Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Relocations, consolidations

Two separate Nashville operations are consolidating in Chattanooga offices: Platinum Financial Funding, a mortgage-loan packager, is moving its HQ into existing Noog offices, to better reach markets in Tennessee, Georgia and Florida, according to reported comments by Founder-President Chris Payne, who had been based here. Elsewhere, at least 11 have been laid off in Nashville and Loudon, as nationwide metals distributor Ryerson Inc. consolidates in Chattanooga, citing cost-cutting and efficiency. No word on whether the Volkswagen-Wacker Bubble may be tilting consolidation decisions in favor of Chattanooga, but there is mounting evidence that companies plan to get by with fewer outposts. A third company, multilevel marketer Ecoquest International, based in Greeneville, Tenn., has been bought by Dallas-based Aerus Holdings, and layoffs are apparently in prospect following integration of operations. Ecoquest apparently had FTC legal problems, earlier this decade.

VU exec says criticism of Harvard finance unfair

Vanderbilt Associate Controller Kevin Walker reportedly told the Harvard Crimson that criticism of Harvard's investment and debt-management performance is unfair, given the unforeseeable nature of the recession and derivatives spiral. Vanderbilt, itself, has thus far outperformed many of its peers, through the recessionary period.

Jacobson retirement leaves entrepreneurs wondering

Vanderbilt University Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs Harry Jacobson, M.D. (at left), will pass the baton to his 47-year-old successor-in-waiting, Jeff Balser, M.D., on June 1, according to yesterday's university release. Balser is currently dean of the VU medical school. Here's our story today on reactions from the campus and beyond.

EmergeMemphis update

EmergeMemphis business incubator demonstrates solid returns for resident startups, according to today's CA report. Middle Tennessee's only National Business Incubation Association (NBIA) member is the TSU-linked Nashville Business Incubation Center (NBIC).

Monday, March 30, 2009

UT uber alles?

Gov. Phil Bredesen sees ways to increase the impact of postsecondary education in the state while making needed budget cuts and streamlining the higher-ed ecosystem -- and the focus is on making the University of Tennessee Knoxville campus the linchpin. The KNS story's here.

Tax loophole battle with VCs averted

Tennessee VCs say they believe the current version of a technical correction to FONCE tax legislation is harmless to their interests. Our story's here.

eDoc4u sees money in health portals

Here's our update story on ConduIT Corporation's eDoc4u health-portal provider.

NEWSBITS March 30, 2009

Tennessee VCs commenting on lack of exits, new wealth managers, TTDC launching competition for innovation, and more from gleanings around the state, right here.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

ORNL Global Venture Challenge winners

Teams from Purdue, Clark Atlanta-Morehouse and Duke won top prizes in the fourth annual Global Venture Challenge at Oak Ridge NL, with presentations focusing on LED chips, plastics and biofuels. The event is supported by DOE Industry Technologies program. ORNL release here.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Astronomy Day in Nashville

During Tennessee State University's annual research symposium, beginning March 30, Gov. Phil Bredesen has designated March 31 "TSU Astronomy Day," honoring the 10th anniversary of the scientists' work. The event is linked to activities at the Adventure Science Center's Sudekum Planetarium.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Belmont bizplan competition results

We note that Lifetime Reel is presenting during next Tuesday's FastPitch at Belmont. We also note that Lifetime Reel's John Price and Sam Dryden just won the top prize in Belmont University's student bizplan competition, run by entrepreneurship guru Jeff Cornwall (left).

Pitch investors, or pitch yourself

Tuesday, March 31, has a little something for everyone, whether you're looking to hone your investor presentation skills or redouble your self-help bootstrapping efforts... or, via a third event, get a piece of Oak Ridge NL's Stimulus funding. Here's the lowdown on two venture events in Nashville, and here's the KNS update on that Oak Ridge NL "Industry Day."

Thursday, March 26, 2009

U.S. Treasury's 'Rebuke of raw capitalism'

Statements from Secretary of the Treasury Geithner (left) and a story today by The Washington Post make clear that a new era now begins for global finance, markets and compensation. All of that, inevitably, reminds us of former VU funds manager Bill Spitz's sage comments on the state of the nation.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Oak Ridge luminaries discuss the Stimulus Era

[Updated March 26] ORNL Director and UT-Battelle CEO Thom Mason discusses the challenges and expectations facing ORNL in this KNS report. Recently elevated to deputy lab director, Thomas Zacharia (left) emphasizes ORNL's need to address "national imperatives." Jim Roberto gains echelon responsibility at critical time. And, complicating matters, ORNL is to get another $71 million in stimulation. Added: DOE Secretary Chu discusses his agency's spending of $1 billion plus.

FiledBy urges authors unite on its site

Here's an update on former Ingram exec Peter Clifton's launch of FileBy for authors, an online venture based here in Nashville. Nearly 2 million authors are asked to claim their sites, now.

Luminetx taps CEO

Richard Kindberg (left) has been tapped to lead Luminetx, the Memphis-based provider of VeinViewer. He may face some Street Cred issues. Our brief is here.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Health IT Czar named by Obama

President Barack Obama has tapped David Blumenthal, M.D. (left), as HHS National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, an entity that will have heavy influence over the spending of about $20 billion in Stimulus funding for HIT. Blumenthal was previously director of the Institute for Health Policy at Mass. General Hospital/Partners Healthcare System, Boston.

VU's ISIS combats snipers

As reported by VNC, the Institute for Software Integrated Systems (ISIS) at Vanderbilt University School of Engineering is a "comer." Latest evidence: VU ISIS-developed, and DARPA-supported sensor system now enables combat soldiers to pinpoint an enemy sniper's location, weapon and related information, using multi-node electronics developed by Crossbow Technology of San Jose and invented by scientists at UC-Berkeley.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Bredesen Solar faces competition

Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam, an avowed candidate for Tennessee Governor in 2010, and Knoxville's MetroPulse newsweekly are, for different reasons, keeping the focus on Gov. Phil Bredesen's solar ideas. The paper notes that Oak Ridge NL has bigtime competition in leading the U.S. solar campaign in the form of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, at Denver. Haslam, meanwhile, finds in the Bredesen proposal a ray of economic sunshine and a timely op-ed. Haslam is also a member of the board of Tennessee Technology Development Corporation, based in Nashville.

VU Dyer Observatory marks Galileo 400th Anniversary

Vanderbilt's Dyer Observatory is participating in the "100 Hours of Astronomy Cornerstone Project," April 4th, in commemoration of the 400th Anniversary of Galileo's introduction of the telescope to astronomy. Dyer details here. Worldwide International Year of Astronomy details, here.


Marcus Whitney (left) said some time ago his Remarkable Wit design and venture support company would earn its equity in companies it serves. And, that's apparently what is happening with Moontoast, the new Nashville-based global exchange for knowledge and expertise. The story's here.

Boro boasts Bondware

[March 18] Tech entrepreneur Tim Choate (left) is moving Bondware, his content-management SaaS, hosting and e-commerce firm to Murfreesboro, from Metro Nashville. The story's here.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Council Ventures says NotifyMD exit profitable

Council Ventures announced today that its previously announced exit from Franklin-based NotifyMD was a cash deal and profitable, providing a "good return for our fund," according to General Partner Katie Gambill (at left). She told VNC the exit was the seventh from the 10-company portfolio of Council's first fund. She said that through its second fund, Council has thus far invested in two companies, the identities of which have not been disclosed. Since 1986, NotifyMD has provided call management services to physician group practices, hospitals, and integrated health systems. Coleman Swenson Booth and Jefferson Capital remain as investors in NotifyMD, following the recapitalization, with members of the management team. Noteworthy: Council's release about its profitable exit was disseminated by Jane Morris, co-founder of the Natick, Mass.-based Veritage Group, which is supporting Council Ventures' latest fund raise. Also as previously signalled, former NotifyMD CEO Gary Ferguson was succeeded by former COO John McDevitt, coincident with the recap and Council exit. Gambill previously served on the NotifyMD board.

Pathfinder Therapeutics gets CEO, hits the road

Skip Goode now gets to try his hand at capitalizing on the image-guided surgery technology of Vanderbilt University spin-out Pathfinder Therapeutics. Goode brings a long record in medical devices to the challenge. He and other PTI management are telling the story at several venues, this week. Our story's here.

Monday, March 09, 2009

ConnectivHealth HealthTeacher adds advisor

Nashville-based ConnectivHealth, which we reported recently sold its VerusMed Division, has named Jon Vice (at left) senior adviser to the company's HealthTeacher division. Vice was previously CEO of Children's Hospital and Health System, Milwaukee. ConnectivHealth CEO Scott McQuigg said in an announcement today, “Jon has spent a lifetime dedicated to the improvement of children’s health, and we are honored to have him join HealthTeacher... Jon built one of the most respected pediatric medical centers in the country, and in doing so his organization developed many collaborative children’s health education programs with schools and community organizations. Jon brings a wealth of experience to HealthTeacher as a children’s hospital CEO, community leader, and advocate for children’s health.”

Venture-lover Campbell networks growth

The acorn didn't fall far from the tree. Vic Campbell has been with HCA 37 years, most of that time as the company's investor-relations chief. His daughter, Laura (at left), has long since come into her own as a consultant to Nashville-area growth companies, the founder of a local health leadership group and more. Read our story here.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Note to VNC Readers

Please know that my days are presently devoted to supporting Vivian Cooper and our children, with the help of many family and friends, during Vivian's illness, which recently advanced. The outpouring of love for Vivian and those close to her has been immense. Thanks, so much, for your very gratifying response to what VNC has attempted to offer. I very much look forward to continuing the work...