Thursday, December 31, 2009

Entrepreneur, former FedEx CIO found dead

Dennis Jones, a Memphian who founded Collierville-based Securas Consulting Group LLC in the IT field, and a former EVP-CIO at FedEx, where he worked 25 years, was found dead, the CA reports. Among other roles, he was co-chairman of Commerce One; and, once led SiValley investment company Accel-KKR, as CEO. Securas had a RIF, a year ago, according to MBJ. Upon leaving Fedex, Jones cut an interesting deal. In the wake of the Dot-com bust, Jones offered his views of where e-biz was headed. Jones served a term as president of the Global Trading Web Association, an e-commerce group.

Updating Chattem lawsuits

As posted here a week ago, lawsuits challenging the valuation of Chattanooga-based Chattem, in a sale to a French company, continue. Times Free Press reports.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

FDA scrutiny of new Med devices

The New York Times reports the FDA is being challenged to strengthen its review of clinical-trials data for efficacy and danger of new medical devices, following allegations of inadequate rigor in reviewing trials.

SurgiVision's IPO dream

Memphis-based SurgiVision Inc., which provides technology that makes possible a better MRI look-see into the brain or heart, is awaiting an FDA authorization for advancing its product, and, beyond that, hopes to launch an IPO to raise about $30MM. The CA reports. The company, led by former Morgan Keegan PE director Kimble Jenkins, has 20 employees and is allied with Siemens and Boston Scientific. SEC filing.

NASA looks to Gordon's Science Committee for help

The Daily News Journal (Gannett) reports that NASA, inevitably, is looking to Murfreesboro Democrat U.S. Rep. Bart Gordon, who chairs the House science committee, for help in getting funds needed to sustain NASA's interplanetary ambitions.

ORNL serves other agencies

Although working mainly within the Energy arena as a creature of the U.S. Department of Energy, in FY09 Oak Ridge National Lab earned nearly $500MM from non-DOE angencies, including at least $80MM from Homeland Security. Frank Munger of KNS reports it.

VW supplier park financing

Volkswagen's efforts to line-up Bank of America financing of its new supplier park advanced further this week, and it seems alles gut. The TFP reports.

Memphis BioWorks recaps '09

Memphis BioWorks Foundation President Steve Bares reviews achievements of 2009, and they are considerable.

MobileNews: iPhone credicard app, Google announcement

Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey is reportedly part of a startup called Square, that proposes to enable street vendors, individuals settling lunch tabs and others to use their iPhones for credit-card transactions. The AP via Mercury News reports it. Meanwhile, Google is having a press conference Tuesday, Jan. 5, to announce what some suspect may be an unlocked Android that lets consumers pick their wireless provider. Read it here. The Washington Post's Pegoraro says smart phones were the top Tech story of 2009.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Bechtel Jacobs stymied at ORNL sites

Bechtel Jacobs has not been able to complete demolition of contaminated sites at Oak Ridge NL, and no further contract extensions are planned for the firm. A new contractor is to be brought in by 2011. Frank Munger of the KNS reports.

NTC invites donations to funds

Nashville Technology Council yesterday announced creation of two funds, one to support postsecondary scholarships for students interested in technology, the other to support charitable technology-oriented works in the community. The NTC release is here. The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee will administer the funds. Related VNC story on CFMT's Ellen Lehman.

Knox-based Skysa's web apps

Knoxville-based Skysa announced today its new web-app tool bar.

Gov. Bredesen views '09 progress

Gov. Phil Bredesen yesterday released his recap of 2009 milestones, Tom Humphrey of the KNS provides it here.

Monday, December 28, 2009

McLaren draws on HealthStream stake

Our hunch is that Jeff McLaren's (at left) reported recent selling of $469K in HealthStream stock was to help advance his new startup, recently reported by VNC: Medaxion, which aims to help anesthesiologists capture charges via the iPhone platform. The City Paper reports today McLaren's sale, as part of the paper's review of public-companies' insiders' sales and purchases in 2009. McLaren is a co-founder and board member at NASDAQ-listed HSTM.

UT Research Foundation seeks investors

University of Tennessee Research Foundation seeks investors for a new endoscopy simulation system (patent applied) for use by veterinarians. The KNS reports.

ORNL mum about NSA ties

Well, the Congressional delegation says Oak Ridge NL got $8MM to help the National Security Agency, but other than signals that the work is supercomputing- and algorithm-related, we'll not be hearing more, anytime soon. Frank Munger relays it.

Vanderbilt Med breakthroughs, 2000-09

The decade now-ending saw Vanderbilt University Medical Center the site of numerous achievements in science, technology and institution-building. The VUMC Reporter has the story.

More on Orthobanc acquisition

The Times Free Press provides more info on the recent Orthobanc acquisition of another company's software, to improve Ortho'd offerings to orthodontists and dentists who need paymens-processing help.

Clean-energy business push

There's no immediate indication of which business executives, if any, have signed-aboard Tennessee Business Leaders for a Clean Energy Economy, but here's the group's new site.

Tips for Job Seekers

Rick Ross (left) of Nashville Global Partners LLC (NGP), an IT staffing firm in Middle Tennessee, provides some encouraging comments for job-seekers in Tennessee. Message: Take action, network, be relisient. The Tennessean has it.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Memphian brings 'rebirth of vinyl' records

George Merrill of the Analog Emporium in Memphis is introducing a new turntable that is definitely the state of the art in vinyl-record players. The CA reports.

ConnectedTN benefits from Feds' ARRA grant

ConnectedTN is the main beneficiary of a Federal Stimulus grant to the State of Tennessee. Gov. Bredesen announced Dec. 23 that U.S. Commerce's NTIA has granted TN $1.8MM to expand and advance broadband-infrastructure mapping, which has been underway several years by ConnectedTN.

Jaguar, Kraken hookup unlikely

Despite the extraordinary supercomputing speed the match might yield, ORNL's Jaguar and Kraken supercomputers are said unlikely to be wed, because they serve different purposes, as-is. Frank Munger reports in KNS.

TN colleges eye e-books

The TFP reports Tennessee colleges and universities are taking a closer look at adopting e-books.

Friday, December 25, 2009

MIT Tech Review: Insecurity in The Cloud

David Talbott, writing in MIT Technology Review (Jan/Feb) says The Cloud is easily penetrated and user trust has not yet been earned.

Ingram Digital news

Ingram Content Group Chief Strategy Officer James Gray (at left) is leaving Ingram next week, three years after his companies, Coutts Information and MyiLibrary, were bought by Ingram. Ingram Digital is among adoptees of Adobe technology to product e-pub products.

Health consortium gets NIH grant

A Memphis health consortium is targeting health challenges that confront ethnic minorities, supported by a $1.3MM NIH grant. The CA reports.

Stimulus funds in TN

The KNS reports on Anderson County's top-15 ranking in ARRA funds among all U.S. counties, with comment on Oak Ridge NL's intake and other data.

Green Mountain Coffee perks-up in Knox County

Vermont-based Green Mountain Coffee continues to expand its roasting and distribution operations in Knox County. The KNS reports.

Memphis M.D. caveats EMRs

In a letter to the CA, a writer identified as Guy Voeller, M.D., argues there are too many federal officials with industry ties to Cerner, Allscripts, et al, and taht EMRs can pose a danger to patients. He cautions against rampant spending for EHR/EMR.

FedEx may expand Memphis continental hub

Memphis Daily News reports FedEx may expand its Memphis hub operations further, solidifying its sanding alongside Charles De Gaulle airport in Paris and Guangzhou Baiyun in China.

FTC scrutinizes Google acquisition

The Federal Trade Commission may slow or even kill Google's proposed purchase of mobile-advertising player AdMob. Google's previous big buys have included YouTube and DoubleClick. The AP reports via KNS. eWeek's Google Watch also has it. eWeek also weighs-in on the hiccup or derailment of Google's acquisition talks with Yelp.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Nashville's Smokefree says sales igniting

Nashville-based Smokefree Innotec earlier this month said it projects more than $9MM in revenue during the 1Q10, thanks to sales penetration in Belgiam, Luxembourg and Netherlands. Not known: Whether Smokefree is among backers of new e-cigs website. VNC's earlier 2009 coverage of activities of Evert Wilbrink and Thomas Schroepfer within the 3-year-old company is here. Meanwhile, Springhill, Tenn.-based McDonald-Webb has been advertising its locally manufactured SparkPlug e-cig (kit shown at left).

Scripps sells UK website

Scripps Interactive yesterday announced selling its UK-based energy-shopping website for consumers -- dubbed uSwitch -- to privately held and UK-based Forward Internet Group. The KNS reviews some of Scripps' recent M&A activity.

VW VP and BoA boost reported

Bank of America will probably play a role supporting the supplier park being developed as home for an estimated nine companies, at the Volkswagen site in Enterprise South Park, at Chattanooga. and TFP report it. The TFP reported, meanwhile, that former VW-US director of corporate communications Jill Brattina (left) has been promoted to VP, and she will integrate both corporate and brand communications in the States.

Folks waiting on Bredesen Biofuels news

A widely published AP story points out that there's been no word on the biofuels investment initiative anticipated by the Bredesen Administration.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Chattem's sale to French

Chattanooga-based Chattem has been acquired by a French company, Sanofi-Aventis, which sells Allegra, among other drugs. Chattanooga will now become the U.S. headquarters of Sanofi. The TFP reports. Chattem (Selsun Blue, etc.) will become Sanofi's marketing expert. A Dallas-based law firm announced Dec. 23 it is exploring a class-action lawsuit.

StartMySong allied with Bandbox

StartMySong has allied with Bandbox to integrate the Bandbox music e-commerce widget to enable singer-songwriters with StartMySong pages to sell their demos and fully produced songs. Today's release here. Earlier VNC coverage on Bandbox here.

Former CEO sues Luminetx

Former CEO Richard Kindberg, fire by Luminetx after the company announced its asset sale, is suing the company, according to Memphis Daily News.

Lavidge in Knox '40 under 40'

Alex Lavidge (left), the entrepreneur and what we believe Disney once termed "imagineer," is among the 40 Under 40 in the Knoxville Business Journal (KNS). Among other pursuits Lavidge launched KnoxvilleOverground and has offered to help launch similar operations in Nashville. VNC's earlier coverage, here.

Startup leverages ORNL sensor technology

San Diego-based startup Seacoast Science is said to be avoiding VCs and relying, instead, on government funding to embed its ORNL-originated chemical-sensing technologies in cell phones, according to Xconomy. Getting those cell phones into the hands of first-responders would be a priority, when the product is ready for market.

ORNL funding looks bright in 2010

Thanks to relief through ARRA funds, Oak Ridge National Laboratory's partnerships director Tom Ballard (left) sees good things ahead. R&D reports. Related: KNS columnist Frank Munger reports on uncertainty around decision on extending or competing UT-Battelle contract.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

HMS in IBM deal

Nashville-based Healthcare Management Systems is among four leading electronic healthcare records (EHR) providers that have joined IBM Global Financing, to offer new private financing for health IT purchases. Siemens, Lavender & Wyatt and SCC Soft Computer are the other firms. The IBM release is here.

CEG staffer may launch startup

Shawn Carson, a staff member at the Center for Entrepreneurial Growth within Tech2020 in the Oak Ridge-Knox area, tells the KNS he may convert his program within the nonprofit to a commercial enterprise to help educate and innovate entrepreneurs.

Cook Systems lands Metro IT contract

Memphis-based Cook Systems has won an IT services and staffing contract withe Metro Nashville government, according to the Commercial Appeal.

VU scientist sees crisis in drug discovery

Jeff Conn (left), Ph.D., director of Vanderbilt University's program in Drug Discovery, sees a crisis in pharmaceuticals, in which business models and academic insularity don't mix. Read about here.

Health Care Council's '09 Wrapup

Nashville Health Care Council announced today it's new family tree chart is coming out, and the association provided a review of major events of 2009, including TNInvestco, IPOs, mid-TN startups and expansions, et cetera. Here's the NHCC release.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Dobie makes best of missing Tennessean job

We're not sure it was ever confirmed, but it's widely believed that Bruce Dobie, of whom we write in today's story about a B-round cap raise for Dobie Media, may've benefited by the door closing at The Tennessean a few years ago, when he was rumored to have been considered a finalist for the editorship at The TSN, after he and his partner sold Nashville Scene. Here's our story on the capital raise and background on Dobie.

New marketing text from Owen faculty

[Corrected link] Owen Graduate School of Management Assoc. Dean and Prof. Dawn Iacobucci (left) has produced MM, a new interactive marketing-management textbook. VU release here.

Cybera picks Scorecard exec

Franklin-based Cybera picked a former Investment Scorecard and Ticketmaster executive, David Lafontaine, to be its new VP for its customer resource group. Release here.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Hemlock Semi synergies

Business Editor Jimmy Settle of the Leaf-Democrat explains how Hemlock Semiconductor's presence in Clarksville will attract additional employers, as has a similar operation in Michigan. The L-D (Gannett) has it.

Cancer-detection breakthrough

As the 70-year-old CEO of EDP Biotech Corp. in Knoxville, Tom Boyd (at left, in shirt from another venture) must be an interesting guy, and his firm probably deserves the sudden buzz they're getting, as a result of their announcement Friday, which read in part, saying the company has introduced a "revolutionary new technology for a simple blood test to detect early-stage colon cancer. Following the success of its pre-clinical trials for the ColoMarker™ assay, EDP has filed a patent on the biomarker, CA11-19, and all aspects of its use. Via an inexpensive blood test, ColoMarker™ will detect colon cancer in its earliest, most curable stages."

Ingram Content Group's CEO speaks

Tennessean Business Editor Rand McClain interviews Ingram Content Group CEO Skip Prichard on books-on-demand digital venture, and more here.

State revenue outlook

The State Funding Board, which includes the state's treasurer and secretary of state, Gov. Phil Bredesen's F&A commissioner and others, sees no improvement in State revenue the next couple of years. Meanwhile, KNS Columnist David Moon offers some anecdotal information on the economic outlook here. And, there's this report from the TFP on the flat revenue trend at TN Lottery, and the negative impact on HOPE scholarship funding.

SiValley economic report

No longer immune from downturns, Silicon Valley unemployment continues near 12 percent, with prospect as uncertain as the rest of the nation's. The Mercury News reports.

Digitizing hospitals for quality

Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare Inc. says digital records and other data improves the quality of care, as well as efficiency and paper reduction. CA reports.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Metro General's Coopwood to the Med

Memphis Daily News reports Dr. Reginald Coopwood, M.D., who heads the Metro hospital authority and its Metro General Hospital at Meharry, has been chosen the CEO of the Regional Medical Center at Memphis (the MED). A Nashville native long associated with Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Coopwood took the Metro position in 2005.

VU Scientist

Holley-Bockelmann (left), assistant professor of physics and astronomy at Vanderbilt University, has, according to a VU release yesterday, received nearly $1.1 million over five years from the National Science Foundation to use computer simulations to study how “supermassive” black holes grow. VU also said that due to an infusion of ARRA Stimulus funds, the grant is the largest-to-date awarded in the field of astronomy via the NSF Faculty Early Career Development program, which honors extraordinary junior faculty. VU said Holley-Bockelmann has elected to direct a portion of the grant funds toward the Fisk-Vanderbilt Master-to-Ph.D. Bridge Program – an effort to encourage minorities and women to pursue science careers. In the past five years, the Bridge program has attracted 31 underrepresented minority students with a retention rate of 97 percent, and may soon become the nation’s top source of PhD's in physics and astronomy awarded to underrepresented minorities. Last summer, VU announced the Bridge program had in the span of a few months received $3.7 million from several federal programs to support and expand its efforts.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Axis adds development pro

Brentwood-based Axis Accounting Systems President Greg Lemon today announced the firm has added Eddy Richardson (at left), previously associated with ComFrame, Broadwing and Cottonwood software and IT firms, to Axis' staff, as director of business development.

Bredesen's Special Session

Gov. Phil Bredesen's plan to call the General Assembly into special session to grapple with K-12 and postsecondary education reform -- ostensibly prompted by the state's planned "Race to the Top" grant-application submission -- is assayed by Andy Sher in today's TFP.

NeoGenomics appointment

NeoGenomics Inc. (NASD OTC BB: NGNM), the Fort Myers, Fla.-based company that has a cancer genetics diagnostic lab in Nashville's Grassmere Park, announced it's named Jack Spitz vice president over lab operations. Spitz was previously in charge of operations for Orlando, Fla.-based Dermpath Diagnostics, a division of Quest Diagnostics.

Documentary Channel commercialized

Nashville-based Documentary Channel has relinquished its non-profit status, for full commercial channel status, strengthening its relationship with Dish Network and supposedly opening new opportunities for cable carriage. Nashville Business Journal reports it. In July, VNC reported on DocChannel's recap and founder John Neff's ceding leadership of the company to James Ackerman (left).

UT-Battelle tests well

UT-Battelle reportedly got all A's in its annual report card from key customer, the U.S. Department of Energy. Frank Munger has it in the KNS.

Fi TV signs Hamilton County

EPB Fiber Optic's Fi TV service signed a franchise agreement with Hamilton County yesterday, according to

TeamHealth IPO rises

TeamHealth (NYSE:TMH) stock rose 7 percent yesterday, following its IPO, which was scaled-back, apparently reflecting weaker-than-hoped-for demand. KNS reports.

Scripps brand Travels

Scripps Networks completed its acquisition of 65 percent interest in the Travel Channel. Scripps also owns Knoxville-based HGTV, among other properties. The KNS reports.

Memphian on Digital Divide

Benjamin Hooks, former NAACP chief and FCC commissioner, opines today in the CA on Internet have-nots, regulation and enterprise.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Husband of Ms Cheap promoted at VUMC

Erstwhile Nashville Banner City Editor and 23-year veteran of VU Medical Center corridors Bill Hance (at left) has been promoted to assistant vice chancellor for VUMC news and communications, and John Howser, who started at VU 22 years ago as a photographer, is now director of VUMC news and communications. Hance is married, of course, to the inimitable Mary Hance, aka Ms. Cheap of The Tennessean, and, earlier, the Banner. Hance earned his J-degree at Western Kentucky and a J.D. at Nashville School of Law. The Hances reside in Nashville's Richland-West end neighborhood. Do we need to explain this item was penned with affection?

Fiddlecakes owners serious about taste

Natasha Ross (far left), 27, co-owner of the new "Euro"-styled Fiddlecakes Bakery on 8th Avenue South knows she's assertive. Now, she's taken her drive and her insistence on doing business with baked-in goodness a step farther. Having left her marketing and jane-of-all-trades role at Universal Robotics earlier this year, Ross and co-owner Lindsay Beckner, also 27, are dishing-up lunch, cakes, coffee, all with a dash of wi-fi, six days a week. Originally from Stockton, Calif., Ross holds an MBA from Vanderbilt's Owen GSM, and a bachelor's from Scripps University at Claremont. She has also held her own in marketing, sales and management jobs within a pharma businesses, with a music publisher and others. Beckner (on the right above), a finance and wealth-management professional who previously worked with Woodmont Investment Counsel, Wachovia, London-based HSBC and other institutions, told VNC during the luncheon rush today that things are going well, with both women up to their tastebuds in eat-in, takeout, and catering, with gluten-free and Vegan recipes. We will be away from our desk for the next hour.

eSpin expands on $3MM grant

Chattanooga-based Jayesh Doshi's (at left) eSpin Technologies nanofibers company is expanding its high-tech workforce, in the wake of a $3MM Department of Commerce grant, matched by private funds. The TFP reports.

Computer Genomix targets TNInvestcos

With genetic research all the rage, Memphis-based Computer Genomix sets out tomorrow to tap Nashville-based TNInvestcos for capital. Read the story here.

Revalida nanoventure

Revalida, a nanotech venture created by several Vanderbilt faculty members, is about to tap investors for its first outside capital, in a move to advance treatment of eye diseases, cancer and other problems. The story's here.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Ecteon's new release

Brentwood-based Ecteon Inc., led by CEO Richard Eckerstrom (left), today announced a new release of its contracts-management software.

Bredesen co-chairs Achieve

Gov. Phil Bredesen now stands alongside former Intel board chairman Craig Barrett as co-chairs of Achieve, the group that supports the Diploma Project in 35 states, including Tennessee. The Achieve release is here.

TeamHealth IPO tomorrow?

Knoxville-based TeamHealth may price tonight and trade on NYSE (TMH) tomorrow, hoping to crank more than $140MM, including the sale of some PE stock holdings. The company staffs and supports ERs. The KNS reports.

Arnold AFB CO courts industry

Arnold AFB Commander Col. Mike Panarisi told Nashville Public Radio he aims to recruit more industry to use the wind tunnels of Arnold Engineering Development Center.

DOE now a VC

The Wall Street Journal reports how the Department of Energy's grants have rekindled progress at a hybrid automobile startup, as part of Stimulus investment push that may have distorted the VC landscape.

UT, Vanderbilt cyberinfrastructure work

The University of Tennessee and Vanderbilt University are part of a team led by Clemson University to advance cybersecurity and infrastructure, including development, research and education. Clemson release here.

EPB may skip Signal Mtn.

Signal Mountain, adjacent Chattanooga, may be skipped by EPB, because of a dispute over possible links between EPB service offerings and the current Comcast franchise with the municipality. reports.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Medaxion's McLaren Moving to Market

One of Jeff McLaren's competitive advantages has to be his prior experience dealing with anesthesiologists, as well as his decade helping guide the company he co-founded: HealthStream. Now, Medaxion is focused on raising capital and introducing to market an iPhone application for supporting anesthesia practice teams. Read the story here.

Entrepreneur Center Search update

Nashville Technology Council CEO Tod Fetherling tells VNC that Entrepreneur Center supporters have done well enough, already, to surpass their initial $200K target for raising money to enable the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce-linked EC to proceed with hiring its first executive director. Further, said Fetherling, there's now a strong field of candidates and someone could well be in-place by late January, and possibly announced even sooner. Fetherling said that Janet Miller has led the fundraising, with Fetherling and EC Project Manager Joe Kustelski also contributing to the effort.

More kudos! for Jacobson

Again last week, Dr. Harry Jacobson, M.D., physician, scholar, teacher and entrepreneur was honored -- this time by the Nashville Health Care Council, which he helped foster and sustain. Read the Council's full statement on the Dec. 9 presentation of its first-ever Crystal Leaf award. Jacobson is on sabbatical prior to retirement from his post as Vanderbilt University vice chancellor emeritus. At left are Jacobson and award presenter Tom Cigarran, a former Council chairman and founder of Healthways.

TNInvestco, Space Institute in focus

State Sen. Bill Ketron (R-Murfreesboro) tells VNC he'd like to see TNInvestco expanded and the mission of the UT Space Institute broadened, and the organization renamed. Read about it here.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

UT chief search critical

Nashville attorney Jim Murphy, who is vice chair of the UT Board, is among those commenting on the challenges facing the next president of the University of Tennessee, ranging from coping with the end of Stimulus funding and strengthening relationships with ORNL and other partners, to improving the environment for students. The KNS reports.

Saturday, December 12, 2009


Paul Carr's TechCrunch post via The Washington Post reminds us that it's great to have a relatively small venturetech beat, one you really care about.

Megasite multi-issues

It all sounds pretty simple, outside Haywood County... a new megasite to be marketed. But, in a series of stories here.. here.. and here.. Memphis Daily News reports on the ramifications for the community, the environment and the budget.

Moontoasties congregating

Moontoast is using its $800K capital raise to advance the social-commerce features of its website. HT:

UT Health Science chancellor search

A 20-member committee has been appointed to find the next Chancellor of the University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center, at Memphis. The KNS reports. St. Jude Children's Research Hospital William Evans will co-chair the search with a UT human-resources officer, Linda Hendricks. Evans is currently chairman, also, of Tennessee Technology Development Corporation.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Bredesen announces STEM education push

A release from Gov. Bredesen's office this morning reads in part: "Governor Phil Bredesen, joined by NASA Space Shuttle pilot and Mt. Juliet native Capt. Barry Wilmore, today announced a new public education partnership with the global research and development enterprise Battelle as part of Tennessee's push in the federal Race to the Top competition for education innovation. Under the partnership, Battelle, which co-manages Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in a joint venture with the University of Tennessee, will work with the state Department of Education and local school systems to establish a statewide network of programs and schools designed to promote and expand the teaching and learning of science, technology, engineering, and math - or STEM - education..."

Thursday, December 10, 2009

New president at Waddey & Patterson

In a release today, Waddey & Patterson PC, said, "Attorney Ed Lanquist [left] has been elected president and managing partner of Waddey & Patterson, P.C. Lanquist succeeds Jack Waddey and Mark Patterson, who continue their full time legal practice with the firm that they established in 1992..." Lanquist earned his J.D. at the University of Tennessee Law School and his bachelor's in civil engineering at UT. Lanquist has chaired the Nashville Bar Association Intellectual Property and Continuing Legal Education Committees; and, he is former president of the Tennessee Intellectual Property Law Association and former chairman of the ABA Young Lawyers Division: Patent, Copyright, and Trademark Committee.

Bartholomew adds CEO title at HCCA

HCCA International President David Bartholomew (at left) has added the CEO title, according to a release today. Bartholomew succeeds Ron Martson, who'll consult to the company, as he pursues other interests in international healthcare.

TNInvestco might yet lure startup, too late for another

This item may cause a little discomfort: Acuitec, the Birmingham-based business built around surgical-centered information management systems developed in collaboration with Vanderbilt University Medical Center clinicians, surpassed its A-round goal earlier this year, raising just over $1.6MM, according to CEO Lionel Tehini, in conversation Tuesday with VNC. As VNC reported a year ago, Acuitec would have probably relocated to Nashville, had it raised the bulk of its funds in this region, but that was not to be: Tehini said the entire round was taken by Birmingham-area investors. Nonetheless, Tehini told VNC he sees many exciting things going on Tennessee -- TNInvestco, foremost among them -- and he said a future Acuitec move here should not be discounted entirely. He said it's possbile Acuitec will pursue another capital round in 2010. Nashville has gotten more than one lesson about losing startups to well-heeled competitors: In 2008, Veran Medical Technologies, founded by Owen Grad School alum Jerome Edwards, relocated to St. Louis, where, among other inducements, he found the capital and expertise he needed. Perhaps ironically, TNInvestco applicant Advantage Capital Partners, which recently failed in a bid to secure a role in Tennessee's new capital-formation program, was one of the investors that lured Veran to St. Louis. Yesterday, Veran announced FDA approval for marketing a Veran medical device that helps physicians gain access to potentially cancerous nodules in the pulmonary tract. RETURN TO LATEST VENTURE NASHVILLE NEWS HERE.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Vic Gatto keeps learning

It's speakers' responses to audience questions that often catch our attention: As when during the recent NTC capital forum Solidus VC Vic Gatto answered a question from Brainwave entrepreneur Rob Solberg. Gatto revealed he's been studying online games and the intersection of mobile and social, and finds it an "exciting space," particularly if there's a new platform emerging. Read about the forum here.

CompassEMP names President

Brentwood-based Compass Efficient Model Portfolios has named Rob Walker Jr. (left) president, according to Managing Partner David Moore. Walker is a veteran of Regions Financial, Merrill Lynch & Co., WebMD/Emdeon, KPAC Solutions, Caris Diagnostics and Hothead Partners, a management consulting firm. His clients have included Asurion, Salix Ventures and others. He holds a Harvard MBA and a Samford bachelor's.

Google 'Living Stories' news experiment

Google's Living Stories beta news product, developed in collaboration with NYT, WP and others, is available for critique here, using HealthCare as an example. Give the page a second to load. For more story options, click the 'All Stories' link.

Esoteric Labs eyes expansion

American Esoteric Labs, in Memphis, is designing its expanded facilities, now that it has a local government taxbreak in-hand. The MDN reports.

ORNL 'Green' $$

Oak Ridge NL is set to pursue a fresh round of funding for Green science and development, according to Frank Munger at the KNS. In addition, Lab Manager provides an update on ORNL's new carbon-fiber facility. Also, ONRL Director Mason says 'Climategate' is a serious distraction from more important facts.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

BioMimetic share purchases by Novo A/S

Franklin-based BioMimetic Therapeutics (NASDAQ: BMTI) and Novo A/S today announced Novo A/S has "implemented a 10b5-1 trading plan, providing for open market purchases of BioMimetic common stock... Currently, Novo A/S beneficially owns approximately 17% of the common stock of BioMimetic. Thorkil Christensen, CFO of Novo A/S and a member of BioMimetic’s board of directors, noted that, "Novo does not intend to increase its ownership in BioMimetic in excess of 25%, nor does it intend to seek to acquire or exercise control over the company. Novo intends to purchase additional securities pursuant to the announced program for investment purposes."

PharmMD $8MM equity raise

Brentwood-based PharmMD, the medication-management services company formed by Clayton McWhorter and run by President-CEO Bo Bartholomew, has secured an $8 million equity investment from an undisclosed source, according to

eDoc4U, PureSafety pact

eDoc4U, the online health and wellness information provider that's a division of West End Avenue-based incubator ConduIT Corporation, announced a marketing and service alliance with PureSafety.

Chattanooga revenue-cycle acquisition

Chattanooga-based Orthobanc LLC announced yesterday it has acquired another software company, Acceptx Financial Services, Inc., and its patient-case acceptance software for medical and orthodontic practices. Acceptx is based in Bountiful, Utah. Acceptx's main offerings were built around the ZACC credit-analysis tool owned by consultant Paul Zuelke, of Portland, Ore. Orthobanc also offers Tuitionbanc, to help parents and students manage students' checking accounts and related assets. [HT to]

SmartFurniture goes Google

Chattanooga-based SmartFurniture announced its launch of SmartDesigner®, an online application based on the Google O3D platform to enable consumers to design custom furniture and plan personalized spaces in 3D views of their homes or offices.

Aegis Health urges industry action on health policy

In a white paper promoted this morning in a release, Aegis Health Group CEO Henry Ross urged the healthcare industry not to sit on the sidelines awaiting the outcome of the healthcare policy debate.

UT Space Institute chief named

The University of Tennessee Space Institute (UTSI) at Tullahoma will be led by UT Prof. Robert Moore (at left), who's been with UT 28 years, and who previously headed the UT College of Veterinary Medicine's Comparative and Experimental Medicine Graduate Program. The KNS reports. UT's release is here.

UT budget shortfall worsens

The University of Tennessee is looking at a budget shortfall equal to 20 percent of the State's total contribution to the school, with repercussions for tuition, lengthened days, cutbacks and other facets of the institution. The TFP reports.

nTelagent honors

A Georgia rural-hospital group, HomeTown Health, named nTelagent its business partner of the year.

Babcock & Wilcox public companies news

Oak Ridge NL-allied Babcock & Wilcox announced yesterday its parent will split into two public companies.

RemitDATA payments benchmarking

Payments software provider RemitDATA of Memphis announced it has allied with the Texas Academy of Family Physicians to aggregate physician payments data and develop benchmarks for identifying problematic payers and reimbursement trends.

Oak Ridge industrial Park

The Oak Ridge Industrial Development Board has an opportunity to acquire Horizon Center Industrial Park from a community nonprofit, and supporters of the move suggest it'll improve industry recruitment. The KNS reports.

VW hiring pressure

Volkswagen continues to face pressure from unions and others to hire more Tennessee residents for its new Hamilton County production facilities. The TFP reports.

Radio station goes solar

WYSH 1380 AM in Clinton is reducing its carbon footprint by going with solar power for both studios and transmitter, which is apparently a first in the nation. Larisa Brass of the KNS reports.

Monday, December 07, 2009

InMotion campaign advances

In Memphis, the InMotion Orthopaedic Research Center is nearing completion of its $6MM raise for sustaining its operations. The MBJ reports.

Fate of Compliant license uncertain

We reported on Compliant Therapeutics hopes for a license for Vanderbilt nanotechnology, but by midday that had clearly been threatened. Entrepreneur Eric Elmquist has other plans, but none perhaps so immediately compelling as this starter idea. There may've been a miscue, somewhere along the road. Read about it here.

VU-linked Robotics venture sets raise

Universal Robotics is going after its third private-capital raise, hoping to get to market with its advanced AI systems, by next year. They've also optioned some property in Davidson County for a small R&D campus. Read about it here.

New incubator, fund for 'Mobile' startups

Three entrepreneurs in Chattanooga have created Three Point Ventures LLC, to both incubate and help fund new ventures in the 'Mobile' space. Read about it. [HT to for alerting us.]

Capital Confirmation award

Another one for the trophy case: Capital Confirmation Inc., the provider of secure audit confirmation services, announced today that its online audit confirmation solution,, has won first place in The CPA Technology Advisor Readers' Choice Award for Best Audit/Engagement Tools.

Toward exascale computing

An ORNL scientist is among those forecasting exascale (1,000 times as fast as petascale) computing by 2018. Computerworld reports.

Branding Q

A Memphis columnist reminds us small businesses, as well as big can benefit from strong branding that reflects consistent consumer experience. The CA has it.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Bredesen and two-year colleges

The Times Free Press' Joan Garrett provides in-depth coverage of Gov. Phil Bredesen's intentions regarding raising education outcomes at community colleges, while strengthening four-year institutions. Garrett also reports on the leverage inherent in the proximity of Chattanooga State Community College and UT-Chattanooga.

TN Green jobs review

Ed Marcum of Knoxville News Sentinel reviews prospects, pay and politics of Green jobs in Tennessee.

TN news media, FCC, Blog disclosure

The FCC wants to see conspicuous disclosures from bloggers who receive benefits from the subjects of their reviews or reportorial coverage. The CA reports. The Internet Advertising Bureau's CEO responded to this impulse. CA Columnist Chris Peck comments on related Tennessee media developments.

SiValley links to hedge fund scandal

Allegations of insider trading have broadened from Galleon and New Castle funds to tipsters and others in the Valley. The Mercury News reports.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

VW prototyping on-sked

Volkswagen's testing of prototypes for the new midsize sedan (NMS) it will build in Chattanooga is on schedule. An advanced prototype will be built in Chattanooga in 2010, with production greenlighted in 2011. The TFP reports.

The Apple-Lala Axis

Apple is, according to a New York Times report, buying Venture-funded, Palo Alto-based Lala, to enable consumers to manage and enjoy their music via the Cloud (Web), rather than having to download, synch, etc.

Wamp stumping Defense-Security

U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp (R-Chattanooga) is still stumping for Tennessee and the TN Valley Corridor to seize opportunities to develop Defense and Homeland Security industries, according to a report in the Times Free Press. The story indicates Wamp's Republican opponents for governor in the 2010 race are unconvinced regarding his election prospects. Wamp first unveiled his Defense-Security strategy during the recen TVC meeting reported by VNC.

Team Health IPO

Knoxville-based TeamHealth, a hospital-staffing firm, is taking its investor show on the road, plumping for its shelf-registered IPO on the NYSE, where Team Health Holdings would trade as TMH. The KNS reports.

Friday, December 04, 2009

UT-ORNL fellowships

UT and ORNL are teaming to offer graduate-student fellowships in materials science, computational science, nuclear science and neutron science with coursework through UT’s College of Engineering and College of Arts and Sciences. $30K annual stipends are offered. The KNS reports.

Luminetx being sold to Japanese

The creator of VeinViewer, Memphis-based Luminetx, may soon be sold to Japan-based Christie Digital Systems, part of Ushio Inc., according to Commercial Appeal and Memphis Daily News. The buyer's U.S. office is in Cypress, Calif. Christie has been a major lender to Luminetx, during the company's roller-coaster ride of recent years. Despite a celebrated technology and revenue, the company apparently failed to overcome management and strategy shifts and gain sufficient traction, on its own.

Volkswagen synergy

Volkswagen Chattanooga President Frank Fischer told a press conference yesterday that VW will probably locate nine supplier companies within its Enterprise Park site, and within 20 miles of that location may also establish a distribution center. VW received 65,000 applications for jobs, 25,000 for management posts. The VW training center, operated by Chattanooga State, should open in January. About 300 persons are currently employed in the area for Chattanooga, including 45 from Germany. and TFP report it.