass. Memphis Daily News reports. Here in Nashville, a proposal to create a charter school focused on science and technology failed three consecutive years. A Metro Nashville Public Schools committee ruled the proposal subpar, each year. Update: The CA reports that the success of MASE is helping spur charter-school reform legislation in the General Assembly.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Chatter update: Nashville Medical Trade Center

Whether or not it riles every real-estate executive in Cleveland, Crow Holdings' Market Center Management Company continues to fuel talk of a Medical Trade Center in Nashville: In the latest rarticle, this writer notes the influence of the Nashville Health Care Council. A year ago, VNC reported on Robert Thompson's efforts to launch World Trade Center Nashville.

Council Ventures leads New Day round

Four-year-old New Day Pharmacy, based here, got a $10MM booster shot recently, when Nashville-based VC Council Ventures led a financing round. The item is here.

Robotic Surgery Society formed in Memphis

Memphis Robotic Surgery Society's 30 robotic-surgery users apparently all use the da Vinci system they purchased from Sunnyvale-Calif.-based Intuitive Surgical Inc., according to the CA. An Intuitive spokesperson could not readily say yesterday whether there were similar societies elsewhere in Tennessee. She said Intuitive supports such groups ad hoc, as part of its sales promotion efforts, but the company is not directly involved in forming such groups. Nashville-based Pathfinder Therapeutics operates in a similar space, but no response from them, yet, regarding similar outreach efforts.

Energy notes: May 28, 2009

Bay Area-based Bloom Energy will test fuel cell at Chattanooga, KNS reports here. At Knox econ-tech summit, Wamp, Haslam plump for governor, Alexander pushes nuclear. And NPR WPLN reports on Tennessee's biofuels initiative advancing tech development.

Page new chief at ORAU, ORNL opens lab

Oak Ridge Associated Universities announced a new presidential appointment from inside, with the nod going to D.C.-based VP Andy Page. Meanwhile, the KNS also reports ORNL, itself, broke ground on a new "shovel-ready" chemistry lab, thanks to Stim funding. allies in Brentwood

Brentwood-based Sharepoint Solutions says it has augmented its products to integrate with An alliance with Salesforce is at the heart of another local tech company, Avankia. The two companies happen to reside in the same office building, but apparently have had no prior dealings with one another.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Ingram mashup continues

Ingram's announcement this week of consolidation of its traditional and digital publishing divisions into Ingram Content Group was foreshadowed a year ago by the elimination of Kirby Best's job as CEO of the former Lightning Source unit. The latest move also takes out Frank Daniels (left), who'll vacate post as chief commercial officer for Ingram Digital and president of VitalSource Technologies. Daniels was accorded the CCO title in February this year. Daniels is a former digital-newspaper pioneer with the Raleigh News & Observer, which was founded by his ancestors. Daniels outlined his background in a recent self-nomination to an e-publishing industry board. Here's the interview his did with The Futurist, less than a year ago.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Software firm in The Boro offers RCM suite

ClaimTrust, based in Murfreesboro, announced today its Insight Revenue Cycle Solution, a suite of software tools and services for revenue cycle management, a hot sector.

Eastate Update

Eastate: As Volkswagen training begins in Chattanooga, Math and teamwork skills are paramount... UT bizplan competition honed plans for three tech ventures in IT services, video gaming and online travel services... Slamdot, Inc. founder Sean Christman, a web-hosting innovator, was named Young Entrepreneur of the Year by the Knoxville Chamber... Investors say Bemote Technologies defrauded them in online social-networking venture... Claris Networks, the 16-month-old Rodefer Moss spinout, announced CEO Paul Sponcia left to pursue other interests, named Larry Bodie CEO... Compulsive, fraud-prone CEO of Procynet tech-services firm gets five years in prison, and 100 of his employees lose their jobs.

Westate Update

Westate: Memphis BioWorks Foundation President Steve Bares (at left) in the CA chronicled the vibrant history and prospects of entrepreneurism in Memphis, and explained the linchpin role of the new TECworks program in developing future ventures... In Collierville, Medical Software Design and Marketing LLC developed and launched Vitesst, for test-result alerts and records access. Related MBJ story.

NEWSBITS May 26, 2009

Yes, it's too much, but we had to get it out: The update on where Harry Jacobson will hang his hat. The new HEALTH analyst at Avondale. A $2MM raise underway at supersecret Universal Robotics. The new billionaire added to the VU Board of Trust. A lawyer warns of antitrust actions. And, helpful links on Claridge, Signal Hill, Chrysalis, Solidus, PureSafety, Petra, Emdeon, Southeast Capital and others. How do we do it?! (Should we do it? You decide. It's all here.)

Berman bets on online contract-management venture

Michael Berman (left) oversaw enough contracts at Goldleaf Financial Solutions to convince him there had to be a better way to keep track of all the paper. So, he wrote a song about it...uh, No, he created a Tech startup, attracted Angel money and the rest is...not yet history. Read our story here.

Aegis Sciences muscles-up for Growth

Aegis founder David Black (left) has been at it 23 years, and running his own show since 1990. Now, he's fast-approaching a 200-person workforce and adds a key medico-politico executive to his bench. Read the story here.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Techies Tout Trees for Tomorrow

Seeing this KNS article about a father-daughter project to create a social-networking site that plants a tree each time someone subscribes (aided by PlantIt2020) reminded me of Emma's tree-planting push, in coordination with Trees for the Future. Gotta love the Green-Giveback-PayItForward climate change we're experiencing.

Venture capital bill advances in TN Gen. Assembly

Things could change, but the odds now seem high in favor of Tennessee lawmakers' submitting to Gov. Phil Bredesen a provision that would leverage insurance companies' premium-tax obligations to direct pools of capital toward early-stage ventures based inside the state. A tax-credit would be the incentive vehicle. If it doesn't happen this spring, in our judgment, it's still likely, however it might be modified, before July 1, 2010. See these links for an update on the bill's progress in the General Assembly and a sampling of VC comments.

NEWSBITS May 1, 2009

Nithin Akuthota (left) is the new executive director of TN-based Energy, Technology & Environmental Business Association. Other news in our roundup touches on Digital Reasoning, nTelagent, Miller Energy, Smokefree Innotec, and many others... Click here for today's NEWSBITS.

Informatics Corporation of America

Our recent story on ICA makes clear that there's at least one Health technology firm with an eye on the IPO market, over the horizon. Read about it here.