Friday, February 20, 2009

Bredesen e-health agenda in DC next week

Gov. Phil Bredesen co-chairs the e-Health Alliance of the National Governors Association, and the group is meeting again next week, in D.C. One focus: the impact of the Stimulus package on e-Health, particularly health-information exchanges, EMRs, etc. Here's the agenda.

Stimulus Notes

Lots of good analyses being cranked-out by the state's law firms regarding the Stimulus package. Bass Berry's overview of healthcare impact is valuable, as are the broader pieces from the Bone law firm and Baker Donelson. We also noted interesting stuff on "sustainability" sprouting from one of Waller Lansden's blogs.

ConnectivHealth disconnects VerusMed

There must be an increasing premium placed upon the quality of "agility" among portfolio-company CEOs. As we report today, ConnectivHealth is divesting a long-standing product to a media agglomerator. Here's the story.

Newsbits, Feb. 20

Here's today's news from around the state, including Meritus Ventures' investment, the Emdeon initiative, and much more. Please click here.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Leadership Music Digital Summit speakers

Speakers for the Digital Summit next month in the Curb Center at Belmont University were announced today. The info's right here.

TN hopes to SCORE on education

Former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist unveiled his new K-12 initiative, with Gov. Bredesen in attendance: Tennessee State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE). His new steering committee meets March 2 at Freedom Forum First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt University. VU release re: Peabody faculty providing research support to the initiative.

Venture-Tech Calendar is brimming

You'll need a jetpack to get to it all?! We don't know what all this busyness will produce, but Lawd! there's a lot going on. Here are about three-dozen events you might want to follow -- or, at least, avoid scheduling opposite. Here's today's calendar update.

Newsbits, Feb. 18

Interesting day... The alleged Stanford fraud may affect a TN startup, two companies get C-level execs, assorted Stimulus articles from TN vantage-point, help for struggling businesses, an ORNL scientist becomes a corporate CTO (that chap at left), and more, right here.

Friday, February 13, 2009

NewsBits, Feb. 13

For updates on ICA, iPayment, Tractor Supply, TN Solar Institute interest, Stimulus impact, Tech startup competition, and Med-devices firms...visit our Newsbits, here.

Bobby Frank's 'Border Jump' targets LatAm

Nashvillian Bobby Frank will soon be in your neighborhood looking for cash for his Border Jump startup, which seeks to solve U.S. online marketers' problems in selling to Caribbean and LatAm nations' consumers. Our story's here.

Bootstrapper Atiba adds another senior exec

At Atiba Software, JJ Rosen has gone his own way, "keeping it simple," for 17 years. Now, he's taken the third big step in the past 18 months, bringing aboard a former startup CIO. Our story's here.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

'Wired for War'

Brookings Fellow Peter Singer discussed his latest book, Wired for War, during this week's meeting of the Nashville Committee on Foreign Relations. Plenty of discussion of the ethics, human values, economics and socio-economic consequences of automation and artificial intelligence on the battlefield...including how our enemies see us, when we rely increasingly on robotic proxies.

FedEx customer service nod noteworthy

I know, every 5-year-old on the neighborhood soccer team gets some kind of award (I'm okay with that), and adult accolades are often cheapened. But, when a national organization names a FedEx executive its CSIA Customer Service Executive of the Year, respect should be paid. So, Give it up! for Sheila Harrell (left, shown receiving her award, recently at FedEx; CA photo). Related CA story here.

VUMC pride

For the record, there was no applause meter present, but there's little doubt that the biggest spontaneous-applause line during Harry Jacobson's State of the Medical Center report to VUMC workers came when he mentioned VU becoming the first university to be named one of FORTUNE's "Best Places to Work." The nearly hour-long Jacobson report to employees in packed Langford Auditorium covered peer patient safety and quality outcomes, as well as peer rankings, campus construction, endowment and much more. Following the presentation, Jacobson participated in conferring recognition on key employees and took questions from his audience. UPDATED Feb. 17: VU's report on Jacobson's presentation.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Fresh off NYC success, Chamber targets California

We asked Janet Miller (at left), chief economic development and marketing officer for the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce and Partnership 2010, where she's targeting next after the recent team mission to New York City, told VNC yesterday that two missions to California are likely in the coming months: perhaps Los Angeles-area this spring, then the SF Bay Area in summer, the latter targetting technology firms. The Big Apple trip drew about 80 New York analysts, investors and execs to the Harvard Club, for a program chaired by HCA's Jack Bovender. The same evening, about 100 invitees attended an NSAI-led event at XM Sirius. There also ensued 36 one-on-one appointments with execs in NYC-NJ-L.I. Miller said the emphasis was on "companies who already have major employment operations here (including a number of music companies), site consultants actively working relocation projects, finance and equity companies like JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley, and health care industry reps. The purpose was to explore expansion opportunities... and thank them for their investment in Nashville." For other Venture Nashville coverage, visit here. UPDATE Feb. 13: WSJ reports on competition to lure California firms to other states.

Care UK exec's visit to Nashville an eye-opener

Care UK's Geoff Benn marveled at the throngs of Nashville healthcare executives, and expressed optimism he'll soon do business in Music City. The Venture Nashville story's here.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Cumberland Emerging Technologies allies with UT Research Foundation

Cumberland Emerging Technologies (CET) in Nashville today announced its collaboration with the University of Tennessee Research Foundation (UTRF) to pursue commercialization of a drug that may mitigate or even prevent asthma in children. The principal investigator on the drug is the UT College of Medicine's Dr. Dukhee Betty Lew.

DealerTrack Digital chooses Memphis over Ohio

DealerTrack Digital Services, an overnight processor of car loans, is relocating its headquarters from Ohio to Memphis, as a result of changes in air logistics support in Ohio. The CA reports it here.

VC hired to lead TECworks, with TTDC grant

Tennessee Technology Development Corp. has given a grant to Memphis Bioworks Foundation to create a bio-entrepreneurship and tech commercialization headed by a former Aurora Funds VC, Jan Bouten, at left. Our story's here.

Gov. Bredesen's Solar Institute proposal

Intriguing: In his State of the State last night, Gov. Phil Bredesen trotted-out a proposal for creating a Solar Institute, probably at Oak Ridge. Here's our story.

Monday, February 09, 2009

SAIC-Hearts-Innovation Valley

The Oak Ridge-Knoxville Innovation Valley has reason to rejoice, with SAIC (NYSE:SAI) announcing it is consolidating some of its San Diego and McLean operations into its East Tennessee presence. That'll bring SAIC's instate employment to 800 or more. SAIC stock at midday seemed to be trading near its 52-week high, a breath of fresh air.

Smart Energy prepares to swallow stimulus

Big implications for TVA in all this, of course: A host of stories out in the past few days on multibillions to be spent on creating the additional e-grid the nation needs to transmit renewable energy output, the importance of creating 'smarter' grids and meters, and more. The WSJ; NYT; and, SmartBrief.

UT Prof faces sentencing for using FN grads on USAF Work

The KNS reports J. Reece Roth (at left), the 73-year-old UT-Knoxville industrial-plasma and fusion engineer, who was convicted by a federal jury last year of plotting with Knoxville technology firm Atmospheric Glow Technologies Inc. to violate the Arms Export Control Act by repeatedly allowing two foreign-national graduate students access to information on a U.S. Air Force project and taking data about it to China in May 2006, will soon face sentencing, and may ask for a new trial. He reportedly attempted to devise a way to make assignments to the students that would purposefully circumvent export rules. He and his counsel argue he wasn't familiar enough with the rules to have committed a crime.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

UT: Petersen's Performance

UT President John Petersen's five-year self-review and forthcoming review by the UT system board provides a rare, integrated view of UT's strategy for supporting not only research and education, but also economic development, public service and its own reputation management. Petersen's self-exam is here (pdf). UT Research Foundation also recently honored 20 UT-linked patent holders, an interesting list. Today's KNS story on Petersen and the review process.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

More talk of additional investments

There he goes again, being upbeat in a disastrous economy. Seriously, we have to think that Bredesen ECD Commissioner Matt Kisber's relentless optimism is leading somewhere... somewhere like the megasite in Haywood County (related story), not far from Jackson. Both Gov. Bredesen and Kisber, among others, have been all-but-promising further sizeable investments, and hinting at imminent news in the wake of world-class announcements by Hemlock and VW. Jumping on the bandwagon, MidTN boosters are pitching to companies in other cities (reference Nashville's NYC trade mission). Yesterday, Kisber told a forum in Jackson that the Congressional stimulus-spending plan may enable the State to provide funds needed to complete the Haywood site's infrastructure, to make it ready for move-in. Meanwhile, it must be noted, the head coach for Tennessee's recruitment effort, Phil Bredesen, is under consideration -- alongside Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney, former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, Obama transition team chief John Podesta and Oregon U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden and perhaps others -- to be Secretary of HHS, i.e., according to reports from AP, Politico, The Atlantic and others.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Maglev to the Noog gets levitated

The idea of a Maglev Train running between Chattanooga and Atlanta got a measure of support this week, when the Georgia Senate voted a resolution of support. No money, just good phone. Meanwhile, if you read the comments posted on the AJC regarding the notion of giving priority to a maglev to the Noog, you won't be overly optimistic. Another aspect of all this that hasn't surfaced for awhile is the earlier discussion of maglev between NASHville and the Noog (notice the logo). All this levitation will take some mighty prestidigitation by lawmakers in the current environment. On the other hand, if Atlantans begin to tap into the spinoff of VW's investment in Chattanooga, they might start to see all this through a different lens.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

SaaS: Songs as a Service?

Release out today from Lifeway says, "On Monday, February 9, LifeWay Worship will unveil the latest innovation in digital music: SongMap™, a web-based application that allows users to create custom arrangements of songs and produce corresponding audio files and sheet music. SongMap™ was developed through the largest known recording project in Nashville history. Nearly 1,000 songs and 8,000 mixes were recorded in just 10 months by over 150 professional musicians, vocalists and engineers." Read more here. [Update: Feb. 6, AP in KNS.]

Music producers embrace CLASP

At Nashville-based Endless Analog, founder Chris Estes (at left) has found a way to give record producers the warmth of analog and the speed of digital with his CLASP technology. His website tells the story and BusTN provides the color. The technology debuted in October at an engineering conference.

VU endowment fund outperforms

Sixteen beats 30: Vanderbilt University's endowment fund outpaced peer funds by a few lengths, declining $600MM in value, to $2.9 billion, roughly a 16.5 percent drop at the midpoint in F2009 (Dec. 31) -- compared with peer institutions' average 22.9 percent loss, and the S&P 500's drop of 30 percent, according to a VU release out today. Earlier reports of VU losing up to 30 percent seem to have been premature.

STHS Ventures fills a gap in Nashville

Former Weberize exec Jason Dinger is very much alive and well, pursuing the mission of STHS Ventures, the Saint Thomas Health Systems unit tasked with accelerating companies that can improve healthcare. The story's here.

TVA Nashville exec

TVA announced that Rachel Crickmar (left) has been named senior project manager for TVA Economic Development Business Resources in Nashville. She'll lead existing-business retention and growth initiatives in TVA's seven-state service territory, in collaboration with TVA strategic partners. She was previously a regional development specialist. She's a Jamestown native, with a master's degree in urban and regional planning from UT-Knoxville and a bachelor's in environmental science from Tusculum College at Greeneville, Tenn. A little more than two years ago, Jerome Terrell left his Nashville Area Chamber economic-development directorship to join the TVA Nashville office as a regional development specialist (RDS).

Nissan Electrics in TN?

Some days, in the wake of VW and Hemlock, it seems anything is possible. And, and as we blogged in January, there've been signals the Bredesen Administration is trying to persuade Nissan to manufacture E-cars in-state. What next? A key Nissan executive, Mark Perry (at left), will speak in Chattanooga Feb. 16 on "Creating a New Electric Vehicle and the Grid to Feed It," giving further impetus to hopes that Nissan's Mid-TN headquarters, plus Tennessee's clean energy and automotive pushes, plus the TVA energy grid, may prove deciding factors in Nissan's decision. The 11:30 a.m. (ET) event at the Doubletree Hotel (Chatta.) is cosponsored by Chattanooga Engineers Club, Chattanooga Technology Council, Tennessee Society of Professional Engineers, American Society of Quality, Society of Women Engineers, IEEE and other professional societies. [Updated Feb. 17 with correct photo of Mark Perry.]

Newsbits, Feb. 5

UT-Battelle's performance earns $10MM from DOE (KNS)... Komatsu America shifts product manufacturing to its Chattanooga plant (TFP)... One city in an 11-state region will emerge from bid competition with $500K to help reduce consumer and business usage of water and energy (related: Census Bureau report on South's growth)... Former ORNL tech-transfer exec's desire to save diabetic Dad's foot led to invention of rehabilitation equipment (KNS)...

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Make it Stop: Sci-tech news here and there

UT Pres. John Petersen says companies are lining-up to take residence in new Cherokee Farms sci-tech park and credits ORNL alliance with elevating UT's stature, KNS.

Don't let anyone tell you there's no interest in LifeSci here in NV: strong response to our story yesterday on KleinerPerkins-based Nodality establishing lab here. Story with Stanford ties does leave one wondering about similar cytometry work that might be underway at VU.

Speakin' of which, Frank Munger says Stanford Ph.D. George Farr will head the new UT-ORNL materials institute.
Great story in the CA this morn about Memphis entrepreneur Dick Gadomski founder of 35-year-old Process Solutions Inc. (PSI).

Resonant Vibes (Louisville) recruited nearly $900K to support RV's downloads service, drawing on KY Science & Technology Corp.'s KY Enterprise Fund, the Commonwealth Seed Capital Fund and private investors in Louisville, Lexington and NYC.

Health IT shouldn't be used to automate bad business processes, but to improve healthcare outcomes. Getahn Ward quotes VUMC's Bill Stead, co-author of widely noted National Research Council study.

Sorry, but this is just gettin' weird: WSJ's Mossberg today on using Google's new feature to track Friends.
Medtronic engineers are giving the time and the company's given the cash to help Memphis public-schools' teams build a robot for the FIRST competition. CA.

MDN reports GTx Inc. got a vote of confidence Jan. 22 when Medtronic board member and former Abbott Labs CEO Jack Schuler bought 8.3 percent of GTx stock. A pharma analyst gave the company high marks, partly because of its drug-apps pipeline, as projected to 2011.

AT&T Kentucky announced that Mary Pat Regan, who previously headed-up regulatory affairs in Illinois, has been named president of AT&T Kentucky.

TVA urged to convert flyash-spill area into long-term research and education center to study enviro-impact, KNS. Gov. Bredesen has asked TVA to find ways to recycle coal ash.

NIMBY Wars and Nashville's Mike Saint

We told you first in our Dec. 13 story, now Forbes (Feb. 16) is touting the role of Franklin-based Saint Communications, which does $30 million a year in fighting NIMBY wars for corporations.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Chamber's Harper: Companies we admire persevere

The Nashville Chamber's Garrett Harper and ProfitPoint President Vaden Landers underscore in NBJ the value of pressing-on in a down economy. Landers reiterated the M&A growth strategy VNC reported earlier.

Tennessee education may be state's deadweight

UT Economist Matt Murray (left) lays it out: Not only is Tennessee's economy at the mercy of global forces, but our laggard public-education systems ensures we'll trail more progressive dates, far into the future... unless something changes. KNS story today here. If Murray's name sounds familiar, it may be because he's been pointman in assessing economic benefits of automotive sector's investments in the state.

Beating the 'Green' Drum

That recent Tennessee Labor Department report on the potential of Green industries in Tennessee is getting plenty of airtime, thanks in part, as we reported earlier, to ECD Commissioner Matt Kisber; and, thanks to technojournalists like Larisa Brass in Knoxville.

Thus, the Bio-daisychain begins

Nodality, cytometry, sanguinity... no, wait. Bio speaks a whole new language we'd better start practicing, now that Kleiner Perkins-backed Nodality has scooped up a squad of scientists living here and planted its flag. The story's here.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Newsbits Feb. 2

Bartlett firm does land-office business in 3-D viewers. ...VU's Frisse cautions against irrational exhuberance in Health IT spending surge. ...TVA invites offers to run, maintain, develop or buy three large windmills that formed the first commercial wind farm in the Southeast. ...SEC's Sarbanes-Oxley cost-benefit analysis input ended Saturday. ...TVA loan supports development at East Tennessee Technology Park. ...Oak Ridge Associated Universities unveiled their new science education center.

Leaders: Bovender, Kisber, Williams, Frank

VNC's brace of stories this morning includes: Matt Kisber, Bredesen economic-development chief, is not only speaking at venues dotting the state, but talking to VC bigwigs and Tennessee's role in emerging industries. Story here. ...Jack Bovender, visiting New York City with a Chamber Trade Mission this week, will preside over a breakfast for about 100 healthcare-industry executives at the Apple's Harvard Club, story here. ...Avondale Partners' appointment of a health services analyst leaves the Health technology portfolio, if there is one, orphaned. Story here. ...Scott Frank (at left), AT&T president-CEO for its intellectual property business, has agreed to address a local tech-driven economic development group, in April. Here's the story.