Thursday, March 27, 2008

Venture Notes

A couple days ago, Brentwood-based Digital Reasoning CEO Tim Estes told the NTC Innovation Conference that Nashville needs some 'big boys' to overcome their risk aversion and step up to fund disruptive technologies. That's Music City's only hope of seizing the lead in healthcare informatics and e-discovery, he argued. He said Nashville's concentration of healthcare information and publishing and entertainment content represents a deep reserve of data analogous to petroleum reserves. Move aggressively now, he warned, or risk the "refinery" being located somewhere else. He spoke in generalities about a planned DRS spin-off and signalled he'd probably raise the money outside Nashville. Note: A 2001 Petra Capital report suggested momentum in key industries like IT, but said most deals are financed outside Nashville.

AT&T, which has a huge and growing footprint in Tennessee, announced earlier this month it has joined a Web 3.0 investment fund focusing on So. Cal. deals. AT&T and State government are in league on broadband, video franchise reform, telehealth and many other initiatives (for hire, of course). Maybe AT&T could be persuaded to bring a little Web 3.0 money and acumen to Middle Tennessee?

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